|A system in which advancement is based on individual ability or
achievement.||a. A group of leaders or officeholders selected on the basis of
individual ability or achievement. |
b. Leadership by such a group.
Do we believe that everyone gets what they deserve?
I'm paralyzed myself; and I'm a
big boy. Where's my response? How do I get it out without sounding
like one of the petulant bourgeoisie? I'm writing.
When the trouble comes I'll be standing right beside you. Hope I keep my head.
February 21, 2004
Ever been to the Minstrel
Coffeehouse in Morristown, New Jersey? If you're close by, and you could
very well be, it's well worth your while go and see what all the fuss is
about. It's about 10 minutes outside of the center of town, I met folks
who lived in Morristown who had just discovered the Coffeehouse that very week
from a notice in the paper.
The coffeehouse takes place at the Morris County Cultural Center over on Mendham Road. The audience is so attentive, it's real fuel for the fire, a room full of people who actually listen and respond in kind. I could go on and on, but check the site for yourself.
Whether you are a performer or a
person who loves music and community this is a spot to check out.
Oh, I was the opening act for a band called Left Field. They were specific and terrific; and 2 out of five of them were out sick. Three of them went ahead with the show and did a great one at that. Folk songs with a political bent, great lyrics and music, not to mention they were completely in tune with the audience.
Meanwhile, I'm planning for summer. If you know of a good venue or festival, please clue me in. Thanks in advance.
Keep the faith.
November 20, 2003
I'm in golden time now. Fresh from Folk Alliance and at the same time post-show depression has not yet set in for "Blues in the Night". Of course the show is still in full swing in West Springfield; but post-show depression actually begins well before a production ends.
"Blues in the Night"
has a run of 7 weeks, we've been held over for an extra week . The company
is great to work with, and there's not a nay-sayer or ne'er do well in the whole
bunch. Which of course makes me wonder. . . because when you're doing a
show and you can't name the jackass in the company; you have to wonder if maybe
this time around the jackass might be you.
As the director, Mitch Chakour gives the cast and band the freedom to do their absolute best, a rare quality among directors, and it certainly shows. Mitch is an amazing player too, so when he sits at the piano everybody gets to rise to his level. It's so much fun it ought to be illegal.
The Folk Alliance was quite a trip. Tom Stokowski and I drove over from Massachusetts just after the "Blues" show. Got to the Martin guitar showcase and had a great time. Ran into Julie Clark , it was great to see her-she was playing Alan Rowath's showcase. Also finally met Annie Wenz after reading all of her notes from South Florida, it was great to meet her in the flesh.
The big surprise was stopping in to find Dave Cantor's hotel room and spending time with Dave's True Story. Great players and great music.
So now it's time to take care of my throat. This show has me singing full out 6 nights a week. If you have any pointers email me.
November 5, 2003
Straight to business. Do you have footage from the 2003 Newport Folk Festival? Somehow the concert footage from the festival is missing, and my performance opening this year's festival cannot be found. Please contact me with any information. Thank you.
It's time now for the Folk Alliance in upstate New York. I've never been before; I'm looking forward to seeing everyone and also performing for the Martin guitar showcase. I go on around 1;30 AM Saturday, can you believe it? I guess these folks spend the weekend not sleeping. In addition to that I have a performance earlier that same evening in Massachusetts. So, we'll perform "Blues in the Night" around 10 pm on November 14th; Tom Stokowski will then drive with me to Monticello, N.Y. for the 1:45 AM showcase.
In the meantime, it's all about getting ready for next year. The press packets go out shortly, I have it on good information that all requests for 2004 should have gone out in October. I'm concentrating on summer festivals.
One last thing, the new CD. . . well, it looks as if it'll actually be recorded in Brooklyn. I'm looking forward to that. A whole new set of challenges and folks to work with. I'll keep you posted.
keep the faith,
September 28, 2003
And so ends the current
performance cycle. Thanks to everyone who attended the
Friday show and to the Crescent Dragon staff. It's a great room, and they've
been at it nearly two years now. If you're in or near Boston, go to Haverhill and check
them out. Surf their website and see the schedule www.crescentdragon.com
Next comes a new play. Well, at least it's new to me. "Blues in the Night" is a musical revue featuring blues music. This sounds terrific! I can't wait to get into this one. It'll be performed by The Theater Project at the Majestic Theater in West Springfield, Massachusetts and opens in early November. It's a small cast, just four of us, and I'll be playing in the stage band while serving as the fourth cast member. I hope it's as bluesy as it's title. Meanwhile I'm looking forward to theMartin Scorsese series "The Blues" premieres tonight on PBS.
