All entries filed under Dave’s Night Out

I have some very talented friends, and Craig Thatcher is one of them. Tonight’s DNO was a special one, and especially because there was a nice crowd on hand, a rarity, with a lot of first-time visitors to the club.

Per usual, I really didn’t prepare anything except a set list, thinking I’d do some blues and some stuff off of Troubadour. I started with We Are Welcomed, which proves to be a good opener. We talked about Jorma, Rev. Gary Davis and his school of players, Woody Mann, and Craig did some great finger-picking tunes. I served up It’ll Be Me, Rosie is a Friend of Mine, Walkin’ Blues, We Gave Names to the Animals and finished up with Lessons From Pete. Craig did a new lullaby for his new granddaughter, Can’t Find My Way Home, While My Guitar Gently Weeps and I chimed in on mandolin on Hesitation Blues and See That My Grave is Kept Clean.

The banter was particularly heartfelt and fun. Lots of history, mutual respect and, of course, some very funny moments. As it always is at the DNO’s, everyone, including us, seem to enjoy the warmth and intimacy of the club. Craig also brought out three wonderful Martins. During one of my songs, the 000-16 I had leaned against the stage wall fell over and I remarked, “It’s only a Martin.” Chuckle. They bounce, but only once.

The Reflection, a regular addition to the end of these nights, brought out some great conversations, especially from the many newcomers to the club. As we went around the room, I asked that each person come up with what they liked from the evening and many folks commented on Godfrey’s atmosphere, and our obvious respect for each other, and I was glad that Ramona was in the house to hear some of the accolades for the club.

Needless to say, Craig is one of great guitarists in the Lehigh Valley and to have him back me up on some of my tunes was special. I should be able to get some good cuts for my radio show. Craig also mentioned how these Godfrey’s gigs are special for him, as well, and how he relishes playing in this room. A good friend and a great evening.

This was a good one. Fellow folk programmers and musicians Tom Druckenmiller and Rick Weaver shared the stage with me. We played some tunes, talked about our radio shows and our gigs in the flesh. It was great to share our thoughts with the other programmers in the audience, Rob Reagan, Steve Capwell, Pat DeWolfe and Marcie Lightwood.

Great discussions of being curators, introducing new artists to our audiences, putting together sets of music, and more. I did a couple of Bill Staines tunes, finishing up with A Place in the Choir, with moos, coyote howls and a nice a capella chorus at the end. We also got to recreate The Drunken Lads on Don’t Call Me Early in the Morning. Rick played several Irish ballads embellished with some fine guitar work, and Tom offered some beautiful banjo tunes, with each of us adding some backup work, as needed. The music was well done.

As the night moved on, I got the feeling that we all were dropping quite a few obscure names and I feared some of the audience was starting to gloss over, and I tried to get back on the musical track, but we programmers like to talk…. and talk. Well, that’s part of what makes DNO unique.

The reflection period at the end was, as always, revealing. One younger woman said she like to watch our fingers, and many commented on how we could play the tunes without rehearsal. Also, how much we enjoyed our stage communication with each other. We got to reflect on the early days of Lehigh Valley radio with WSAN and WMUH, and how that affected our present programming. We were also lucky to broadcast on WDIY, which gives us a large creative spectrum to work with.

I admit to being proud of these evenings, with strong intellectual and entertainment values. We were pretty funny, too.

I took a step out of my usual musical theme for Dave’s Night Out tonight by inviting three women poets Ann Michael, Susan Weaver and Marilyn Hazelton. I’m good friends with Ann and Marilyn and have known Susan for a while. The initial topic was Tanka poetry, an interesting short poetry procedure that pre-dates Haiku. I’ve been a fan ever since Marilyn introduced it in a Lehigh Valley Teaching Artist session several years ago. I have several copies of Marilyn’s Red Lights magazine on my bedstand that help me drop the random thoughts that keep me awake and take me elsewhere.

Rarely usec Martin 000-1R

Rarely used Martin 000-1R. A good pal.

