Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Turn your radio on!

Fall 2008 concerts, workshops and radio interviews:

* October 30, 7:30pm ~ radio ~ Peggy Seeger on WICN w/ Nick Nobel (90.5fm, streaming @

* October 30, 8pm ~ radio ~ David Massengill on WICN w/ Nick Nobel (90.5fm, streaming @

* October 30, 8:30pm ~ radio ~ Jack Hardy on WICN w/ Nick Nobel (90.5fm, streaming @

* November 1, 1pm ~ radio ~ The Folk Brothers on WMFO w/ Morgan Huke (91.5fm, streaming @

* November 1, 4pm ~ radio ~ The Folk Brothers on WGBH w/ Brad Paul (89.7fm, streaming @

* November 1, 8pm ~ concert ~ The Folk Brothers w/ very special guest, hosted by Naomi Arenberg ~ Clarendon Hill Presbyterian Church, Somerville

* November 2, 3pm ~ radio ~ Geoff Bartley on WATD’s The Eclectic Picnic w/Brian Edwards (95.9fm, streaming @

* November 11, 12-2pm (tbd) ~ radio ~ Mary McCaslin on WMBR w/ Eli Polonsky (88.1fm, streaming @

* November 14, 9am ~ radio ~ Mary McCaslin on WCUW w/ Troy Tyree (91.3fm, streaming @

* November 14, 4pm ~ radio ~ Geoff Bartley on WUMB w/ Dave Palmater (91.9fm, streaming at

* November 15, 4pm ~ radio ~ Mary McCaslin on WGBH w/ Brad Paul (89.7fm, streaming @

* November 15, 5pm ~ guitar workshop ~ Geoff Bartley ~ Nave Gallery, Somerville

* November 15, 8pm ~ concert ~ Mary McCaslin & Geoff Bartley, hosted by Dave Palmater ~ Clarendon Hill Presbyterian Church, Somerville

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Jack Who? Or the gang who couldn't shoot straight

Note: This topic is a work in progress. Due to the nature of its significance to the Boston-area folk community and the length of time it has been simmering, it is posted before all supporting information has been gathered. More background facts will be added, but for now the story of how WUMB has shown great callousness and disrespect for one of our most highly regarded folk artists just had to be published.

On Thursday, October 24 I had an interesting phone conversation with Pat Monteith, WUMB's general manager. I ended up speaking with her because the call intake volunteer could not answer my question about a web calendar event error. The November 1 concert, submitted on October 6 as "The Folk Brothers (Jack Hardy and David Massengill)" had been posted as "The Folk Brothers (featuring David Massengill)".

Our conversation boiled down to three points:

1. Jack Hardy, a founding member of Fast Folk and creative force behind at least 16 folk albums, who had been on the WUMB playlist, had been removed from the play list! The de-listing apparently occurred some time after September 25, the last time he was played

Music Log For WUMB Boston Thursday, September 25, 2008 .... 13:29:51, Jack Williams. He Will Break Your Heart ... 14:29:52, Jack Hardy. I Ought To Know ... - 94k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

(thanks to Dan Tappan for doing the research)

2. Music director John Laurenti does not make the playlist decisions, it is done by a "committee of four" (she was not specific who sits on the committee, but some members are on-air personalities).

3. An intern uses the playlist when reviewing calendar submissions and edits accordingly (deletes names or changes to "and more").

There are two issues at play:

1. The play list committee. If a founding member of Fast Folk can be de-listed, what guideline is WUMB management giving the committee? This speaks ill of WUMB having any semblance of honoring its folk station roots as it sinks into the world of AAA.

2. The management (and too often mis-management) of the dual "on air" and "community" calendars.

This is certainly not the first time WUMB has sabotaged one of my concert listings. I remember last December WUMB changed "Pat Wictor and Jud Caswell" to "Jud Caswell and more".

Posting these stories of disrespect out to NorthEastFolknRoots and HouseConcert has resulted in personal and public messages of support, and disgust with Ms. Montheith's policy.

If anyone wishes to take any action, here are five options:

1. Call WUMB - (617) 287-6900. Determine when the next "ask the manager" will air. Share the date/time here. Call in.

2. Call Pat Monteith at the number above or send email to

3. Call or email Kathleen Teehan, Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management

It's ironic that its mission statement still emphasizes serving the folk and roots community, I thought that had been scrubbed:

Serving radio listeners, particularly the folk and roots music audience, through WUMB-FM, the university's public radio station; and promoting WUMB-FM and its relationship to UMass Boston.

4. Contact/copy Chancellor J. Keith Motley, Ph.D.

Chancellor's Office
Quinn Administration, 03, 0054A
100 Morrissey Boulevard
Boston, MA 02125-3393
p. 617-287-6800

5. And since WUMB is operating outside the community interest, file a complaint with the FCC! > CGB > Filing a Complaint > Form 2000

Please be sure to remember Jack's de-listing when the time comes to renew your WUMB membership.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Is Sufjan Stevens the newest member of "Fast Folk"?

