All posts from May 2009

I always come away from Godfrey’s open mike in awe of the home-grown talent that pass through these doors.  Tonight featured folk, blues, Renaisance music, songwriters, trombone blues, classical music, and even the Star Spangled Banner on harmonica.  Jazz guitar, fancy ‘touch’ acoustic guitar, a capella, etc.  So fine!


Tomorrow, three sets in Bethlehem’s Buchanan ES.

Killingworth ES had an arts and science day, with local arts and business folks visiting the classrooms.  I had four first grade classes come visit me, and we sang and danced and talke about folk music.  It was a great day for the kids, and I’m glad I could donate my time.


I then headed down to Madison for another Farmers’ Market gig on the green.  The weather turned out wonderfully, and a good group of kids, moms and grandparents stopped by, and I had a good three hour gig.  Small pay, but a free pie and loaf of bread from tow of the venders was a nice tip.  Both gigs wore me out, though.   Foot in mouth

My RockRoots was cancelled for the morning, but I had a Family Night at Lincoln School in my old home town of Emmaus.  Nice to see some familiar faces, too.  The principal was Rosalie’s teacher back when she was in third grade.


Back home in the morning.

One day, the cat was snooping around Northwestern Lehigh School,

When he ran into the cafeteria, he started to drool.

He scarfed down fish sticks and turned a swampy green,

The lunchroom ladies squirted ketchup and he quickly split the scene.


The cat was checking out the projects on the school walls,

When the recess whistle blew, the kids sprinted down the halls.

Someone stepped on his tail and he skid into the faculty room,

The door slammed shut, and a teacher spanked him with a broom.  (Meow!)


The Cat was following the principal to the copy machine,When the principal sneezed, and the cat jumped on the screen.

The machine started blooping and did a quick cat scan,

He was now a copy cat, and then took off and ran.


I traveled back to Newark, winding up my residency at Sarah Ward Preschool on Lock St.  This time I got to see the teachers do their homework, musical exercises using “techiques” that I shared with them.  It was great to see them take something and work it into their work, and take it a step further.  And see the kids making rhythm and song with their favorite books, dancing, and being musical.  One more visit next week.  I’ve learned a whole lot.Laughing

I good way to end up the weekend, with a show at Mayfai in Allentown.  It got loose right away.  I asked if there were any songs that htey wanted to hear, and one mom said, “The Boa Constrictor Song.”  Huh?  Her daughter corrected her, “The Spider on the Floor.”  I figured, why not, let’s do “There’s a Boa Constrictor on the Floor,” and it was quite silly, and will, of course, be used again.  


Off to Newark tomorrow, bright and early.

It was breezy day at Mayfair, with some dark clouds rolling by north of us.  I had a good set of kids music, introducing some new verses of The Cat Came Back written by kids – great stuff.  Stage full of kids dancing and doin’ the Shark. 


I had a chance to catch my friend Doug Roysdon do his magnificent marionettes, introducing many of his great characters from other shows, including the Buffalo Dancer.  The man’s a genius.  Mockturtle Marionettes.  ttp://


Jaimie and I set off to see the LV Iron Pigs, the new LV double-A baseball team.  We got rained on, and they lost on a homer in the ninth, but does that spoil a night at the park?  No.


Oink! Oink! Oink!

Small crowd, and remarkably devoid of kids (!!?), so I got to streatch in another direction.  Finally got to change my strings.


I got there for my 5 pm set, when I saw my old friend Ray Owen on stage.  He said, ‘There’s Ray Owen!” and I chuckled.  Well, it seems that I was supposed to go on at 4 pm, (news to me), so he went on for me, and as me.  He even sang the Vegetable Song, a version fresh to my ears.  He switched sets to cover for me, so I played his later set.  Sorry about the confusion.  But what a guy!


The cool thing was revisiting an old friend, my old mandolin, an AO model that I played twenty years ago.  The sound man Taylor had told me yesterday about a mandolin he picked up, that was old, an AO, and colored brown.  I said, “I know that mandolin!”  And sure enough, it was.  I got to play it on stage, but it hadn’t picked up any new tunes since back then.  She sounded sweet, and looked mahvelous…

We hit the road about 5:15 for a RR in Marlton, NJ.  We made it, andplayed for the eighth graders, a subdued but appreciative crowd.  The teachers went nuts, though, join by teh lunchroom ladies, already dressed in tie-dye.  they romped in the back while the students watched in amusement.  It was strange to be done at 9:45 in the morning.  Off to the radio show.