Again, a small audience but with several friends of the poets. I started out with Blue Heartland, a nice, compact Jerling tune that seemed impressionistic and a good introduction to the evening. The three women proceeded to talk about Tanka, present some of their works and chat about their craft. It was a refreshing break from the musicians I usually present. I was able to link the poetry of the blues and folk music to the discussion, playing Rock Salt and Nails (a feeble rendition), Green Green Rocky Road (hooka tooka…) and finished the evening with Gorka’s Good Noise.

There was some great talk throughout the evening about the term “ma” which describes the moment of a “space/turning point” in the middle of a Tanka verse. Taking a breath. I shared how that technique helps me when I meditate. At the end, my friend Steve Capwell mentioned that B. B. King said that it wasn’t about the notes but the spaces between the notes. Spot on, Steve.

I’ve installed an audience reflection period after we’re done, and, as always, the feedback from the audience is enlightening, with several folk commenting on the obvious respect and co-energy from the three women, often a comment when my musician friends play with me. It may seem obvious to us as artists, but I like that the audience picks up on that symbiotic feeling on stage.

I was glad to provide this space for my friends and their craft, and especially in this venue. It was a good night.

I have been waiting expectantly for this evening, hosting two of my favorite esoteric songwriters on stage here at Godfrey’s. Several years ago, at a DNO with George, I noticed that Alex dropped by and sat in a pew in the corner. Ah ha! These guys gotta meet. They did.

The theme for the night was Collaboration, since I knew that George and Alex got togther for a Christmas show at The IceHouse – an evening of weird holiday tunes. I hoped that they would unlock some techniques on the creative process. We ended up talking about The Beatles, having watched the sessions in the Let I Be movie. Wow. We also talked about playing in bands regularly, so we have a laboratory at every gig and rehearsal. The chat was wonderful and loose.

It never dawns on me that I write songs, too, as I collaborate with students at residencies, so that gave me an entryway into the discussion. I think I added an intersting dimension to working with others to created something new. I played verses from We Gave Names To The Animals and The Cat Came Back. 

George and Alex had several new tunes to share and Alex finished with his We Don’t Play Like Django. These boys are sharp.

Per usual, there were only about a dozen folks who showed up for this stimulating evening. During the reflection session at the end, folks commented on our obvious friendship on stage and our “joy”. Exactly and very perceptive.

Next Month: Women Poets with Ann Michael, Susan Werner and Marilyn Hazelton. Oh, boy!

Gigs are far and few these days, but I particularly enjoyed my Dave’s Night Out with old Shimersville Sheik band mate Roy Smith. The Sheiks were a really fine string band back in the 70’s, along with Jerry Bastoni, Chris Simmons and various other ne’er-do-wells. We were pretty esoteric in our repertoire, covering bluegrass, old country, jug band, Australian tunes and British Music Hall songs. We were an “art” band and got to play some interesting gigs at festivals, bars, and even opening night at Godfrey’s.

The Sheiks at Lehigh ’75.

Roy’s musical journey has been remarkable as he gradually lost his hearing in his 30’s. “A lifetime musician, Roy developed hereditary deafness, and now relies on MED-EL cochlear implants. He represented the United States at MED-EL’s International Music Festival for Deaf Musicians. Roy is not only an advocate for the transformative power of cochlear implants, but also a testament to their impact on musical expression.”

In this conversational format, Roy and I got to talk about his fear as his hearing subsided, what it’s like now to play music again, and other stops along the way. We played some old band tunes like Sheik of Araby, Gospel Ship, Ned Kelly as well as others from both of our current repertoires, including Simple Gifts, We Are Welcomed and others. We did a session earlier in the afternoon to help allay some of our questions about the material as well as catch up on how our lives have flowered over the last 45 years.

Open night at Godfrey's with Mary Faith Rhoads

Opening night at Godfrey with Mary Faith Rhoads – 3.19.76

He had the support of his wife Jan, incredible leaps in technology and the formitable strains of living in his own head for years. He even shunned music as it was noise to him. Sadly, he was unable to share his music with his daughter growing up. I think that I would have gone nuts with out my ability to perform and play music. Deep respect for Roy.