As for the new CD, the pre-production is together. I've been working on and performing the material for over a year. The instrumentation will be basic, with some edge. I'm hoping for I kind of Daniel Lanois feel. Guitar (that's me), upright bass, accordion, percussion and pedal steel or slide guitar. Now I'm scope-ing out a recording studio, looking into NYC, Brooklyn to be precise. This comes at the suggestion of Leo Sacks and I'm inclined to take his suggestions seriously. Actually I'm not sure how to audition a studio. If you have any ideas, please drop me a line on the guestbook.
I'll try to keep this log current. But as always, when I have nothing to say-I'll say nothing. Lucky you. . . .
hang in there,
September 14, 2003
November 19, 2002
Greetings from the Underground.
I've been lying low of
late. Regrouping, planning for 2003 and 2004, trying to see what the
future holds. In fact the state of the world of late is so stunning that I
have to keep my head down; and try-whenever possible not to add up all of the
idiocy, hypocrisy and greed that passes for public life and policy.
"Make me wanna holler, way they run my life . . ." - Marvin Gaye
Luckily, I have friends who are very aware and plugged in to the fight to save the world. Sounds a bit melodramatic, doesn't it? Well, when I take into account the US business model combined with US politics I can't see it any other way. Please keep sending me information on the state of the world and all attempts to make it a better place. I'll do whatever I can; as often as possible.
As for the new album with a working title of "The Underground", I have enough new material ready to go. Anyone who's come to a live show recently can attest to that; and thanks so much for coming to those shows - by the way.
"Here's to thinking our way out of this one" - Andrea Hairston
keep the faith,
August 6, 2002
Falconridge was great, great fun.
I admit I spend Saturday up on the hill for the most part unable to walk.
Stepped out of a sani-can at 6:30am and stepped into a pothole. Spent
about five minutes writhing around on the ground in agony while the line for the
john grew ( extra entertainment for your camping dollar). Crawled back to my
campsite and pretty much stayed there for most of the day.
But really, I had a great time. I met so many interesting people; players, staff, everybody was just great. Performing on Friday went by so quickly; I did take a couple of moments to survey the scene from the mainstage. . . very nice view. Really gives the the urge for more; more festivals, more music, more everything.
As usual the song swap on Friday
was for me the highlight of the weekend. Chris Smither, Erin McKeown, Greg
Brown, and Lucy Kaplanski all were up to the task of sharing the stage.
It's always good to see players react off of each other. Lots of great
music all weekend long. Rhonda Vincent and the Rage , what a great band, and
they worked off of one microphone-very fun to watch. Gotta admit the mic
couldn't handle all the vocals-it seemed to break up a bit with all the
harmonies. . . . but the effect of them working in such close quarters was
terrific. As musicians they were without equal, incredible fiddle, mandolin,
guitar, banjo and bass. They were all wonderful. Jeff Lang on
Sunday. . . wow! Great show from him. Greg Brown was his usual cool collected
and syncopated self. Did some great covers on Sunday. too. Chris
Smither on Saturday was one of those things that you wish would just go on
forever. Great songs with great stories. And then there's Ani
Difranco. . . . she shows why she's the big dog. Her guitar was
blistering. Great sound, great stories. . .. she did a lot of new material
that was terrific. One song close to the end was a great political tirade.
She closed the festival in grand style. And the staff was more than ready,
they kept the aisles clear during her set and everyone could see
Hey, if you were there did you notice that they added speakers to the house system on Sunday? We were wondering why they did such a thorough sound check on Sunday morning. With the extra speakers the overflow crowd on the side got great sound too. The Falconridge staff was on top of everything. Very cool.
Meanwhile Dave Carter was on everyone's mind. . . the tribute was hard for everybody. . . and also a very necessary event. Part of the healing process. . .. . . . . . We are so fortunate to have his music.
It's been a week and now I'm starting to come down from the whole thing. And of course there is the business aspect. . . . . . This August is booking month for me. I'm putting together a schedule for 2003-2004. If you know of any good venues where you like to see live music - let me know.
see you soon,
Happy Birthday Tom Stokowski !
Well, Germany has come and gone in the shadow of the World Cup. It was great to be there playing, and spending time with wonderful friends. I can't say enough about that, recharging with someone you love is a great thing.
And hey, the Falconridge Folk Festival is coming up! Wow! The fact is I was going anyway, I've been going to the festival for the past few years. Getting to perform as part of the Emerging Artist Showcase is the icing on the cake. I'm really looking forward to the view from the main stage.
