Happy September! Do you like detective work? Here's an assignment, should you choose to accept it.
First, if you will be in NYC and like to splurge on theater, "Moulin Rouge" is burning down the house everynight at the Al Hirschfeld Theater. I have a friend in the cast -- Danny Burstein -- who plays Henry Zigler, the MC. I personally hated the movie, partly because of that character -- but in true fashion, Danny finds the humanity, even in a guy like him, and leads the audience through an amazing musical and visual spectacle eight times a week. Catch it if you can, esp you songwriters. You'll be so inspired.
My segments for Folk Music Notebook are so well received that they are now being broadcast twice on folkmusicnotebook.com before my video starts to circulate. On Thursday night was this broadcast, but the video is such a better way to experience it because Grit Laskin, the subject, is a Canadian world-class luthier and you can see his instruments, not just hear us talk about them. And his Canadian +1 has a compelling story and in my book is as good now as Joni Mitchell was in her prime:
My new album, my "Best Of" (or "Best Stuff" as I like to think of it) is coming out on Tuesday. It's 20 songs, the physical CD is $20, but you can buy it on Tuesday (or pre-order it now) for $9.99 at iTunes. Either way, you'll want the liner notes, and you can get them instantly, now, for free. They are 130 pages long and contain not only the lyrics and stories about the songs, but also updates on the more than 50 musicians who appear on this album. One of them, Marty Laster, I worked with only once in 1983 (he's a violinist) and in tracking him down I found out that he died in 2016. He will be the subject of my next "One On One +1" that will air on folkmusicnotebook.com on Wednesday, September 11th at 9 PM and again at 2 AM on the 12th. His segment is longer than all the others -- 30 minutes -- I speak with his wife, Jackie Savage, who guides us through some of his amazing music. I'm sorry I only got to work with Marty once, but am so glad I get to introduce him to a new audience.
Here's a 5 minute video w/highlights from this new album: https://vimeo.com/352792106
The liner notes are a free download, available right now:
I spent a good part of this past summer working on them, and for those of you who've been following folk music for a long time, well, I think you'll get a lot out of these notes. I know a hundred years from now some folklorist will find them useful, but why wait?
Two more bits of news and then I must run out to buy a much better tape recorder for my "One On One" projects coming up.
In January 2018 I was contacted by a film company wanting to use a song I co-wrote with John Gorka, "Sensitive New Age Guys" in a film. At the time the film had no title, just a filmmaker: Noah Baumbach. As weeks went on names were announced as being in the film: Scarlett Johannson, Adam Driver, Alan Alda, Ray Liotta. Then Randy Newman signed on to score the film, then it got a title: MARRIAGE STORY. It opened on August 29th at the Venice Film Festival. It's scheduled to be in the Toronto Film Festival this month and then in October at the New York Film Festival. I've tried to find out if the song is actually in the film, but have had no luck. A free album to anyone who can find out if it is -- or isn't -- in the film. Normally music is the last thing to be added and the first thing to be cut. I've had so many disappointments in this business that I almost don't want to know the answer because I assume it won't be in it, and by not knowing at least I have hope.
If you or anyone you know will be going to the Toronto Film Festival, could you pass along the question? And if it IS in the film, could they film the closing credits so I will believe it?
So far it's gotten 100% positive reviews at RottenTomatoes, so I'm thrilled that the movie is so well received, even if our song is on the cutting room floor. What's that saying? They serve, even those who stand and wait. If cutting our song made the movie stronger, then we played a part. But I still hope it's in there, even if it just plays in the background, out of a transistor radio. Across an alleyway. In a building down the street.
My last bit of news -- I haven't been public about this but thought you might find it interesting -- on Tuesday I leave for a four-week residency at an artist colony. I plan to unplug from social media (though I will be doing email and reading the newspaper online). I've never had a time when I had nothing to do but write and focus on creative projects. It's in a beautiful area, in the woods, and I hope I don't miss NYC too much. There will be all kinds of artists there -- painters, writers, philosophers -- we have breakfast and dinner together, then are given a boxed lunch and no one is allowed to visit other residents between 9 AM - 4 PM -- we all have private work spaces.
I have never done anything like this before -- I applied back in November and found out in March that I was accepted. I'll let you know what it was like when my four weeks is done -- in case you've ever thought of applying for such a thing, I'll give you the skinny.
Happy Labor Day!
- Suzanne Vega, Tom Chapin, The Chapin Sisters, Josh White Jr, Michael Fracasso, David Roth, Bev Grant, Guy Davis, David Massengill, & Bethany Yarrow
- At 3 PM Eastern, the Woodstock Folk Festival, at 7:30 PM debut of concert that Don White and I didn't realize was filmed, at 9:30 a Zoom song swap with surprise guests AND a Pie Beauty Contest
- Listen to this A++ singer sing her brilliant a cappella song, "Wear A Mask" -- and please share --
- Join Don White and me in the chat room of a watch party for a show we did that was secretly filmed four years ago -- and yes, the secret filmmaker will be there, too --
- Tickets are only $10 -- I'm sure it will be a fascinating conversation
- The GVFF from 7 PM to 10 PM Eastern time LIVE on your screen tonight - FREE - https://www.facebook.com/GVFF2020/
- Two separate events -- for those celebrating at home -- For song swap the first 100 who show up get in.
- Let me know if you want to hear something I haven't done in a long time -- the show is 8 PM Eastern, under the umbrella of the Swallow Hill Music School of Denver
- All you need is a square cotton napkin, 16x16 or 20x20, or square paper napkin - all ages, all skill levels, beginners welcome
- Robbie Fairchild, star of Broadway's "An American In Paris," lifts his neighbors' spirits by performing a one-man show on his rooftop
- I toured 9 years with Don -- all his humor is based around being a father and now a Grandfather -- you DUDES will LOVE him today!
- I'm doing one song at 8 PM Eastern tonight and teaching how to fold a cloth napkin like Downton Abbey - p.s. from Neil deGrasse Tyson