I was lucky to pick up an Easton Public Market’s Acoustic Kitchen on Saturday (having to cancel one in early March). It’s a good gig for me, especially since the PA is provided, if (big IF) I can find parking near the venue. I was able to load in the back and find a space out on Northampton Street.

I invited my good friend and fellow radio programmer Steve Capwell to join me for the session, and Steve is a pleasure to play with. Armed with a small array of harmonica’s, Steve is completely at ease with me tossing songs, keys, etc. at him. He’s free to play along on tunes he’s comfortable with (usually Blues). I also like that he is at home with playing to the room acoustically, no mikes and that really fits the situation since folks are there to eat, socialize and catch some music if they want to. We’re there for atmosphere, folks.

I like to mix it up with the families, kids and parents and I had many nice interactions with some of the younger folks. It kind of takes them by surprise, actually. And there are folks who actually come to hang out and hear the music. A nice, friendly situation that gives me the opportunity to work my “magic.”

Steve made the evening move quickly, and we had a good time. At the end, I got my check, and the manager loved what we did. And, I got an artisan pizza (basil, cheese, spinach and bacon) for the road. A good gig, indeed. Thanks, Steve.

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 love these family birthday parties. A family who frequents my Saucon Valley Farmers’ Market visits asked me if I’d do a birthday party for their son Nithin’ 5th. Tucked away in a housing development in Center Valley, I pulled up in the driveway with loads of cars parked on the street. The party was jumping with kids in the basement and adults chowing down in the kitchen. I was set up in the ‘great’ room with a chair and nice rug, couch and a few chairs.

I made the point, as I started out, that parents should respect the community nature of the event and not talk among themselves in the back. They didn’t, and I’m glad I made the point up front. I took it from there and rolled through I Like Peanut Butte, The Tutti Tah, I Wanna Be a Dog, etc. I broke out the bag of instruments, the scarves and the room became a vision of color, movement and laughter. It lifted my soul.

I was particularly moved by the diversity of folks with lots of blended families, Indian-Americans and the like, young families and grandparents, etc. I also took time to thank the three young girls who could have dropped out of the festivities for being “too old” to join in. I complimented their involvement and how that was important for them to model for the younger kids.

One mother said it was the best birthday party ever, even if it was for kids. And there was Cake!


I returned to this wonderful Preschool in Vineland, NJ, one I’ve played every couple of years as a solo and with RockRoots. Miss Carol, the director and founder of this facility was welcoming, as usual, and the staff was glad I was there, too. I had two sets at 10 and 11 am for about 120 kids and 25 teachers, all splayed out on the carpeted floor of the indoor recreation room, a space with fantastic art and creative equipment – well thought out on many levels.

All Kids First Preschool, Vineland, NJ

It’s quite a hike to Vineland in southern Jersey, so I had to leave before 7 am to get there. The travel was fairly easy, but one never knows what traffic is like in between. I’m still in a bit of a fog recovering from my operation last month, and my kids repertoire is showing some rust. Still, I have faith in my abilities to make things work. (I got lost during Bear Hunt…)

Creative artwork on the wall behind my space.

I had hoped to distribute rhythm instruments during the first set, but knew I didn’t have quite enough to initially go around for 120 kids. I experimented with dealing out instruments to the first three rows, and then have the kids pass them on during the song. It didn’t work due to the age level, and the kids not knowing how to share. The teachers came to the rescue though, and saved my ass. I also tried the same thing with a limited number of scarves, and, though the sharing of scarves worked better, the chaos bit my efforts. We had fun anyway.

I gathered myself for a second set, willing my way through the next 45 minutes. This time, I distributed both instruments (to the first few rows) and scarves to the back rows and that worked much, much better. With the help of the teachers, the sharing element concept worked well this time. Always something to learn, especially when I embrace the chaos.

It was a long drive home and found myself wrung out upon my return mid-afternoon. There is a noticeable recovery lag these days and I find myself trying to figure out how to book my gigs these days. I need the money and I find a return on the the energy spent, grateful for the opportunity to get my feet back on the ground again.