I've decided to devote the month of August to booking the following 12 months. The act of booking is the most difficult part of the whole process. You can play every venue from Boston to Atlanta, that's the fun part. Getting the bookings, arranging the details, settling the rate and contingency plans is the nose-to-the-grindstone work that drives me to question the business. It's a war of attrition, plain and simple. Good things still outweigh the negatives, thanks to music and people who enjoy listening to it.
OK, that's enough of that. . . . I still love my job. Falconridge is gonna be so much fun, I can hardly wait. And the coming winter will be the time to finally record the new music I've been playing at shows. I don't announce that a song is new during a show. I'm simply editing on the fly and seeing how a song feels. The act of being in front of people is what makes me fish or cut bait. That's the best way for me to firm up a song and see how it works.
Oh, and another job is coming up soon. We go back into rehearsal for the revival of "Soul Repairs" in August for a September run. I can't wait to work with all the Chrysalis folks again.
In the meantime, I look forward to seeing old and new friends at the festival on the last weekend in July. You can check it all out at www.falconridgefolk.com ,OK?
keep the faith,
Sapelo Island, GA
Hi. Getting some time in on the island. It's good to have a home away from home. Peace and quiet are the order of the day here in Hog Hammock, just what I needed.
Finally played the Living Room in New York. It's a great space; I can't wait to play there again. The New Jersey Folk Festival was great fun as well. I hope to play them both again. I managed to meet some very cool folks and got a couple of bookings out of the deal.
Next comes summer and a couple of shows in Berlin. As of yet all the dates are not posted. But I am very sorry that the Ireland shows are not going to come off this time around. It simply didn't seem viable for this year. The good news: Paris seems to be looming in the horizon for 2003 ! That is going to be great, back at the old stomping grounds once again. The past few months have been very long for all of us. If there is any way at all to recharge and get your bearings back I suggest we all take the time required and do it.
February 5, 2002
Been a long time. Made it through the holidays; I spent New Years Eve in Massachusetts. The First Night celebration was a lot of fun. Performed with Enchanted as well as a couple of solo sets in the evening. Topped it all off with Richie Havens and Greg Brown at the Calvin. One very long and very satisfying day.
This being the time of renewal and all, I'm glad January is over. Does everyone lose their minds in January or is it just me & the folk I know? I know it's difficult. People who are ill try to hang on until the holidays are over. People stay together until the year ends; you get the idea. Seems as if this is the month to really focus and try to help each other get through whatever demon it is that's chasing you. Amen.
I'm in rehearsal in Massachusetts for a new Chrysalis play "Soul Repairs" which will open up at Throne's Market on February 21st. Written by Andrea Hairston, this play deals with the ways in which we all remember and rewrite our own history as well as the history of others. It takes place in the year 2013 on a partially exploded bridge as survivors, refugees, media, and strange creatures mill about the blast zone.
As always with a Chrysalis / Hairston play, we've got our work cut out for us. As actors the script is great, very dense and difficult to interpret. The trick is for us to get all the ideas across. If we can do it justice it should be a very tight show. Chrysalis Theater is a great company. They satisfy my soul with material like no other work I've done. Plus they truly prioritize; people first, no bullshit. I love the work as well as the workers, plain and simple.
On the music front, I'm working on some new music; setting some new dates for Europe in the summer. Hope to play in front of lots of folks when the weather warms up.
October 23, 2001 Even smoke clears eventually
This could take a while. The fires are still burning, five weeks after the Twin Towers were attacked. Lower Manhattan is under a cloud of demolition and recovery, that's 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Even now when you pass someone on the street, you look into their eyes and they look into yours. If either one of you is facing ground zero - your face says:
"I can't believe this . . . I just can't believe it".
Children in the neighborhood seem to be adding this event to their history in stride; at least they appear better off than grown-ups. They play in the street around Independence Plaza, from Greenwich Street you can still see the smoking ruins. They seem not to be so disoriented as older folks. More power to them. More power to us all.
Now comes the business of getting back into things that haven't seemed to matter much of late. Making a living, making art, making love - at the same time we test the air quality in Tribeca and make our claims to FEMA about toxic particles in our homes. And we run through a range of emotions; anger, denial, acceptance. I think we're gonna make it, I really do. I can't tell exactly how. But I finally got the idea that it will happen; partly from watching these kids. The numbness and inertia is giving way to something new. Even smoke clears eventually.
keep the faith,
October 10, 2001
I live in the Tribecca
section of Manhattan, about 5 blocks north of the World Trade Center. I was here in Tribeca on the morning of September
11th. That day is
etched in everyone's mind. I cannot fully process the events right now, maybe
someday. Suffice to say that it will be with me forever.