Sheiks at Muhlenberg College

Thanks to the cochlear implants (three generations now) the chips in his brain decode sounds for him, in both speaking mode and in music mode (more bass), but still he has to grapple with keys, intonation and more. Quite a struggle, but now he can communicate with the world. Wonderful!

The discussion was enlightening, and folks came away with a new appreciation for the power of music, modern technology and human spirit. It was a shame that we had such a small audience, though we recorded video from the set for future play.

A good night, all around.

 

I was looking forward to sharing the stage with Doug Ashby, bluesman, fellow radio programmer and folk historian. His band Tavern Tan is a regular treat at Godfrey’s and my respect for him as a musician in the Valley is quite strong. We’ve never had the chance to swap songs before so this was a good chance.  For extra credit, my sister Janet, daughter Rosalie and her fiancé Jourdan were in attendance.

My voice has been ravaged from this non-Covid flu, and I limped my way through my songs, avoiding some of the high notes. It wasn’t pretty but thanks to a hot microphone, I managed, to a degree.

Doug’s love of early blues has given him a strong repertoire of Robert Johnson, Memphis Minnie and other legendary recording artists. I started with Stealin’, a Memphis Jug Band tune and we were off and running. We swapped Robert Johnson tunes, and we talked about the poetry of these blues and went into detail on ‘she’s got Elgin movements’, something we seemed to return to during the evening.

I invited my friend Steve Capwell up on the stage about 45 minutes in, and, as I found out, Steve and Doug were former Tan-mates (no surprise), so Steve was able to fill in with some fine harp work. All of us are folk programmers and players, so it was muy simpatico. I was able to supply Walkin’ Blues, Santa Assassin (with Rosalie, in the house), Prodigal Son and a few others.

It was a good crowd, for a change, with about 25 folks in the house. The conversation was light but we were able to keep things entertaining and musical.

As I’ve been doing recently, at the end, I went around the audience asking what they liked. This has been a pleasant surprise with a DNO audience. Folks were open and forthcoming: the stories, the way we listen to each other, the instruments, Steve’s harp playing. One gentleman brought up my playing Magic Penny for his young son years ago. (I did a reprise.). They also enjoyed our knowledge and respect for this music and its history.

There were lots of great moments, some good music (in spite of my beat-up voice) and something we can do again in the future.

 

Rolly, Wendi and I did a Dave’s Night Out three or four years ago on Swing Guitar. Tonight’s was topic less and it proved, once again, to be an inspiring and creative evening of music and chat. As usual, there was a small crowd, but that’s not why we do this, and Rolly and Wendi recognize this. It’s good to have friends.

I started out with Roseville Fair, with a nod to Bill Staines, and it set the stage for our round-robin. Wendi brought out several sweet swing tunes, a very nice folkie song, sang some harmonies with me and gave a great exposition on vocal arranging. A smart lass, indeed. Rolly displayed his immense talents on guitar with fine backup leads for both Wendi and myself, several original and quirky original tunes and a spectacular instrumental. He talked about his weekly online concerts (approaching 600) and the community that he has developed as a result. He’s the best.

I tossed in Rodeo Rider, The Barnyard Dance, Sixty Minute Man and finished with Rosie Is A Friend of Mine. It was a good night sharing music among good friends.

Gregg, Bill and I decided to recast an evening we did five or six years ago: a song swap Dave’ Night Out. We had a great time. Gregg came up from Winston-Salem, NC and Bill from Morristown, NJ, and me from upstairs. Yes, it was a small audience but lots of Gregg’s friends came out so it was a fresh Godfrey’s audience.

I started things off and passed it to Gregg. Over the course of the evening, Gregg pulled out some great original tunes, including one he co-wrote with David Wilcox. Gregg’s a fine guitarist and uses some inventive tunings that really shape his sound. He also filled some nice leads on my songs. I supplied some mandolin on some of his songs.