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.

I picked up a quick fill-in gig at Art Quest’s “bar” Pallet and Pour on Friday. I quickly asked Kris Kehr if was available and he jumped right on it. It is a three set gig (something I’m not accustomed to, these days) from 7 to 10 pm in an open space on the first floor of the Steel Stacks building. It’s pretty strange in that it’s a large gathering space that folks headed to other events in the building pass through, so I’m always amazed that some folks actually hang out for our music. The good thing is that a sound engineer and quality sound is provided.

I’m still in my recovery stage from my recent bladder operation, feeling considerable fatigue and related pee concerns, but I am driven to get out and perform, just to see where I’m at in my recovery and for the benefits of simply playing music again.

My daughter Rosalie happened to be in the house for an Improv Festival with her buds from RI, so it was great to have her come up and give me a firm hug. The foursome caught the first set before they had to go on stage upstairs. Several other couples hung out for the greater part of the evening and I took some time to thank them for sticking around, and get some back story on why they were there. It was a good way to get grounded in this large space.

Kris and I played well, especially considering my rust and several months between gigs together, but, I can always could on my good friend for playing with his “ears” on and head in the game. I truly love his ability to knock off leads on his bass, giving us a chance to stretch our sets over a three-hour span. We did a fine job.

The gig did set me back physically the next day, but I came to realize how playing music helps in my recovery.


This was one of the tougher gigs I’ve had recently, and one I lost some sleep over the night before. I am recovering from an operation the Thursday before and in some discomfort. Still, I figured I wouldn’t cancel and grit my way through. It turned out okay, but not without some dings.

Eve Russo sponsors Music Mondays every week with various Lehigh Valley musicians. I’ve been on several times, and, the last time a few years ago, I mentioned that I was working on a book. She said, “Let’s do this when it comes out.” So here we were.

Eve does her homework by sending me a list of questions a week ahead of time, so I was well prepared with what she wanted to discuss. There were questions about my impetus to form the club, was it easy to find talent, how does the club rank among folk clubs in the country. During the first segment, we sat on the couch and chatted. It went well.

The second segment was with me set up to play a song, sitting on a stool. Again, the questions went well, Eve was quite engaged as an interviewer and things set up nicely for my one song at the end of this session. I followed with John Gorka’s How Legends Are Made on my Godfrey’s Martin. I’ve been rusty recently in my guitar playing, and the GD Martin seemed stiff, so I had to really dig in to make the guitar sound good. I was thinking, ” Time to get this axe worked on.”

I got through most of Legends, but started messing with the chords (though not noticeable to everyone but me) and I flipped a few words in the next to last verse. I was feeling some fog. Otherwise, it came out well and I stuck the ending chord in style. Cut to wrap up.

I was supposed to play a short instrumental outtake ( a minute or so) but got cute. I thought I’d play some of Stan’s Giant, started to go into an open tuning, and when they came back for my tag, I was hopelessly out of tune, and spent 30 seconds tuning my guitar before I started singing “I work at a place…” . It was embarrassing and the sourness hung in my brain for the next few days. Again, there was an exhausted fog in my brain. I felt the fool.

The reactions to the interview went well on Facebook, but I knew I could and should have done better.


I am the perennial opening act for Jack Murray’s annual Hankathon at Godfrey’s on New Year’s Day at Godfrey’s. I usually do three songs and hand things off to Jack and his band. And, usually, all the good Hank songs are snapped up by the band. Well, tonight, I decided to start off with Your Cheatin’ Heart and follow with some cheatin’ songs, desparate for a theme. It actually was a good idea.

Your Cheatin’ Heart was released after Hank died and became a hit, covered by none other than Ray Charles (’62) and known as “the song – for all intents and purposes – defines country music.” It’s short and sweet and I did a manageable job on it, commenting afterward of how studying Hank’s vocals and slurs made his music very emotional. It was nice to finally sing one of his songs at this event.