I left for Europe on the 16th of September and just got back. There was a great collection of shows and I met a lot of great people. Plans are in the works to go back to Europe in May, maybe even make some stops in Paris and Ireland as well. That all puts a bright glow on the trip.
Now that I'm back in the city, it all comes flooding back. Not that New York ever went that far away. Opinions and news bounce across Europe just as fast as radio waves can carry them. Also everyone overseas has an viewpoint and wants information as well.
I travel all the time and I never get homesick, ever. This time I've been missing New York constantly. There is so much to process, and that will take time. I hope the US can get through this without killing a lot of people. I know we all want justice and peace. Now we all get to work toward our goals.
September 12, 2001 3:31PM Lower Manhattan
I have spoken with Cinda Lawrence,
Colin Taber, Sergio Cruz, Elana Bell, Pan Welland, Primi Rivera, Ray Rosato and Steven Thompson.
We are all OK.
Everyone is pitching in to help and are getting their bearings. I'm fine. Not sure about getting a plane tomorrow. But the first concern is getting straight. Checking on folks in the building, making sure everyone is alright.
All plans for Europe are on as of now. If commercial airlines don't start flying soon it could be a different matter.
Everyone who has been in New York for the last 24 hours has a story; hell, I'm sure everybody has a story. We'll share 'em later.
keep the faith,
Well, if Solarfest is a shot in the arm, then Falcon Ridge is a long, comfortable kick in the pants. I got in on Thursday afternoon and between then and Sunday I heard more great music and met more interesting people than I have in the last year. So, it's safe to say I'm still on my post-festival high. It really does renew my faith, especially when things get back to "lets give artists and art in general short shrift".
Next up is making final plans for Europe. Time is short and I'm really looking forward to all the shows. I went to the Vance Gilbert workshop. It really was a true workshop, not simply a V.G. showcase (which would have been pretty cool too). There were lots off good elements to the workshop, which focused on stage craft. Vance handled it like an acting class. It was great fun and it had elements you could really use. There was emphasis on getting fit and for artists to treat themselves in a more healthy manner, like athletes. "Want to stay in this business? Better get in training , it is a physical endeavor" I'm paraphrasing, but that was the gist of it. Sound advice for us all, real sound advice for me.
So, who really nailed it on the Main stage? I loved these folks:
|Acoustic Syndicate (like an acoustic Dixie Dreggs with great vocals, a knockout band)|
|Vance Gilbert (no surprise, consummate showman)|
|Auldridge, Bennett & Gadreau (real players like Acoustic Syndicate, but in a fiendishly bluegrass vein)|
|Eddie from Ohio (way cool, The Tubes meet Ani Difranco)|
|Jian Ghomeshi (of Moxy Fruvious)|
|Jeff Lang (amazing one man guitar army)|
|Susan Werner ( ranges from lounge act to the most polished singer-songwriter I've ever seen, all things to all people)|
This list probably has some folks missing too. Erin Mckeown was there and put in a fine set as well. She's one to watch for certain.
The song swap on Friday night featured Vance Gilbert, Jimmy LaFave, Mary Gauthier, and Susan Werner. This was a great mix; Mary Gauthiers songs are so powerful in an acoustic setting. It was great to hear them presented in that way.
At night, late at night, when all the acts were
finished folks roamed the festivals with their instruments among other things.
We played with each other until sun rise. Music was all around, even
to lull you to sleep, if you ever do get around to sleeping
. . .
On Thursday night I joined in the open circle at the Big Orange Tarp, that was an interesting mix of folks; Alan Rowoth is a great moderator and a catalyst for BOT itself (how it all got started I'm not certain, but give credit where credit is due, right? ). It was good to finally meet him. He could be the coolest thing about the circle. A very open and receptive man who has to pull the reins in on a tent full of players. I've been checking out this website since last year at Falcon Ridge.
Suffice to say that I feel more human after Falcon Ridge. Now I'm recharged and ready to write as well as get out on stage. Feels great.
keep the faith,
July 7, 2001
Solarfest is just around the corner and I can't wait. I've never been before, I'm really looking forward to all the new music and people. If you're in New England next week try to come see what all the fuss is about. Solarfest takes' place on July 14 and 15 in Middletown, Vermont. It's off season up there so the hotels and inns are pretty cheap in the summer. If you like to camp out you could show up on Friday afternoon to get settled even though the fun doesn't start until Saturday at noon. www.solarfest.org
Went to the Flywheel tonight and saw Cordelia's Dad. They turned out to be a punk band, it was great. I'm not sure what I was expecting but I got more than I bargained for. If you've never been to Flywheel in Easthampton, MA. Go on by, it's a tiny venue; no booze, no smoke (at least in the performance space), very hot once you get near the stage, but the acts are always gung-ho. And so are the crowds. Saw Tony Vacca there with Gobi System , terrific show for an energetic crowd.
