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Exclusive: Dinty Child’s “Tired Blue Shirt” Finds Lush, Orchestral Footing At The Miles Of Music Island Camp

Dinty Child by Laura Crosta
Dinty Child by Laura Crosta

Thought you were too old to relive the bright, exciting days of summer camp? You can think again, thanks to Miles Of Music Island Camp on New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee, which, every June, “brings people together for a week of classes, jamming, delicious food, and plenty of free time to make new music together.”

Last year, a videographer was invited to capture the spontaneous collaborations of the week, including our Elmore exclusive clip of Dinty Child’s, “Tired Blue Shirt,” featuring a strings arrangement by Zachariah Hickman. Child, who is a full time member of Boston’s Session Americana collective, was one of over 100 creative individuals who found an open, accepting space at Miles Of Music.

Child talks about the moment when the song took shape, and the process that took him to the island: “I was shoveling snow before going in for a radio interview about an upcoming show.  I knew the interviewer was going to ask about songwriting so, while shoveling, I was formulating a response in my mind. “Hmmm, songwriting doesn’t have to be hard. Let’s start with ‘blue shirt’. Well, how about adding an unlikely adjective like ‘tired’ to it.  A ‘tired blue shirt’ starts to imply a story.  Is the shirt old and tired?  Is it ‘physically’ tired for some reason?  Is the wearer tired? Why?” The story just started to form in my head and when I didn’t think I could remember anymore I ran in and wrote it down in my notebook… as is. I didn’t think about it again until the spring when I was looking for songwriting ideas before going to the island. That year we had an old upright piano that was headed for the scrap heap out on the dock, just sitting there in full view of the lake and mountains, where I sat and messed around until the song took shape. Over the next year, I performed it on two pump organs with Zack Hickman a couple of times, and he mentioned in passing that he thought it would be cool to do some string arrangements for some of my songs. Knowing there would be no shortage of amazing players at Miles Of Music, I took him up on the offer for the faculty concert and my mind will never be the same again.”

The woodsy, island setting for the video captures the unadulterated beauty of the track, which has a rich, forlorn texture, and evocative lyrics that verge on the ballad stylings of Leonard Cohen.

Each summer, Miles of Music highlights a different regional traditional music style, and this year, campers will have to opportunity to learn Quebecois fiddle tunes, songs and guitar backing from Montreal based musicians David Boulanger and Yann Falquet.

To learn more about Miles Of Music Island Camp head to their website here.

Watch the video for “Tired Blue Shirt” below.

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