I followed with Paul Siebel’s Honest Sam, a thinly veiled tune about megalomaniacs like Donald Trump, again about cheatin’. This one dealt with card games. I added a comment on Mara Lago and threw me off on the following line (“sails his ships out on the sea”) but I landed on my feet and finished the song. (No such thing as a perfect set…)

I followed with a great cheatin’ song, She Left Me For Jesus, a rather raucous country tune I picked up from my friend Reid Tre. It’s pretty audacious with phrases like: “if I ever find Jesus, I’m kicking his ass” and “I bet he’s a commie, or probably even a Jew” and “why, the last time we made love, she called out his name.” It was cool to lay this on a full house at Godfrey’s and it was well received. An aggressive and somewhat controversial selection on my part, but it was a good choice.

I decided to do a fourth song, and end on a positive note, with Jerry Jeff’s My Old Man, a gorgeous song, a simple song (G Dm D G) that waxes sentimental about a rambling fiddle play, a dancing woman and a legacy of good songs. I managed to do the song with minimal help from the lyrics in front of me (oh, how I hate to do that….) and it landed quite nicely.

I introduced my friend Jack and his band The Blue Tarp Wranglers, talking a little about wrangling blue tarps in difficult situations (an apropos description of what Jack has to deal with), and quickly got of stage. My kind of gig.

Jack followed with two sets of classic country, with plenty of harp, steel and guitar leads to fill a warehouse (drives me up a wall, sometimes) and the sold-out audience loved it all. Jack’s quite a mensch in putting this evening together and see him pull it off in style. I’m glad to be able to open for this event every year.

Ramona’s birthday, as well.

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.


Memorial Middle School, Cedar Ridge, NJ

There was  some nasty  weather headed our way on Thursday, for a middle school in Cedar Ridge, NJ. Two show at 9 and 10 am for 225 5th/7th grades and 6th/8th grades. It was a nice move on the principal’s part to mix the classes this way. Some intelligent design.

I didn’t sleep a whole lot the night before (I over-think these things), and hit the road at 6:30. Easy driving and, upon arrival, the staff was great. The one music teacher was a classical guitarist, so we had some great conversations about our reading/ear training difference( I wish I could read, and he wishes he could improvise), the fact we both have over 5 guitars, etc. He particularly loved the show and it’s impact on the kids. Great respect for music teachers.

I’m still dealing with using a stool for the shows, but I really can’t do these gigs standing up these days. I’m dealing with some heart issues/ meds that sap my strength. I working on that stuff as I get older. Still, the show is strong, the band plays well, we engage both students and teachers and the material is well-thought out and intelligently presented.

Amazingly, we still knock it out of the park, even on a rainy Thursday morning somewhere in New Jersey.

New Road School, Somerset, NJ

Tuesday’s assembly was at  a special-needs high school in a facility in a industrial park in Somerset, NJ. We were scheduled for an 11 am show for about 75 kids and 30 teachers. We love doing these gigs for many reasons and I’ll chat about that shortly.

It’s actually nice that the facility is in a large, industrial-use building. It was nicely outfitted to suit the situation. The hall that we played in was made to look like a neighborhood street, with various “shops” as classrooms for a whole spread of life-skills centers: beautician, printer shop, etc. Intelligent design.

The staff was welcoming. We set up and did our set. A couple things different. I decided to introduce the band members right away. Good to get to know each other off the bat.

The I Like Peanut Butter set, with four kids on stage was, as always, a high moment for all the kids and teachers, and these kids nailed, complete with shades – a beautiful Teaching Artist tool that I’m proud of.

Why are these shows meaningful?

We create a community event for everyone, kids and teachers and staff. I love being able to watch the kids get up and dance in a safe space. I love to watch the teachers watch the kids having fun. I love to watch the teachers react and move to the music. I love the fact the band gets to experience all this joy. We are making a difference.

It’s an invisible gig for some folks, but it’s worth it all.

