Listen to ‘Wanderer’s Paean’ by Kim Beggs

by Sister Julie Ann on October 1, 2009

While celebrating saintly itinerant Francis of Assisi during the month of October, the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity invite you to immerse yourself in Kim Beggsculturally rich Yukon ballad ‘Wanderer’s Paean’.

A few words from Kim about the song Wanderer’s Paean:

“When I was young, I traveled far from home and loved ones, guided by the wandering spirit song. This wanderer’s paean, sang through my blood until I was embraced by strangers and made a new home.  My home is now the Yukon, Canada.”


Whitehorse, Yukon may be a long way from the American south, but it’s notable for the same sort of hardscrabble lifestyle and unshakable sense of community that influenced early Appalachian music over a century ago.

kim-beggs-red-dress-photo-by-kevin-kelly.jpgIt was that very sense of community that prompted Toronto transplant Kim Beggs to make her home there almost 18 years ago, and it’s that same sense of banding together in the face of adversity that has inspired her distinctive “sweet dark” old-time tinged roots music – a style that draws inspiration from old country and bluegrass, but which is unmistakably influenced by the expansiveness and desolation of the North.

Combining delightful acoustic arrangements with a voice that’s been described by Acoustic Live in NYC as a “cross between Nanci Griffith and Iris DeMent” Beggs reflects on the journey through life and death, the wanderer’s spirit and the loss of loved ones. Closer to home, she sings of the destruction of the Whitehorse shipyards and the struggles of a family member with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Yet for all the allusions to tragedy, the songs never sound “heavy” thanks to Beggs’ uplifting melodies. On her sophomore CD, Wanderer’s Paean, a who’s who of fine acoustic players fleshes out the delightful old-time sound. They include Handy Award-winning bluesman Rick Fines on guitar, Shania Twain accompanist Burke Carroll on pedal steel, The Creaking Tree String Quartet’s John Showman on violin, and another Yukon starlet Kim Barlow on banjo.

wanderer.jpg Beggs’ sophomore album Wanderer’s Paean earned a 2007 Western Canadian Music Award for Outstanding Roots Recording and a 2007 Canadian Folk Music Award nomination for Best New/Emerging Artist. called it the full-bodied, fully realized statement of a major artist.” Her song “Lips Stained Red with Wine” and “Walking Down to the Station” were winners in the International Songwriting Contest, and Beggs was booked to play Canada Day celebrations this year in London’s Trafalgar Square. While there, she also appeared on the BBC Radio program Bob Harris Country, listened to by over 14 million people.  

Kim has sung this song, Wanderer’s Paean, on national public radio in Canada and the US. It has been played on the radio all over the world.

Her albums have been nominated for music awards in Canada and the US. If you like this song you might enjoy hearing her other songs. Visit Kim’s website. Both her albums, Wanderer’s Paean and Streetcar Heart are available in CD format as well as digital downloads from her website store. Her third album, Mama’s Dress, will be released in April, 2010.




One cup of tea in the morning for me

A kiss while you sleep

The sun rising up brings a tear to my eye

My heart tells me get along my way

I heard the train last night, whistle refrain

Hooo hooo hooo, wanderer’s paean

I heard the train last night, whistle refrain

Hooo hooo hooo, get along my way

I’m the one from my kin whose blood won’t stop burnin’

Wandering bones and skin

The saddle round my heart it cinches at night

When I start to thinkin’ I’m home

You shone your love in this stone that ain’t true

And my skies are heavy and blue

But with the clothes on my back,

grub and coins in my sack

My heart tells me get along my way

Hand clasping hand, pull me up from the tracks

By strangers won’t never look back

Boxcar my freedom, railroad my bath

Sundown by clickity clack

33 thoughts on “Listen to ‘Wanderer’s Paean’ by Kim Beggs”

  1. Sister Marsaia says:

    Interesting song. Gentle and sad and reminds me of my childhood when people frequently rode the train. Also, reminds me of Yuma, AZ where so many still travel the rails in the warm country and stay awhile and then move on to the next place.

    “Paean” Definition: 1. a “song of joyful praise or exultation” 2. A fervent expression of joy or praise.
    “Wanderer’s Paean” by Kim Beggs: song skillfully performed by such a fine guitarist and company, and sung with the clear bright-sad voice of Kim.

    She certainly takes us into the wanderer’s world. The sound of the train whistle embodies the praise of the wanderer and calls to her heart to keep going as does the sun, the wild and the freedom. Kim has brought us close to the earth, to those who must wander. And in a sense we are all wanderers. May we grow to understand and appreciate the journey and those who travel with us. May we have the sweet courage to reach out a hand to others on the journey and to go on.

  2. Kim’s beautiful voice and thoughtful traveling lyrics called me to read again some of the lyrics of the Old English poem entitled ‘The Wanderer'(made popular again in Tolkien’s ‘The Two Towers’):

    “All is troublesome in this earthly kingdom,
    the turn of events changes the world under the heavens.
    Here money is fleeting,
    here friend is fleeting,
    here man is fleeting,
    here kinsman is fleeting,
    all the foundation of this world turns to waste!