Bill Hall, of course, has a delicious selection of original tunes, and he premiered a couple tonight, including one Legends, that is a nod to Gorka’s How Legends are Made and featured a phrase, “The Bard of Fourth Street”. As it flew by, it didn’t sink in that he was referring to me.  I don’t regard myself as a songwriter, but it was a nice gesture.

I did How Legends are Made, Don’t Call Me Early, Lessons from Pete, Ireland, Giants. I played pretty well and was glad I had several farmers’ markets recently to pull my chops together.

One question came up that spurred some discussion: What makes a Jersey song a Jersey song? Bill referenced John Gorka’s I’m From New Jersey about never thinking you’re good enough. I actually talked about my reticence booking Jersey songwriters while I was artistic director at Godfrey’s – too pushy. Gregg talked about his work with Christian Bauman. It was an interesting exploration.

I finished up with Lessons from Pete, and we disbanded after a very refreshing and stimulating evening, as are all of these Dave’s Night Outs.

This turned out to be a pretty good session tonight with Russ Rentler. We have a scattered past but enough to make it interesting. Russ is no slouch as a performer, instrumentalist and storyteller. He did a great job holding down his side of the stage. I could stay out of the way, for the most part, and ask questions, steer the conversations and encourage reaction from the audience. Quite a few folks showed up, especially friends of Russ’s. Russ played hammered dulcimer, octave mandolin, guitar and mouth harps.

I added Roseville Fair, Branching Out, Giant and July, all of which Russ added some fine back up. Actually sounded quite professional. I should not have been surprised but it was.

Russ had a great grip on his storytelling, several times looking at me and asking if it was okay to tell a story. That’s the beauty of DNO. Always a great night.

Ann, Cleveland, Dave, Danielle

A small audience for tonight’s Dave’s Night Out with poets Danielle Notaro, Ann Michael and Cleveland Wall. I looked forward to doing this format with my friends and with a spotlight on poetry instead of music. It was different and quite enjoyable. I

I started out with Rosie is a Friend of Mine which quite ironically features the words, “She’s like poetry that doesn’t rhyme.” A bit of whimsy to open up the evening. We did a round robin of the women’s poetry, and they are all professional readers as well as excellent poets.

Ann and Cleveland

Dave And Danielle

In the middle, I asked Cleveland about her work with “embodiment” in poetry, or how to intentionally incorporate (literally) physicality to the process of performing poetry. Great discussion. I did John Gorka’s Branching Out as a nice example of poetry in song, and it stirred up some poets from the ladies. (In the spirit of the evening, I didn’t do any instrumental breaks in the songs.)

I asked all of us why we do what we do, in my case, making albums and in their cases, chapbooks and live readings. Again, this format works well and we did some deep-digging on the creative process. I know the audience and my friends appreciated the session. “Make something out of nothing” was my response.

In my happy place

I finished up with Green Green Rocky Road (to clear the pallet, so to speak) and played it well. It was a good choice, especially with the verse “hooka tooka, soda cracker, does your mama chew tobacco”.

I then I realized that this was a good opportunity to employ my ‘reflection’ exercise, and asked the audience members, and then the poets to reflect on what they liked about the session. It was great to get the audience to come up with their thoughts and made for good way to wrap up the evening.

Sean, Fionna Hennessey are the backbone of Blackwater, the Lehigh Valley’s longest running Celtic Band, and the three of us did a DNO six years ago. Seems not so long to me. The topic last time and for tonight was Family Traditional Music, since we have a brother and sister. I remember sitting between them last time, getting lost in the familial harmonies.

Tonight I came in and found Sean and Fionna all set up, with a gargantuan pedal board set up in front of Sean, center stage. Cool. Sean does a lot of solo gigs where he has to fill several hours of Celtic music so this setup gives him a band – lots of tools (toys?) to play with. Sean also has a large Ipad with lyrics set up near the floor, with a foot switch device to scroll songs and lyrics. Last time I called him on it and he said he had stroke several years ago and can’t recall lyrics any more. I don’t blame him, especially with these long ballads. It is quite a set up.