Saturday night after Thanksgiving seems to be a good night for this type of show at Godfrey’s: Craig Thatcher, Dick Boak and myself, sharing the stage with songs and tales, similar to previous Dave’s Night Out shows. I had two gigs earlier, including an outdoor tree lighting at Touchstone at 5 pm, so I was slightly “out of breath” for this one, but one I was looking forward to – very little pressure for me.

The show was sold out a day before, and Craig was hoping to do two shows. Nope. Not enough time to broadcast a second show, and definitely not in my wheelhouse for a three gig day. When I got to the club after 6 pm, Craig already had his gear set up, with amp, an array of pedals, a fancy guitar mike, two Martins, a Martin stool. Dick had his autoharp through an amp as well. I plugged in my mahogany Martin into the system and with my vocal mike, I was ready to go. As it turns out, I think Craig over committed to his “sound” and it tended to overblow the stage sound for the night. But, that’s how Craig rolls these days.

The round-robin idea works well for this evening, so I started out with We Are Welcomed, a nice opener with room for Craig’s lead and a solid song for me. Craig followed with several nice instrumentals, original songs and a song that he worked up for a Loretta Lynn dedication in Nashville earlier in the fall which I played mandolin on. Dick was concerned with his ability to play autoharp being slightly out of practice and with some right hand issues. As it turned out, he stepped up big time with his original songs that he and Craig have worked out over the years.

Craig loves to share some of the amazing gigs he still plays and, as he talked about the Loretta Lynn gig with Chris Martin, he dropped the fact that Vince Gill was in the audience and gave him a thumbs up during the show. Craig’s audience love these vignettes. I followed by saying I was in Easton that morning, Santa was in the audience and gave me a thumbs up, too. There ya go. Matching his Vince Gill with the man himself, Santa Claus.

It was particularly pleasurable to physically sit between Craig’s big guitar sound and Dick’s phat autoharp sound. I closed my eyes a drank it in.

Playing with these guys definitely brings my A game, so I played really well, with tunes like Rosie Is a Griend of Mine, Lessons From Pete, Don’t Call Me Early and a few others. The time went quickly and it was wonderful to play to a full house at Godfrey’s, with many familiar faces in the crowd. I tried to pull the show in around an hour and a half, but Craig wanted to do two hours. Besides being a tad bushed after a long day, a two hour show is a bit much for an audience to sit through. We finished up at an hour and forty minutes. I am certainly appreciative of having the opportunity to share the stage with Craig and Dick, both incredible artists in their own right.

I was able to sell a bunch of books, as few CD’s and was glad to finish my day on a high note.

As it turns out, all three of us contracted Covid this week, so we did pay a price for the gig.

Touchstone had the honor to host the 2022 SouthSide Tree Lighting on their Barrio Stage on Saturday, early evening. I was asked to play some holiday songs and share the stage with folks from Touchstone’s Christmas City Follies. Mercifully, it was relatively warm (~50 degrees). I set up with a mike and direct box, and started with We Are Welcomed and a Christmas tune. The Chamber of Commerce woman welcomed folks, I played a few more tunes (including Zat You, Santa Claus) and Touchstone’s cast did a short engagement with the folks gathered in the lower parking lot.

There were only a few kids in the crowd but lots of familiar community faces. I finished up with a short set of other holiday tunes, packed up and headed for my gig at Godfrey’s.


I signed up for a long day on Saturday after Thanksgiving. I figured if I could make it to the Godfrey’s gig with Craig and Dick, I’d be fine.

I picked up a Breakfast with Santa gig in Easton only a few days before the date, and, in spite of an initial hesitation, I decided to do it. It was in a posh venue, Bank Street Annex (banquet hall) , a few doors down from Center Circle. It was set up for families to have a fancy breakfast and then meet with Santa and Mrs. Claus. I believe the admission was fairly steep, and there were about 50 people and a wait staff on hand. I set up my small sound system about 10 am and started in when the doors opened.