I made it up to WXLV for a radio gig with Theo, my friend and photographer.  We had arranged for me to come up and play some tunes.  He and Burr Beard were doing a spot for the the Leigh/Delaware River Canal folks.  Jay Smar sang first with some right-on songs about the coal area, trains, etc.


During a lull in the proceedings, I asked if any of the three remembered my late friend and fellow Sheik Jerry Bastoni, and, indeed they all did, remarking of Jerry’s good energy in the very beginnings of this project – linking towns up and down the “spine” of history that shaped this area.  American Industrial Revolution history.  i said that my parents lived in Bristol at the bottom of the spine, and my father’s folks came from up at the top, near Hazelton.  Cool.


Mayfair tonight.

Thursday featured an early LV (hurray) RockRoots in Kernsville.  It’s been awhile since we were there.  Quite a load in, with the stage/gym in a basement situation, with a long ramp down. 


Mayfair opened today so I was the sacreficial opening act on the Kids Stage.  Turned out nicely, with some young fans in attendance.  I passed out the instruments, and celebrated a nice grass carpet to dance on.


Crack o’ dawn tomorrow for the lads.Undecided

Good name for a gig.  I visited a rural elementary school for an afternoon assembly – K through 6th grade.  The 2nd and 3rd graders were practising for their talent assembly tomorrow – hula hoop rolling, tennis ball balancing, singing pop songs to cd’s, so I got on stage to set up with about ten minutes til show time.  No matter.  Talent should not be rushed.  All in all, a good time was had!

I headed into Newark to watch Rebeca Kelly in a preschool.  She’s a teaching artist and storyteller.  Good to see her calm and quiet manner with the kids, something I can learn from. 

I met Michele in Newark for a glimpse of the work done by the teachers I have been mentoring. I always come away with the respect for these teachers who have to deal with so many slings and arrows, and are expected to be artistic, too.  My responsibility is to nudge them into being more musical… 


Up to Northern NJ, near Sparta for another post-testing assembly for a nice K-4 school group.  Old gym, deafening sound, but rather uproarious, in a good sense, too. It’s great to have the teachers dancing with the kids at the end.  Community. Laughing

We did our big assembly and World Premier of our work on the residency.  Unfortunately, the power point didn’t work (too many fersions of these programs) but we carried on anyway.  The assembly went off with each class getting their songs performed, and I was deluged with album art work.  The next part is the hard part – I have to produce the words, the music, the art works onto a CD-rom to give back to the classrooms.  Lots of scanning, recording to do.  Oh, well.  Back to the grind stone.  It’s a good thing.


I spent the full day with the kids in the classes, working on  new verses to the Cat Came Back, and We Gave Names to the Animals, and more (yes, more) verses to Down By the Bay.  The important thing is the interaction.


I had the quietest lunch period today – the third grade was away for a field trip, but I was thoughly entertained by the lunchroom ladies.  As I was eating in silence (eerie) one of the ladies started singing the Cat Came Back.  Seems her daughter drove her crazy with it a long time ago.  The song runs deep….  I then told her that we had just written a verse about the cat visiting their lunch room. Synchronicity.I’ll post the words shortly.


A good, creative day….





The first of three jam-packed days in New Tripoli, PA, with an assembly, and five songwritng workshops.  Fourth Grade is working on new verses to “The Cat Came Back”, the Third Grade on “We Gave Names to the Animals”, and First Grade on “We’re Going on a Ghost Hunt”.  A good start….  Stay tuned.

Monday brought me back to Newark to the Sanford St. site for my workshops in rhythm building and melody building, and it was fine and dandy.  Tried out my new wooden Xylo.

I enjoyed a small, but mighty audience Saturday.  I was looking to exercise some newer songs I’ve been working on.  And I was looking for some live cuts to put on some kind of an album.  The first set went very nicely.  I dusted off (literally) my 12 string and cranked it up for two tunes, including Rodeo Rider (dusted that one off, too)  I played my Waldzither, and hopefully got a nice recording of this old instrument.  I even did my Australian tunes, Zombie Jamboree, too.


I still find it hard that I often can’t draw folks to my show at Godfrey’s.  But I still find it one of the more challenging rooms, yet suited to my style.  No surprise there, I suppose. Foot in mouth


A very funny moment happened on Sunday morning, though.  As I was puttering around in Godfrey’s, cleaning up my stuff in the front with door open, two gray-haired biker buddies came walking down 4th Street on this fine morning.  They stop by the side window, and one of them said, “They got some local guys, Dave Fry.  He’s an old one…”


I walked out the door and, in my best biker, said, “FY  Who you callin’ old?!”  The guy’s friend split a gut, and was soon followed by his chagrined pal.  It was a very good moment.  Watch what you say….