November Thoughts of “Thanksgiving and Families Uniting”
(from the song by Chappell Holt)
“Rain pours down like streamers of silver,
or tinsel on Christmas trees soon to be seen,
in windows with holly and spray-on snow.
Thoughts of Thanksgiving and families uniting,
warm me this cold afternoon in November.”
October started out grand with our Anniversary New Moon Show at Chester’s Bay View Café in Berkeley. Joining us were special guests Debbie and Doug Wendt (pictured above). Debbie, pianist/singer noted for her French love songs, also sang (at Chappell’s request) her own charming composition, “Song for Doug.” The restaurant crowd also got an unexpected treat when John Roy Zat and Dorcas Moulton showed up to sing a couple of John’s love songs. The audience swooned. Rumor has it that some romances caught fire that night.
We joined with many performers and concert promoters at The FAR-West Conference in Irvine, CA, Oct. 18th through 22nd to celebrate “roots” music and its enduring relevance and vitality. We drove into town early the day before to showcase with other “out of towners” at the Firefly Bistro in Pasadena, hosted by Brad Colerick. It was a chance to meet several of the attendees, songwriters and performers like Dale Le Duke (with his great song “De Los Angeles”), Aireene Espiritu (tenor ukulele and a beautiful voice), Severin Browne (songwriter extraordinaire), and Britta Lee Shain (songwriter/comedienne).
FAR-West held official songwriter showcases in the Hyatt Regency Hotel’s Grand Ballroom in the evenings. But afterwards the upstairs hummed, rocked and swayed at the Private Guerilla Showcase (PGS) rooms on the third floor. The big highlight for us was the Mother Hen Promotions Song Circle. Performers joining us there were: Robert Morgan Fisher, Gary Stockdale, John M., Harry & Nancy Metsyanek (of Folding Mr. Lincoln), John Zipperer and others. Special thanks to Jeanette Lundgren of Mother Hen for providing this inspirational opportunity. It got us jazzed to write some new songs when we got back home. We also enjoyed having the chances to perform at the FAR-West New Voices Room (Gary & Kathy Lynch), Gates and Goodell’s “Simple Life Shack,” Chico Schwall’s “Cave of Wonders,” and the Suzanne Milsapps Memorial Coffeehouse in the Grand Ballroom among other locations. We volunteered as facilitators in some great seminars and especially enjoyed Chris Strachwitz (founder of Arhoolie Records).
We assisted John Roy Zat with the setup and hosting of his PGS room where John featured fine performances by L. K. Potts (who hails from our neck of the woods, Petaluma), Phil Christie (another transplanted Torontonian), and a full band, Moonshine, among others. We met so many good songwriter/performers, just too many to name. We’re talking a lot of high level quality acts here! Many thought the music was so good because the conference was put on close to music city Los Angeles.
Two major poetry and public speaking events were on Dave’s schedule last month. He presented a talk about Indigenous Peoples’ views of the controversial October holiday, Columbus Day: A Meditation on Our Common Humanity, on October 8th at the Café Arrivederci Salon in San Rafael (essay posted in examiner.com). He was also featured reader at the Poetry Hotel salon in San Francisco on October 28th performing such hit poems as “Hoop of the World,” and “Casino Halloween,” which was later read on the Indie Showcase Mom Hen's Corner Halloween radio show that week (Thanks, Jeanette!).
The month of October ended on a poignant and nostalgic note with the Rosalie Sorrels’ Raising the Roof Benefit Concert held at Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, CA. Rosalie, despite frail health, was able to perform her memorable songs, including two from her first 1967 album, “Up is a Nice Place to Be,” “If I Could Be the Rain,” (see photo insert). Long time music partners Mayne Smith, on dobro, and Mitch Greenhill, on guitar, accompanied her. Dave, who toured and recorded with Rosalie in the 70s, was reunited with her after several years. Several Bay Area music stars came out to shine for Rosalie with fine singing and playing, and Bay Area clown Wavy Gravy showed up to tell a story.