I got a sound check in with “Part of the Union” and cooled my heels until 7 pm. I planned on starting with Don’t Call Me Early, and I had a very Sean moment: I had the Union beginning in my head, and. for the life of me, couldn’t remember the Don’t Call Me beginning. (I think I’m still functioning at lower level with my recovery). I shifted into We Are Welcome instead and I was back on my feet. Still….

It was a particularly good crowd for a DNO, in spite of being only 6 days removed from St. Paddy’s Day. We set off and Sean is well-versed in chatting with the crowd, opining on Celtic matters and introducing songs. A well-oiled machine so we had no problem with the show. The mix of Sean’s strong vocal and guitar, Fionna’s harmony and flute made for a very fat sound, with the sustain of the flute supporting the chord chops.

I chimed in with Roseville Fair and Giant. Towards the end, Fionna said that what seems to be her staring lovingly at Sean was simply trying to read Sean’s lips to anticipate his getting the words right. Chuckle.

A good night of music, and, as always, intellectually stimulating. Just what the doctor ordered.

 

This was an unique opportunity to have Cindy’s voice heard, especially since the GD book has been released. I had shortcomings (as pointed out by Cindy) in the book, especially with the omission of photos of Rosalie Sorrels. This was a small way to atone for that.

I planned on adding some songs from some of the folks we were to talk about. I worked up Rock Salt and Nails (Utah Phillips, covered by Rosalie), Roseville Fair (Bill Staines), How Legends are Made (John Gorka), Louise (Paul Siebel). I had a few others in mind but circumstances made me change to these songs.

The chat was open and interesting, talking about the early days about the club. It was particularly nice to see Cindy smiling, and, at the end, Cindy said there was so much more to talk about. Indeed, and I hope we have the opportunity to do this again.

 

Some video: https://www.facebook.com/danielle.notaro.12/videos/1293294011531368

 

I was looking forward to sharing the Godfrey’s stage with friends Tom and Betty Druckenmiller on Wednesday, rescheduled from a snow date the week before. I am still in recovery from my bladder operation (and cancer diagnosis), and still dealing with some fatigue and depression. I know I can count on playing some music with friends to help me out.

I had decided to focus our session on Family Music, and how we are shaped by making music with spouses and kids and parents. There were some interesting ideas brought up.

We talked about groups like The Carter Family, bluegrass brother acts, and other important folk acts like The McGarrigles, The Roches, Happy and Artie Traum and more, and how those collaborations functioned (or not..). Betty and Tom shared their history of making old time music together, Betty’s journey on taking up fiddle mid-life, and raising their son Nathan in the tradition.

While referencing my own family music history, though I never was able to play with my family members, I did recall singing in church pews with my family, and next to my dad Wayne, an accomplished choral singer in his own right. Though not in the folk tradition, it was an important influence in my singing in public and in a safe space. No small thing, and it was a pleasant reflection on my development as a musician.

As always, Dave’s Night Out was a stimulating experience for us all, and that includes the small audience.

Another stimulating evening with George Hrab, a prolific songwriter, performer and thinker. We’ve been doing these sessions the last week of the year for several years now, and they never fail to amuse and inspire me.

Tonight, we spent a lot of time talking about George’s Ukrainian heritage and he played two songs in Ukrainian. It was quite interesting. We talked about why Eastern European music is always in minor keys. We talked about his dad as a musician, playing in wedding bands and more. The audience seemed to drink it all in. And I loved the sparks.

I chipped in with Don’t Call Me Early and Giant. George liked that it was a waltz and how it is different than a straight 4 beat. There’s a lilt and swing to the 3/4 beat while the 4/4 is insistent.

I asked if he had “The Artistic Moment” when he realized he was an artist, not just a musician, podcaster, drummer, etc. and said he knew early on that he was an entertainer, even as a child. I talked about the moment, driving away from one of the CT Teaching Artist sessions when it dawned on me that I thought like an artist, not just a folk musician.

The series has financial support this year from Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission and it is living up to those standards: talking art.