If you are unfamiliar with "Fast Folk", courtesy of wiki

"In December of 1977, singer/songwriter Carolyne Mas started a songwriter's night at The Cornelia Street Cafe in Greenwich Village, New York, after a less formal group started by singer/songwriter/Greenwich Village legend Jack Hardy lost it's spot at a local tavern called The English Pub. The group, which included artists like Jack Hardy, Carolyne Mas, David Massengill, Tom Intondi, Cliff Eberhardt, Michael Fracasso, Jeff Gold, and Rod MacDonald, gave writers a chance to perform for their peers, work on songs in front of an audience, and receive feedback from fellow songwriters. This group, sans some members, and with some new members added, eventually became known as the Songwriter's Exchange, recording an album on Stash Records which was released in 1980. The album was made possible due to the efforts of Robin Hirsch, one of the owners of The Cornelia Street Cafe, who single-handedly had turned the increasingly popular cafe into a hotbed of artists, musicians, poets, and writers. The Greenwich Village music scene was also booming at the time, receiving lots of media attention from major newspapers like The New York Times, which also helped fuel the popularity of the New York singer/songwriter scene in general. The Songwriter's Exchange eventually evolved, and under the guidance of Jack Hardy, the group formed a cooperative and took over the booking of Greenwich Village's SpeakEasy in 1981. The Co-oP, which was launched in February of 1982 , was later renamed Fast Folk, and gained status as a non-profit organization...."

Joan Anderman, pop music critic for the Boston Globe, in a recent article tipped me off about


Hipster Runoff is a side-splitting blog that spoofs alt-attitude, alt-fashion, and alt-lifestyle. Among the site's spot-on sendups: alt-syntax and alt-spelling, the obsession with crafting, and nonstop commentary about Justice and Girl Talk. Go to and you may even get the answer to this pressing question: "Are stepdad jeans the future?" - JOAN ANDERMAN

When I checked it out I spied this photo....

...imagine my surprise, it's remarkably similar to this one held by two "partners in crime."

Is Sufjan Stevens the newest member of "Fast Folk"?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The FOLK BROTHERS (David Massengill & Jack Hardy)


When two of America's best songwriters get together the result could be electric, but it is not. It is acoustic. Jack Hardy and David Massengill have known each other since they both moved to New York City in the mid-seventies, Jack from Colorado, David from Tennessee. The Boston Globe has said, "Jack Hardy is one of the most influential figures today in defining the American Folk Song." The same could be said of David Massengill. In this era of pop-driven acoustic music, these two have dual-handedly kept the folk tradition alive in songwriting.

Jack and David have shared many a stage together at clubs and festivals, been members of the weekly songwriters workshop since its inception, and worked on the Fast Folk Magazine together. They have traveled together, boulevardiered together, played softball together, had the occasional adult beverage together. And now they are forming a duo: The Folk Brothers. Move over Simon and Garfunkel and Don and Phil.

David brings the experience of six albums, nine bootlegs and nine books to the mix. Jack brings the experience of fifteen albums and eight plays to the mix. David's songs have been covered by such artists as Joan Baez, Dave Van Ronk, The Roches and Charlie King whereas Jack's songs have been covered by such artists as Steve Gillette & Cindy Mangsen, Lucy Kaplansky and Joel Rafael.

Their choice of material for this project draws from their own greatest hits such as David's "On the Road to Fairfax County," "Rider on an Orphan Train" and "My Name Joe" to Jacks' "Tinkers Coin," "I Ought to Know" and "The Zephyr" to covering songs of their friends such as Dave Van Ronk, Paul Siebel and Utah Philips, as well as covering traditional songs. David plays the mountain dulcimer (Dave Van Ronk said that "Massengill took the *dull* out of dulcimer") as well as guitar. Jack plays guitar as well as mandolin. They are also noted as being great tellers of tales while introducing their songs.

Their first album as a duo, Partners in Crime, was released in July, with transcendent harmonies, and a great mix of history, tradition, politics and irreverence. Rumor has it there is an alternate name for The Folk Brothers: "The Baloney Brothers," but we have been unable to confirm this rumor.

DATE: Saturday, November 1, 2008

TIME: 8:00pm

SUGGESTED DONATION: $15, $10 Tufts students with ID


VENUE: Clarendon Hill Presbyterian Church, 155 Powderhouse Blvd, Somerville, MA 02144



CHARITY: Through Clarendon Hill Presbyterian Church’s “Peace, Justice and Mission Committee”, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to RESPOND. Patrons may also bring items from RESPOND’s wish list. Patrons may also donate funds directly through RESPOND’s website -

RESPOND’s mission is to help women and their children create options for a safer life, free from domestic violence, and to further the efforts of the larger community to end domestic violence. At this time we seek to fulfill our mission by providing shelter, support, advocacy and education.