Sunday, December 26, 2010

Matt Brown's Letter To Obama

In these days of pop AAA artists trying to pass themselves off as folk artists, it is refreshing to read thoughts of social consciousness from a contemporary musician.  Although there are many, they are graying and diminishing as time goes on. 
Enter Matt Brown, an old-time musician, producer and teacher residing in Pennsylvania.  If all goes as planned, Matt will be touring through the Northeast next November.

My Letter To Obama

by Matt Brown on Saturday, December 25, 2010 at 11:53pm

Mr. President,

My frustration with your Peace Prize Acceptance earlier this year is that you, of all people, are trying to outsource, or even worse, postpone, Peace. I understood your acceptance speech, and it Terrified me:

"We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth: We will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations -- acting individually or in concert -- will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified."


 Are you a priest, too, Mr. President?

The ONLY WAY TO GUARANTEE PEACE IN THE FUTURE IS TO START WITH THE PRESENT.   Say that out loud. The only way to guarantee peace then is to start now: in your heart, in your White home (the irony is not lost), and in your dealings with everyone you meet. Here's an exercise: Imagine that every word, every gesture that everyone makes is their way of saying "I love you," to you, to Michelle and the girls, and to all your citizens.  You will start seeing red everywhere. And red is the most potent, vivid color.  The color of Native Americans, of Blood, of LOVE.  Of course, we are, as a nation, so terrified that someone will try to kill anyone with a good idea (Jesus, MLK Jr. Ghandi, John Lennon, etc), that we surround our leading diplomat with Tall Mysterious Secret Agent Wire-Eared Types who are supposed to protect him from the next loony.  But I digress.  

I am finding, as I meditate, practice yoga, and extend my gratitude, love, and hope beyond the reaches of my corporeal form, that love is revealing itself to be pulsing vibrantly here, there, and everywhere.  Maybe it's your law training, or your current position as a diplomat, but I do not agree with your defeatist (?!?) perspective.  We WILL eradicate conflict in MY lifetime. I am doing the best I can in my life. I am not at war with anyone. I am daily doing Every Thing with Increasing Love.

  • Compassion compounds.  Ask the Dalai Lama if you aren't sure.

If We accept you at your word and Also believe that we won't see peace in our life times, than our Passivity will Prove you right.  ICK!!!!  And though I voted for, even campaigned for you because you talked a really good talk, I am going to Prove you Wrong.

  • we cannot outsource peace.

We can send jobs to China, we can send our children to Afghanistan, but we cannot send peace anywhere. We can only, should only, Be At Peace.  And that's the end of the story.  Being full of peace, being peace-ful, is to love every human as much as we love ourselves, and to let that love nourish ourselves AND each other. A smile begets a hug, a hug births a promise, and that promise opens the door to marriage, hope, and a whole new world.  Can you see it????? Because I can. I am breathing that future into my present this very moment.

  • Peace is internal, and will be Eternal

As a twenty six year old desiring to start a family, I am leery to bring a new child into a world where we are stil! killing each other left and right; a world where we send our young folks off to kill, then when they come home traumatized, we mostly ignore them.  We don't even Guarantee our Veterans the dignity of Food, Water, and Shelter, let alone the emotional and spiritual help that is necessary for forcing them to play Kevorkian on the citizens, young and old, of other nations.  We have multitudes of veterans from previous wars shivering out in the cold, seeking solace wherever they can find it, but they can never escape the trauma that they LIVED, so that "We, The People" wouldn't have to.  Well, We are living it out.  The fact that there is a Single homeless person in The Land of Opportunity is a complete embarrassment.  And many, All too many of the homeless are the surviving cannon fodder from some Monarch's war game, whether it be your current battles or those of Bush, Clinton, the burning Bush, Reagan, Carter, Nixon, Kennedy, can name the others, can't you?  Well, if not, it really doesn't matter so much.  What does matter, is this:

WE, the PEOPLE, Can Say "enough."  

We, the PEOPLE, Can Embrace the Truth that Each One of Us is Peaceful. If We Are All Peaceful, there will be no war.  It is that simple. 

BUT IF you, THE PRESIDENT, chose to Lead it, well, gosh, we could get there with startling velocity.  It would be the Lack of A Shot that Was Heard Around the World.  And it would happen before your girls get to college.  Imagine that.  What if your two little girls could go to college wherever in the world they desired, rather than feeling like they were nothing but potential victims for some horrid extortion plan?

I am praying for Peace on Earth. 

I am praying for Good Will Toward huMan(andWoMan)Kind.

I am PRAYING for A true Silent Night.  Like the one immortalized by Sam Broussard:

I see no reason to kill my brothers and sisters.  I see no reason to send my future babies to war, when they are eighteen, nineteen, or twenty.  Are you really comfortable with the thought of putting Your children in harm's way?  

Would you let Sasha and Maliah join the military???????????????

If I were their father, there WOULD BE NO QUESTION.

The Answer, MR. President, IS, WOULD BE, AND ALWAYS WAS:


Matt Brown

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Psssssssssssttt…WUMB-fm hired a local program manager in November

Dr. Strangelove: Of course, the whole point of a Doomsday Machine is lost, if you *keep* it a *secret*! Why didn't you tell the world, EH? 
Ambassador de Sadesky: It was to be announced at the Party Congress on Monday. As you know, the Premier loves surprises. 

No inference intended that "public" WUMB-fm is run as a Kubrickian war room, but why the need for secrecy?