I had my bag of instruments on hand, and, gradually, the kids came over and joined in. Eventually Santa came down the stairs, read The Night Before Christmas and posed with all the families. He was a pretty good Santa. I continued to play with the kids and it proved to be a good time. I seemed to add a nice dimension to the affair. I packed up and headed home.

We gather traditionally for our Steppin’ Out! reunion on the Friday after Thanksgiving. It’s usually a joyous occasion but this year we lost our steel player Chris Jones earlier in the week. There was some hesitancy to bag the gig, but it seemed appropriate to forge ahead and celebrate our brotherhood in music. It was a good thing to do.

We had been doing some rehearsals over the last month or so, and were working up some new material, including original songs by Hub and Jeff. Per usual, Reid came down from New Hampshire a day early so we could practice that morning and run the set I had put together. Amazingly, we were pretty tight and were prepared for the evening’s show.

There was close to a full house and the audience was quite supportive, and we played well. We started off with a solid set of our swing stuff, and then gradually worked our way through the new stuff. Jeff’s Children of Uvalde song was poignant, as was Hub’s new one Some Day. I screwed up the lyrics to Lose My Blues, but nailed Far From Me. Kris brought a new Tom Waits song Chocolate Jesus.

There were lots of old and familiar faces in the crowd, and it was a good session after the show, catching up with friends. I had the chance to talk with Linda, Chris’s wife, after the show and she said that she was glad that she decided to attend. I’m sure it was particularly hard for her, but I’m glad we connected at the end.

  1. Choo Choo Cha Boogie
  2. She Made Me Lose My Blues
  3. Your Mind is on Vacation
  4. Bloodshot Eyes
  5. Payday / How Can I Miss You
  6. Til There Was You
  7. Twenty-Four Robbers
  8. Chocolate Jesus
  9. Don’t Call Me Early
  10. Someday
  11. Children of Uvalde
  12. What My Woman Sees in Me
  13. Got What It Takes
  14. Far From Me
  15. Ooh, Baby Baby
  16. Old Cowhand
  17. Lessons From Pete
  18. Six Days on the Road

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.



It was our first attempt and it proved interesting, but successful. There were some friends from the old jam that showed up, good players and good friends.

The space is a little strange: a bar, high ceilings, bar TV, but the staff checked in during the launch and seemed supportive. The bartender turned out to be a Steppin’ Out! fan from long ago. It was a little hard for folks to hear one another, but I was in the middle so it was hard for me to judge. If it gets any bigger, it could be a problem.

It was simply a delight to be back amongst friends, spinning tunes and tales with each other. A nice variety of folk tunes, pop tunes, old rock and roll, songs in the key of “we”. I chimed in with an assortment of Hank, John Gorka and others that set the stage for a good session.

There was another event going on during the day with my good friends Jack Murray, Doug Ashby and others, but we held our own in our little niche at the bar. I look forward to more of these sessions in the hills of Macungie.


A new friend Mike Patrick invited me to take part in a John Prine Tribute at The Pattenburg House from 4 to 7 pm on Sunday afternoon, along with a string of other acoustic players. I jumped at the chance to go play for some new folks in NJ, and the trip to Asbury, NJ is a mere half hour away. My friends Joe Janci and Bill Ihling were signed up, so I would know a few folks.

I said I’d be a little late, since I had to do a Steppin’ Out! rehearsal earlier that afternoon (and after the Saucon Valley FM gig), so I got there about 45 minutes late. The host Mike Patrick was on stage when I arrived, and, unfortunately, I missed Joe and Bill. I regret not being able to support their sets.

Pattenburg House in Asbury, NJ

Bill said he was the sacrificial opener, but benefited from having a quiet, listening audience (before folks got liquored up). I got to absorb the situation while Mike was doing his set – take in the bar, the audience, Mike’s bar room talents. He’s obviously at home on this stage and with this audience though I still feel uncomfortable with players and their I-pads on stage. Even though, in situations like this where you might be covering relatively unfamiliar songs when the I-pad is useful, that device separates one from your main obligation to interact with the audience. Flipping through lyrics gets to me, luddite that I am.