 

I am constantly blown away with my guests on a Dave’s Night Out. Tonight was a particularly good one with two songwriters who have never met before, Andrew Dunn and Pete Gustavson. There were a few more people tonight, some friends of Andrew or Pete, but still not what should really be happening for this series. The format of conversation, music and philosophy is pretty radical but makes for some deep and satisfying (for me) entertainment.

The theme tonight was how the Covid lock-down affected our creativity and our songwriting. Both Pete and Andrew had divergent ideas, Pete alone with his wife and three daughters (no home studio there), and Andrew seeking community, and myself, with my 500 songs-a-day process.

I broke out my SE Martin tonight, somewhat neglected over the last few months, and it served me well. Clean and loud. I started with Don’t Call Me Early and passed it to Pete. Pete’s the real deal and over the course of the evening, his voice and his guitar set the bar pretty high for us all.

Andrew brought along a side man, Todd, on bass and guitar, and he chipped in a nice addition to the overall tone of the evening. I’ll admit that Todd distracted Andrew several times but no big deal. Andrew played some wonderfully emotional songs, as did Peter. I felt in awe of being in between these creative spirits.

I deferred to Pete and Andrew, and offered up Lessons From Pete towards the end, but also did Tropical Vacation, as I talked about my work writing songs with students. It worked well in this format and a rare chance for me to exhibit my Teaching Artist side.

Great moments throughout the evening and come away in awe of the creative friends I have in my life. Thanks, Andrew and Pete.

 

 

I was looking forward to spending some time on stage with my friend Joey Mutis, aka The Electric Farm. We have always shared a certain repartee with each other, our musical influences and many times listening to each other’s bands.  We are close to brothers.

Again, it was a small audience with several Joey fans in the house. Joey seemed a little more unsettled tonight, though he came through with several new (to me) songs. I started with Ground Hog, Rosie is a Friend of Mine, It’ll Be Me and closed with We Are Welcomed, with Joey filling some nice leads.

This particular audience had very little to say, and I admit somewhat put off by that. Usually there’s some interesting reflections that spur the artists’ conversation. Joey was a little scattered and I felt that made the audience a little skittery, too.

One interesting question came up at the end: What song would you play as your time ran out? Joey sang a little of “She’s Leaving Home” from the Beatles, among others and I chimed in with Here Comes The Sun, explaining its mystical beginnings for me, playing a really good Martin for the first time. Upon reflection, I also thought that I’d like to play it perfectly for the first time, at the end of my life.

Still, we got some thumbs up from the audience for the evening and the series, but I came away somewhat disappointed. So it goes.

I was a little bushed from a RockRoots doubleheader in the morning, but had some time to recompose for Wednesday’s Dave’s Night Out with my friend Jack Murray. We figured we’d explore the space between Country Music and Folk Music, and it turned out to be very good topic. Jack has a mind and a gift for exposition on stuff like this so he came armed for bear with a great list of songs, and I put some thought into it as well. The conversation was easy between Jack, myself and the audience.

I found out that Mike Duck is helping to sponsor this series by doing sound for free for mention of his Web Foot Digital web-building business. Big thanks, Mike!

Jack brought out Four Strong Winds, Last Thing On My Mind, If I Were A Carpenter, Irene Goodnight, Long Black Veil, and Girl From Mexico, a song from Ramona’s dad. Jack gave up early on that one, but I insisted on him reciting it. It turned out to be quite wonderful and I hope he does it again as spoken word. There’s power in that medium.

I brought out Bill Monroe Georgia Rose, Carter Family’s Wildwood Flower, The Byrds’ Farther Along, Bill Staines’ Roseville Fair, Dylan’s Girl From the North Country Fair, even The Temptations’ My Girl.

We were able to mark important shifts in the folk/country continuum like, the Dylan/Cash duet on TV, The Byrds Sweetheart of the Rodeo, the Will The Circle Be Unbroken album, Woody and Leadbelly’s Goodnight Irene, Tom Paxton, etc.

There were a few more in the audience, breaking into double figures for a change. I really am proud of this series for the content and the way it is delivered on this historic stage. Tonight was a perfect example. Thanks, Jack.