P.S. If you find an error on this site, or a link that doesn't work, drop me a line. I'll see about setting it right. Thanks.
June 14, 2001
Here's something we all can do. Let the governments of the world know that we are watching. That we care about the development and equitable distribution of an AIDS vaccine. Visit the site and sign the petition.
This global call for action for AIDS Vaccines will be presented at international
meetings, including the United
Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS on June 25-27 2001 in New
York and also at the G-8 Genoa Summit (July20-22).
The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) is coordinating this effort.
June 12, 2001
Just a couple of quick notes this
First, here is the website address for information about Sapelo Island, Georgia:
Second, Does anyone have any information about clubs or other music venues in Paris? I'm searching for places where I can perform; places that feature acoustic music, blues or jazz. Do you have a particular place in Paris where you like to listen to music? Do you have an idea where I should be looking to find these answers? Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
May 29, 2001
Well Sapelo Island in Georgia is one of those
places that it'll take me a while to describe. Wonderful? Absolutely.
Unspoiled, yes. It turned out to be just as I was told. A beautiful step
back in time. But the question is for how long? It seems the state
and federal government have an eye on the island, and not simply as a nature
reserve. The majority of original residents live in a community called Hog
Hammock. This is where I stayed on the island.
The history of the island is rich, albeit painful to think of. Here's some facts from the Sapelo website: www.sapeloisland.org/hammock.htm . At the end of slavery the population stayed on the island. Hence, to this day the majority of the island is African-American. Much of the island is a tidal salt marsh and the University of Georgia has a marine research facility at one end of the island, using some of the buildings from the old Reynolds estate. It's a very laid back place. Gives you the urge to say "hey" to everyone who passes you, not that you'll pass many people at all.
Most of the island is in it's natural
state. Beautiful. The forests have lots of live oak and Spanish moss. Not to mention wildlife. The roads are few, and most of them are not
dirt, but sand roads. Which means to get around you walk mostly. Cars have
to go pretty slowly not to sink into the sand. If you're on a bike you're
better off to stick to the paved roads. Otherwise most of your time is
spent taking the bike for a walk. I come from a very ignorant
place when it comes to the island particulars, history and such. I'm going
to put this in perspective; find the another web link for the island and I'll get back
to you, OK?
It was a great week; I stayed with wonderful people and I made some incredible friends. I went with a group of writers. It was a chance for all of us to work and share our work with each other. They thought well enough of me to invite another musician along. I'm very glad they did.
Meanwhile there is more music to be made and listened to. Check out musician Dayna Kurtz at www.daynakurtz.com , a terrific singer songwriter with a great sound and style. She has a new CD coming out. Be sure to see her perform live too when she comes to your area.
The fall performance schedule is coming up. Meanwhile there will be some summer gigs in NYC, stay tuned. I'll let you know.
keep the faith,
April 25, 2001
Hi. Well, the trip to Europe went very well. Much better than I dared hope. So now as the jetlag fades I'm trying to keep track of it all.
I managed to play in quite a
few places; a couple venues invited me in to perform even though I was not scheduled to
be there. Of course I had a lot of help getting booked in the first
place. Uli Silbermann went all out searching for the right clubs to
play. Booking venues is very a tough task, some clubs are friendlier than
others. The trick is to find the ones that will work with you and not against
you and still keep a smile on your face. Uli did an incredible job figuring out
which places were the right ones for me.
The clubs were wide open as well, the staff in each space (5 venues in all, including the live TV broadcast on The Collegium) were very supportive from start to finish. To top it all off, the audiences came, listened, and had a good time. I am very grateful for all of it. . . . and thankful for all the new musicians and friends I met along the way.
Berlin is an interesting city, I'm
planning on going back in September to play again, as well as adding more time
in Amsterdam and Paris.
Coming soon there should be some photos of the trip. Also, I'm looking into adding a page here with song lyrics. I talked with people who mentioned that they would like to see the words posted here since they aren't included in the CD. And if English is not your first language a page like that might help. I also need help in that department, since I only speak 2 languages
( English and French) I understand completely. I'll try to get some song lyrics posted up here soon.
Next week I'm off to an island just off the coast of Georgia to a writers conference. It's kind of a treat for me, I understand that the island is a place where you can walk the beach all day and not see a soul. I hope so... . .
I'm still (always) looking for new venues and am very interested in playing house concerts. So, If you are interested in hosting one - let me know. And if you're a performer looking for new venues, check out the performance dates page for gig ideas.