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Joyful Banner Blazing

by Maria Dunn

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1. Joyful Banner Blazing © Maria Dunn, 2016 In streets where no one’s path is smooth Polish rare as Sunday shoes Lined all along the road are we One big heart on one big sleeve And in the wake of the hearse Our voices float in verse Every buoyant phrase and melody Cries, Sister you will ever be Comin’ round the mountain Over the rainbow A joyful banner blazing You are young You are precious You are loved A young man’s thanks for all you did So lads like him could just be kids A safe place he could hang about Drop the tough act, lose the lout Single mom, determined gaze Remembers how she freely played And took to heart the stories, songs That whisper still “girl, you are strong” You’ll be Comin’ round the mountain… Your smiling eyes cut through it all To our better selves did call Confident that we were there Coaxing us to dream, to dare Challenging the deal in drugs Raising money in the pubs Pulling heartstrings, squeezing funds Our shameless, selfless, flying nun And we who line this road today You nurtured, nudged along our way Taught us skills to help us cope Through the darkness into hope You’re in the bustle of our streets In the rain upon our cheeks Your words a mantra we will keep And pass to every child we meet
2. Heart in Hand © Maria Dunn, 2015 It’s a bright June morning, beautiful day And though it turned so ugly, I’ll remember it that way Til those buses start in, like they’ll never stop Coming for to carry some poor fool to my job Then like a seamless dance where the partners glide Or the graceful flow of stream and tide We all moved, so instinctively From the deepest well of our dignity Heart in throat, heart in hand Sitting arm in arm, you can see, here I am I look so young, but I am strong, not scared With my sisters, my brothers, I’m there Do you think so little of me, do you think of me at all As we slow your bus to a crawl? As your boss tries to bring us to our knees As the window smashes, do you think of me? How I work hard, I’m good at my job We saved this company, and all for what? To be sneered at, sold out, undermined Do you think of me when you cross the line? One by one, they try to take us all away But like pebbles on a beach, we shift and remain You can grind your heel down into the sand But your mark disappears when the next wave lands Oh, heart in hand, our bodies on the line We who never took a handout in our lives Now the goodwill and the money pours in It makes me weep, such a simple thing
3. Waltzing With The Angels © Maria Dunn, 2018 If you pause upon the pavement And crane your neck to see You can almost glimpse the angels That waltzed along with me As I stepped out on those high beams My sidewalk in the sky The city far below me Sunshine in my eyes We were strong at seventeen Métis Ironworkers all We danced between two worlds Determined not to fall It was us who raised this tower Hanging from its side One hook around your belt Was all that kept you in this life Floors slippery with the diesel Winds that whip away your breath You put it from your mind ‘Cause it’s not your date with death And to all our fallen brothers Who joined that angel band Your courage so betrayed by laws That failed the working man So pause upon the pavement Crane your neck, see The wings of all those angels That waltzed along with me
Ontario Song 03:19
4. Ontario Song © Maria Dunn, 2002 Half a tank of gas ago I left you in Ontario I wish that setting sun would slow The songs on my radio Relentless passage of my car Not content with where we are Too intent on getting far Before the day is done Oh My Sweet Child I miss you more and more But we learn to cheat the miles Always did before Always did before The mitten hand of Michigan Propels me northward once again All I can foresee now, friend A yellow line without an end Miles and miles of ragged rock Hours and hours taking stock If I believe the dashboard clock I’ll never make it home I pass through every kind of land Start to sea the sky expand My mind a rubber band Stretched by Creation’s hand A tiny dot just moving through Connect the one from me to you What’s a thousand miles or two On the lifeline? Someday I’ll be settled close My rambling days a distant boast We’ll gaze upon the same coast The stars above the one host For now it seems we’ll make do With telephones and “how are you?” Won’t be long ‘til I’m back through Singing on your porch
5. Love Carries Me © Maria Dunn, 2019 I had years before I learned of hate, war and poverty I had only love and lullabies upon your knee Nothing I had chosen, nothing I had earned Just everything that every child born to the earth deserves Oh love, oh love, oh love carried me Your love, your love, oh love carries me And when, in time, I came to know of lies, shame and fear You taught me truth, compassion, overcome, persevere A hope I could nourish, a compass I could heed Everything that every youth upon the path so needs My childhood bracelets in a box, spark a vivid memory Before I had the words, the vital message given me Nothing you had spoken, but ringing crystal clear Everything that every soul in struggle ought to hear
6. Secondhand Skates © Maria Dunn, 2016 Ever since I remember, I took to the ice Skates two sizes big, I’d stumble then glide Falling each time in a snowbank’s embrace I picked myself up on my secondhand skates If the rink was too busy, we’d play in the street Frozen manure all the puck we would need Or we’d scrimmage out back in the yard until late The crisp echo of ice under secondhand skates He caught my eye across the café And we walked to the rink, feeling shy all the way But I knew that I’d found a boy I could date As we soared round the oval on secondhand skates Too young to sign up and ship over to France How lucky were we to live by chance Where schoolyard scuffles evaporate With a good game of hockey on secondhand skates When our friend Johnny Bucyk he made the big league Boy we couldn’t be prouder, we all did succeed To imagine first class coming out of this place And remember his grace on secondhand skates If you turned up your nose at us, we didn’t care In our hand-me-down coats, so neatly repaired Knowing what comes from hard work and kind fate Never mind that you started on secondhand skates When I look back upon it, I’d never erase All the friendship and joy on my secondhand skates
7. Declan’s Song (The Good Life) © Maria Dunn, 2004 When your daddy sings you lullabies Your mommy smiles into your eyes They cradle you, keep you warm They're smitten by your tiny form Then you know it's a good life Oh it's a good life There's wonder in the way you move How every day brings something new Your personality revealed Hey baby, you're the real deal And you know it's a good life Oh it's a good life When you're sleeping sound Or waking loud Breathing in the world Your fingers curled It'll never be the same Now you’re in the game And hearts have been unfurled When your mommy sings you lullabies Your daddy smiles into your eyes They cradle you, keep you warm They're smitten by your tiny form Then you know it's a good life Oh it's a good life Welcome to the good life!
8. Don’t Think You Are Forgotten © Maria Dunn, 2017 Don’t think you are forgotten for a moment Though you wonder if you’ll ever make it home You are here, dear In my heart, dear Know that you have never been alone Not a morsel to my lips, not a drop to my mouth Not a sunrise or a sunset’s colours pass I don’t see you Feel you As keenly as I feel this emptiness I don’t care if you return to me exhausted Wounded or penniless, in debt Let me hold you ‘til the awful spell is broken Let me hold you ‘til all our tears are wept Even the lowliest soldier goes on leave Even the mightiest boxer heeds the bell Catch your breath now Come on home now Here you are loved just as yourself
9. From Dublin With Love Words & Music written by Ron Hynes © Ron Hynes, 2003 (SOCAN)
10. Beautiful Fools © Maria Dunn, 2018 We are all that girl on the bicycle Who wobbles and scrapes her knee Leaping back in the saddle, she learns to soar Then crashes, singing “I’m free!” We are all beautiful fools We are all that boy running swiftly Who tumbles, head over heels He picks himself up, propels himself on Then dives to see how it feels We are all beautiful fools Beautiful, beautiful fools I’m a fool You’re a fool We are all beautiful fools Beautiful, beautiful fools We are all absorbed in the details Like children constructing in sand Mesmerized by the antics of spiders Intent in our wonderland We are all naked as truth Though we cover ourselves by degrees Shiny layers of fabric, manners so fine Adventures, artifice, deeds We are all tempted to stray By the flask or the flash or the flesh We are all your wisest advisor We are all emotional wrecks We are all one at the heart For all of our polish and pride So simply, we long to be loved For who we are inside