This was a flash-back to a DNO that we did four years ago, almost to the day, with my friends Bill Hall and Gregg Cagno. I started with Going Away from Utah Phillips and then passed off to Gregg. Early on, we talked about Jersey songwriters like them (I included John Gorka) who had access to the NYC folk scene and were able to head into the city to see the greats and play the open mikes, as well. As we rotated amongst the three of us, Gregg and Bill did some really fine original tunes. I was able to bring in my new arrangement of Imagine, Branching Out, Rodeo Rider (on 12-string), and my Lessons From Pete.

My friend and now Eastonite Andrew Dunn had chatted earlier.  I said how much I liked his Steel Is Strong song from the recent Bethlehem Steel album, and that I was playing it on my radio shows. He then said that it was based on my Lessons From Pete. I found that amusing, but, in playing it on stage tonight, I caught the reference. No wonder I liked it. Frankly, it was a honor to hear that.

Martin SC-13E

Bill had come in early to do some recording for his Rosie Project and had worked with Gregg already. When I came down around 4:30, things were all set up for my session. I brought my SC-13E down for this one and rolled through my version of Rosie is a Friend of Mine. The Rosie Project plans on having a multitude of version of his song on one album, with the other album Bill’s other material. Since we all set up, Bill suggested I try out a few more tunes so I stepped up with Stan Rogers’ Giant, John Gorka’s Branching Out and Alex Bevan’s Rodeo Rider (on 12-string). Bill and Gregg filled in some vocals on Branching Out. Amazingly, I was able to roll right through the songs on the first take, though the process is pretty exhausting.

Bill bought Indian food from Na Wab down the street, and it served as a nice break between the recording session and the show.

As usual, there was a dearth of folks for the show, but the music and conversation was stimulating and humorous. It was good to be with these good friends.

These Dave’s Night Outs were formed somewhat tongue-in-cheek back when I was gigging quite a bit. Well, not so much anymore as they are evenings when I actually get out of my apartment for some music with friends.

Tonight I got to play with Noah Gibney on his 15th birthday. Noah has been gigging with my good friend Kris Kehr in the Reading area, and is a wildly talented “old soul” kid who sings, plays and performs like someone twice his age (and unlike some folks I know, never get around to). Noah plays piano and guitar, writes some of his own material and, most importantly, listens before he plays.

Noah Gibney

Kris had told me that his instincts are off the chart and I could trust that he could pick up on songs on the spot. So, I had every confidence that I could throw stuff at him and he would respond. He did. Towards the end, I did Stan Rogers’ Giant at him, pretty much in a different tradition, and he added some great sound to the song. He was also open to improvisational techniques that I plopped in front of his ears. (Kris, of course, knows to expect that from me) He started off with a great (though long) version of Stormy Monday. Later on, we did several rondos where we passed leads among the three of us, just like old pros, unspoken on stage.

Kris Kehr

As usual, there were very few folks in the audience, but the conversations were quite interesting, talking about bridges in songs, and other musical esoterica.

It was Noah’s 15th Birthday. Amazing. I love these nights.

 

 

Alex Radus and Dave Fry

I’ve been lucky to present some of my friends who are quite talented songwriters, and Wednesday’s guest, Alex Radus, is no different. I’ve been an Alex fan-boy for several years now. His new album, recorded at Godfrey’s, is called Tributaries, and that was a good point to start from.

I took it as river-like tributaries that have shaped our music but he also mentioned that tribute is part of that equation. Spot on.

I started out with a Mississippi John Hurt as one of my early influences, especially with his two-finger picking. I did CC Rider, although rather sloppily. Alex picked up on that did some fine fingerpicking with one of his tunes. As we moved through the night, the mix of styles and songs was quite entertaining.

I ended up doing Barnyard Dance on my arch-top Martin, my Fountain Hill tune I Can Be… and Take Me To The River. We talked about how our instruments often shape what we play or write songs.

Again, a small audience that included my daughter Rosalie, so that’s pretty good. The conversation was stimulating and Alex’s songs were wonderful. He was a delight to have on stage with me.