Various other guys came up to cover John Prine’s great repertoire and it was great to hear the audience singing along with many of these songs. A very friendly and supported group of folks. John’s songs are truly American poetry of the finest kind.

Eventually, it was my turn to do the last set before everyone would come up and sing Paradise. I had only two Prine songs to offer – I didn’t want to do a new one cold – so I started with Frying Pan, a quick, bluegrassy tune with three verses, one I used to do with The Sheiks. I decided to follow with Far From Me, a rather heavy break-up song that I’ve been doing recently. I picked it up again after the breakup of my marriage eleven years ago, and it hits close to home and is easy to perform with heart. I could feel the audience react to the power of this song, and I was able to quiet the barroom with this song. That felt good.

I was allowed to do a couple more songs. I did Lessons from Pete, and screwed up the order of the 3rd and 4th verses (it’s always something…) but otherwise played it well. I then did Pay BoDiddley and invited one fellow who was up on stage earlier to play some lead acoustic guitar. He was a little confused (especially with a one chord song), but played well and gave me a little breather from the spotlight. I thanked folks and Mike for the opportunity to play in a new situation and got off stage.

The Paradise finale was scattered but spirited, as it should be. Afterwards, I chatted with some folks, including a fan of Live From Godfrey Daniels radio show. I remarked that I was surprised West Jersey folk had radios. I gave out a few Troubadour CDs, thanked the other players for their sets and headed back to the Lehigh Valley.

A good day of making music.

It’s my last farmers’ market of the season on Sunday in Hellertown. It was pretty chilly early on, with frost visible on the grass in front of me. For the first hour, my left hand was cold and I remarked that there was frost on the northside of my guitar, right where my fingers go. Still, I was glad to play this particular market over the summer. Play local, buy local.

From warmer times.

One of the nice things about this market are the familiar faces that stop by. The lady on her way to church, various folks from other FM’s, the vendors, and, most spectacularly, the kids running across the open lawn in front of me, eager to jam with me and dig into my bag of instruments. Cartwheels, spins, dances, big smiles, followed by the smiles of the moms and dads in tow. There are other folks who re-introduce themselves to me, and I often don’t recognize them until they fill me in on our old circumstances. Today, my friend Tom stopped by, and reminded me of his son Eric’s guitar lessons in the basement of Godfrey’s for many years. It was great to catch up with him. Another woman/teacher from Hopewell ES stopped by; Baby Shark was a feature at her wedding 20 years ago.

Lots of dollar tips today, gave away a few CDs to parents, and finally warmed up in the last hour. I’ll miss these extended practice sessions over the winter. I find them great opportunities to work on remembering the lyrics to my songs (gettin’ old…), trying out some hazier newer tunes, exercising my fingers and working on my social skills, as well. A lot goes on and I love being engaged publicly, and the time goes quickly.

I made the long haul to Madison on Friday on a spectacular fall day. The traffic up was light and I had a chance to land some Chinese food before the gig at 3 pm. I set up under the tree and launched in. Things were friendlier in Madison today, with a good flow of $1 tips. (One would hope for a few $5’s, considering the average New England wealth). Gradually, kids and families stopped by, and, half-way through I turned my chair around from the market to the open green where families gather on a Friday evening.

I have two bags now – one with rhythm instruments and the other with puppets, so I can sort of guide my way through a long 3 hour gig like this with a few aces up my sleeve. The up-close work with the individual kids is particularly rewarding, and I like to see the older folks watch the interactions with smiles. I’m giving away lots of kids CD’s these days, and that’s okay.

I struck up a conversation with the Bagel dude, and he gave me a half-dozen onion bagels for later. Good barter, as I gave him a Troubadour Cd.

The trip home was longer, with traffic heavy on a Friday night headed into New Haven. But, I enjoy my time listening to full CDs and left-wing podcasts. I am alone with my thoughts.

I got back around 10 pm, another 12 hours or so on the road for $100 and tips. Still, somehow, it’s worth the drive.