I headed through my old haunts to Oley for a small concert in an active community folk scene.

Oley is a beautiful PA town with a nice main street with old PA brick houses and shops. The town is set in some nice farm country, far enough away from Reading and other cities to be able to maintain its core identity.

I had played a really wonderful festival, the Lobauchsville Cherry Festival not far from here back in the pre-Godfrey’s days (74, 75-ish) with the Shimersville Sheiks and with Mary Faith Rhoads. Great sound, classy festival, big tent, good sound and a chance to be treated like folk professionals. The evenings ended in some great square dances for the hippies gathered, and I guess I must have been the caller. Yes, I was pretty good at this back then. (crowd control, you know.)

I will detail the historic ride of Dave Fry in a future post. Deep Shimerville days.

Clay on Main, and it’s coffeehouse series, Half Moon, is a nice arts shop in an interesting building. Originally a small house – where the arts stuff hangs, a larger section was added years ago for a bakery, et al, and now houses a ceramic studio and other art facilities. Half way back was a nice, simple performance space that is used on a seasonal series basis. So, it’s a really good space that the locals are struggling to keep The Arts alive in their community.

Cliff Stackonis is a friend I have played with in Amy’s Jam and Godfrey’s Open Mike. He’s been instrumental (sorry…) in doing his part with the Half Moon series, by doing sound. He’s good at it, too. It is a big commitment, as well.

Cliff opened for me tonight, and it was a treat to see this community in action. He sang several of his original songs solo (in front of his own friends) and also brought up his two daughters on bass and guitar and vocals. That was very, very cool. He also had the opportunity to come up in a private moment and thank me for all that I do. That was nice. One of many fine moments off stage.

I followed Cliff’s set and a break with a small audience in house, though with some interesting connections in the audience. It is simply wonderful to play for 25 people who want to hear me. My people! Folks turned out to be eager singers, too. So good to get out of the city.

I did an hour plus set and mixed up my good stuff. Vegetable Song, Don’t Call Me Early, mando tunes, July and others. Cliff’s two daughters came up for Giants and the Thundertubes. It was a very nice ‘tip o’ the hat’ to Cliff, and I said I only used it to spruce up the stage (old fart with two nice girls).

A nice request for Louise, and a chance to do some art. I have done this with my friend Bonny but she had split. Cliff said that his daughter knew the song, so I invited her up. Its a killer song, and I do it well, so his daughter filled in very nicely and together, we created another very nice performance piece, in their community.

I had the chance to do Lessons from Pete and Legends to really bring this experience right home to this setting, this evening. You know, that’s really what’s important with all of these gigs. Try to make this experience meaningful, and, hopefully, memorable.

I finished with ‘Pay Bo Diddley’, a chance to bang the guitar, rock and roll a little, inject a little socio/musical commentary, listen to my fine guitar, and crank it up!!!
I said thanks for coming out to hear me. And I mingled with the folks and exercised these tiny connections. I try to be good about the interactions, accept thanks graciously, and listen to how we connect. It’s really quite astounding to hear the stories. (It’s still hard for me to take in the thanks…)

I left with some door money and some CD sales but, importantly, a particularly satisfying performance.

The drive back was a foggy nightmare, over the hill and back into the Lehigh Valley. I drove back in silence, but my head was full of music.