Sharleen Leahey

Antiwar songs by Sharleen Leahey

Sharleen Leahey
Coming of age in the turbulent years of the early 1960s, Sharleen Leahey was strongly influenced by great topical songwriters like Phil Ochs, Bob Dylan and Buffy Sainte Marie. Picking up a guitar at the age of 12, it wasn’t until her late 20s when she wrote her first song. In the early 1980s she began performing for peace groups and coffeehouses in New York City. Meeting Sis Cunningham, founder of Broadside Magazine, inspired her to found Songs for Peace magazine. With the guidance of Pete Seeger and songs from gifted artists like Ruth Pelham, Tommy Sands, and Julie Gold she published over one hundred topical folk songs on peace, ecology and human rights. After six years she left the magazine in 1999 and decided to return to her first love: songwriting.

"So Frail," Sharleen’s debut CD release, is a collection of six songs written since the stolen election of 2000 and the subsequent "war without end" declared in our name. So Frail, the title song, brings us into the world of children playing under a mother’s loving gaze. As she ponders a world caught up in "war and plunder under ’Ol Glory" her plea for change is urgent . . . her assessment of ‘corporate man’ is stark:

There is no way he can ever defend
His endless wars making more enemies not friends
Still he’s continuing to plan and create
More missiles more bombs more lies and more hate

From a tribute to the 9-11 Families who marched for peace but were censored by the New York Times (Daring To Speak), to a biting satire on a cheerleading pro-war talk show host (War Fever), the last song (Each One) leads us along a path mirroring Sharleen’s own journey from silent outrage and despair to finding hope in communal activism:

Each one bring one
By the hand into the sun
Each one teach one
It’s up to you and me

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