On her seventh recording, Joyful Banner Blazing, three time Juno-nominated songwriter Maria Dunn continues to celebrate stories of resilience and grace through finely crafted songs of family and community and the love that fires our actions to make the world a better place.

Musicians: Maria Dunn (vocal, accordion, guitar), Shannon Johnson (violin, harmony), Solon McDade (upright bass), Jeremiah McDade (whistles, saxophone, horn arrangements) with special guests: Audrey Ochoa (trombone), Joel Gray (trumpet), Curtis Appleton (banjo, harmony), Jeff Bradshaw (pedal steel), Andy Hillhouse (acoustic guitar), Byron Myhre (acoustic guitar), Campbell Wallace (highland bagpipes) with harmony vocals from Debbie Houle, Dana Wylie and Dawn Cross.


released January 29, 2021

Produced by Shannon Johnson. Arrangements by Maria Dunn with Shannon Johnson, Solon McDade, Jeremiah McDade and Andy Hillhouse as noted.

Recorded & Mixed: Terry Tran, The Audio Department, Edmonton, AB
Additional recording: Scott Franchuk, Riverdale Recorders, Edmonton, AB

Mastered by João Carvalho, Toronto, ON

Designed by Jeff Sylvester, Cut+Paste Design Inc., Edmonton, AB.


all rights reserved



Maria Dunn Edmonton, Alberta

2022 Juno Winner for Joyful Banner Blazing! A true preserver of the spirit of folk music, 3x Juno-nominated Maria Dunn is often compared to Woody Guthrie for her keen social awareness & unvarnished melodic songs about ordinary people. On 2016 Gathering & 2021 Joyful Banner Blazing, she celebrates the love of family, community, humanity that fires our actions to make the world a better place. ... more

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