Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Fairport Convention: My Love Is In America

In May 2006, I had the opportunity to finally witness one of my favorite bands of all time – Fairport Convention. It was an abbreviated version of the five piece band with only three of its members doing an acoustic tour of North America. Sitting next to the stage gave me an opportunity to soak in the music and take about three dozen photos. To top it off, I got to meet the three performers: Simon Nicol, Ric Sanders, and Chris Leslie.

One of the songs performed by the band that night was a tune penned by Chris Leslie. Found on the 35th anniversary CD from 2002 that is appropriately titled “XXXV,” “My Love is in America” is a story about a young Irishman who travels to London to find work. In order to receive the maximum amount of pay for his services, he uses someone else’s name.

In addition, the woman that he loves has moved to America with her family. He dreams of her often and even writes numerous letters, but none are answered. Until he hears that she has married someone else, he continues to remember his love.

Chris Leslie on bouzouki; photo by the author

When Chris Leslie performs the song live, he plays an Irish Bouzouki; however, on this particular recording, he plays mandolin and tenor banjo. Leslie is a prolific storyteller and is a modern day bard. I’m pleased to provide it hear as our Wooden Wednesday selection.


I go to this place with my working hands,
Sea crossing turn my inside,
Left to the sound of the marching band,
We sail at the change of the tide.

When I saw Mary my father said,
He was sailing across the deep blue,
Brighter new days in a promised land,
She would be going there too.

So I keep her in my mind,
There’s a picture on my wall,
Oh, my love is in America,
My love could be anywhere at all.

Oh how we cried on that darkest night,
Everyone leaving the land,
The old generation just sitting tight,
And all of us young bucks with plans,

I'm using the name of another man,
To get a job here for more pay,
I'll walk these strange streets for a better life,
London's the place so they say,

And I keep her in my mind,
There's a picture on my wall,
Oh my love, she's in America,
My love could be anywhere at all.

Anywhere at all...

The music's the one thing that's traveled well,
We meet up and play from our soul,
The kitchen, the work yard, and the seven bells,
Gives us a glimpse of our homes,

Maybe I'll make it to New York state,
Maybe I'll just up and go,
Maybe I'll get back to my hometown,
See if there's work, I don't know.

I sent many a letters to no avail,
Her silence is deafening to me,
Maybe she lives with another man,
Crossing the new country,

Till I know,
I keep her in my mind,
There's a picture on my wall,
Oh, my love is in America,

My love could be anywhere at all.


  1. That's a lovely song, one of my favourite Chris Leslie numbers. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Lovely song as you say. Unfortunately I don't think it is any longer cost effective for Fairport to tour the US - the last 5 piece tour went a bit wrong hence a trio was despatched last time.

    Hate to rub it in - but I have just seen Fairport for the 25th consecutive year at St Albans, which was my 75th concert all told.

    A wonderful live band still and Chris is a welcome song writer as well as multi instrumentalist - although I have to say the diehard Fairport fans of 1960/1970s do not like his songs much - or at least some of them don't - whereas I do. Great choice of song Jim.

    1. Paul:

      Unfortunately, the Liege & Lief lineup will never be reunited - partially perhaps at Cropredy. Chris is an amazing asset to the band. He is one of my favorite song writers - as he always tells a story.