    So spake the wise man in his mind,
    where he sat apart in counsel.
    Good is he who keeps his faith,
    And a warrior must never speak
    his grief of his breast too quickly,
    unless he already knows the remedy –
    a hero must act with courage.
    It is better for the one that seeks mercy,
    consolation from the father in the heavens,
    where, for us, all permanence rests

  3. Nick P says:

    it is very peacefull and relaxing. it also has a sad touch to it about home. she has a very good voice. makes me feel closer to myself.

  4. Ernesto DeSantiago says:

    This one is soft and mellow. Really got me thinking about her life. It a country sort of beat, which I absoutely love. This song can relate to my life because I went through simlar struggles. But I broke free and let my pass be pass and God be my future. This song rocks my socks.

  5. Gerardo Robles says:

    This songs reminds me of people who go out from their countries to look for better things. It makes me realize that many of us are very fortunate and blessed.

  6. Nhut Ho YCHS says:

    This is an interesting song. It remind me about my childhood when i still live with my parents. They usually listened to soft song like this.Kim has a good voice make me feel relaxing when i listen to it.

  7. Thanks for the thoughtful comments, Nhut, Nick, Gerardo and Ernesto. I agree with you. Kim does share not only her personal talents, but her search in being all that she is today.

  8. Kimberly says:

    Definitely not your typical song that you would hear in church, but still so neat! With God, we have everything we need and He is where we can always feel at home. He is everywhere and just a prayer away at all times.

  9. Ben says:

    I think about how I find myself reflecting on the path of life. You are always wondering, you are always searching, but for what, you don’t always know. You usually don’t know until it is gone. You just need to take a step back look at the your life, and count all of your blessings.

  10. Katie says:

    Life’s continuing journey and finding the beauty, finding “home” in all parts of the journey.

  11. Tony says:

    -life is a journey
    -we’re all growing and learning no matter what experiences you have had or how old you are
    -we can all teach each other

  12. Matthew says:

    I think of the country. I think about trains. It sounds like this person is traveling by boxcar and keeps traveling.

  13. Nick says:

    We are all wondering through life and the only way which is going to lead us anywhere is in the footsteps of Christ.

  14. Audrey says:

    It is obviously a deep personal reflection for the artist on her life…it is deep in meaning. It is all a journey of reflections on hte past looking to the future.

  15. Katy says:

    We are like wanderers in this world and without Jesus we would never find home. We can have lots or few struggles in our life, but we always can offer them to our Lord.

  16. Justin says:

    Freedom by being a wanderer and having no destination, just enjoying the peaceful surroundings and God’s grace along the way.

  17. The latest comments captured the wandering spirit of Francis, and his openness of finding meaning in all that came his way. Thanks for commenting on Franciscanized World, Katie, Matthew, Nick, Audrey, Katy, Justin, Tony, Ben and Kimberly. I am still contemplating all that you shared.

  18. Darcy says:

    I recently moved away from home for the first time for grad school. I feel like a wanderer also, disconnected from my home and family and friends. People keep telling me that you can never go ‘home’ because you change and the place you know changes also. But no matter how far I travel, home will always ground me.

  19. Diana says:

    I think of my restless sister and I wish her peace. Music reaches the sentivities that dull during the day.

  20. R. says:

    Melancholy. My journey is not over yet.

  21. Nick says:

    The Lord’s beauty shines through all creation-ever kiss, every sunrise-the little things.

  22. Darcy, Diana, R., Nick-thanks for listening and act-ually moving us all in your reflections. Each comment has a unique wisdom.

  23. Arou says:

    Power of perseverence…fall must rebound.

  24. Danielle says:

    it reminds me of times that seemed difficult but looking back they weren’t as hard as I once thought.

    there are times where a tear does come when the sun rises because I’m afraid of the day but at the same time you can’t pause time so you just have to get up, on the way.

  25. Julia says:

    The unknown of my looming graduation and marriage. I have no idea where I am going to be next year or what I will be doing. I could be traveling across the country far from my family and friends. My heart would break from being away from them much as Kim’s does in this song.

  26. Mario says:

    Life keeps moving, and so do you. You have to keep going even during hard times. College can get busy and there is a lot on my plate all at once.

  27. Alissa says:

    I think of a small-town girl trying to find her place, and purpose in this world. Maybe a girl who is a train stow-away looking for a better life.

  28. Sara says:

    I just really felt called to love and serve. I try to live my life for the Lord, but it is a daily struggle to give God complete control. I just really reflected on how great the little things in life really can be and how much they mean.

    “My heart tells me to get along my way” is how I feel everyday. I want to live out the actions of Christ.

  29. Maureen says:

    I should follow my heart and try not to losse sight of what is important along my journey in life.

  30. Michael says:

    The older style of the music and lyrics stuck out to me. Like the description said it gives an old bluegrass feel. It made me think of how close neighbors used to be and how we barely even notice those around us any more. Never lose sight of the past, it has made us who we are today.

  31. Ryan says:

    Life has its ups and downs.

  32. I find myself on reflective overload in reading all these great comments. I will take the time to truly focus on one personal response at a time. Thanks in abundance to Arou, Danielle, Julia, Mario, Maureen, Michael, Alissa, Sara and Ryan. One can’t help but listen to the song once again to gain all the wisdom generated here.

  33. On this dark day, the world is different. A wanderer’s senses are awakened or dulled to action. Music can be a wake-up call.

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