According to his own Linked-In profile, Kim Grehn has been serving as the WUMB-fm “Local Program Manager” since November. 

Kim Grehn’s Experience
·         Local Program Manager
WUMB Radio
(Broadcast Media industry)
November 2010 — Present (2 months)
Responsible for managing and maintaining quality control of all aspects of the broadcast of local on-air programming and related material including staff, production and on-air promotions for WUMB Radio.

Visit My Blog:

NPR affiliate WUMB-fm, licensed to the the University of Massachusetts, Boston, has been operating without a program manager for over a year, since the departure of Brian Quinn, who had served in that capacity for over twenty years.   See Brian Quinn, WUMB program director, "laid off"dated November 9, 2009.

Mr. Grehn’s hiring was made public yesterday through the weekly online radio trade journal website "NorthEast Radio Watch".

*There's a new general manager at Boston's WBUR-FM (90.9), but Charlie Kravets is a familiar name in eastern MASSACHUSETTS broadcasting, where he spent the last two decades building New England Cable News from the ground up. Kravets was NECN's founding news director back in 1992, becoming the channel's president and general manager in 2008 before departing when Hearst sold its interest in NECN to Comcast. And he has deep ties to his WBUR predecessor: like Paul La Camera, Kravets has roots at WCVB (Channel 5), where he was the original producer of "Chronicle" and later assistant news director.
Kravets takes over the helm of WBUR on New Year's Day; La Camera will stick around as an ambassador for the station and as BU's administrator of public radio.
Meanwhile, WBUR has launched a new promotional campaign for the station; you can see one of the "UR BUR" TV spotshere, and you can read some pithy quotes from your friendly editor in a story about the ad campaign from Saturday's Boston Globe.
*Across town at WGBH (89.7), there's a new TV spinoff coming to radio. The Herald reports that January 8 will be the start date for a radio version of "America's Test Kitchen," which will air at 2 PM on Saturdays.
And completing the Boston public radio trifecta, there's a new program manager at WUMB-FM (91.9 Boston): Kim Grehn was VP of programming at Connecticut Public Radio until budget cuts eliminated that job last year.

Yet there has been absolutely no mention of this WUMB-fm management change in its own website, nor “Ripples” (formerly “Folk Ripples”, its monthly e-newsletter, nor has there been a posting for this position since Mr. Quinn’s departure two years ago.  WUMB’s jobs posting page reads
Below are a listing of current employment opportunities with WUMB radio:
Sorry - there are no jobs currently available

Neither is there any mention in WUMB-fm’s secretive friends-only Facebook friend page or its public fan page (which is rather inactive, the last post being 11/24/10) nor in the WUMB-fm watchdog page “Fans of Folk Radio WUMB”, whose motto is “we listen to WUMB so you don’t have to.”

Nor in the form of a press release.  And speaking of the press, where is the Boston media?  Is this posting a Boston-area exclusive?

Filling a senior management position at a public entity should be public news, so why the secrecy?

Stay tuned for developments.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

An Evening with Si Kahn and Friends to benefit the Nora Theatre Company’s Spring 2011 World Premiere Production of Silver Spoon

You Are Invited
An Evening with Si Kahn and Friends to
benefit the Nora Theatre Company’s Spring 2011
World Premiere Production of Silver Spoon
Against the backdrop of the grape boycott during the idealistic
days of the late 1960s, two young lovers fight for justice and
search for acceptance from their families, society, and each other.
Book by Amy Merrill, Music and Lyrics by Si Kahn
Sunday, December 12, 2010 / 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Central Square Theater
450 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge
Food, Drink and Camaraderie Provided
Si Kahn ~ Longtime activist and Songwriter
Amy Merrill ~ Playwright
Daniel Gidron ~ Director
Mary C. Huntington ~ Artistic Director
Cast Members of Silver Spoon
Contribution Levels
Concerned Citizen $50
• One (1) ticket to "An Evening with Si Kahn"
Protester $100
• One (1) ticket to "An Evening with Si Kahn"
• One (1) autographed copy of Si Kahn's CD or book
Community Organizer $250
• Two (2) tickets to "An Evening with Si Kahn"
• One (1) autographed copy of Si Kahn's CD or book
Field Coordinator $500
• Two (2) tickets to "An Evening with Si Kahn"
• Two (2) tickets to any performance of Silver Spoon
• One (1) autographed copy of Si Kahn's CD or book
Farmworker $1,000
• Two (2) tickets to "An Evening with Si Kahn"
• Two (2) tickets to any performance of Silver Spoon
• One (1) autographed copy of Si Kahn's CD and book
• A keepsake photograph of you & guests with producers
and select cast of Silver Spoon
Cesar Chavez $2,500
• Four (4) tickets to "An Evening with Si Kahn"
• Four (4) tickets to any performance of Silver Spoon
• A quarter page ad in Silver Spoon program booklet
• A Si Kahn concert in your home
Sponsorship entitles you to recognition in the Silver Spoon Production program.
Please reply to: Central Square Theater, attn: Emilie Kershaw,
450 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139
Questions: 617-576-9278 x208
“Hope hangs like fruit upon the tree
It calls to you and me
Love flourishes like grapes upon the vine
And ripens like the finest wine.”
From the song, “In California”
Silver Spoon

Si will be Jeff Boudreau's in-studio guest Tuesday, December 14, 7-8pm on WCUW, 91.3fm and streaming at  More information.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Decorated wreaths fund raiser for the Loring-Greenough House

The 250 year young Loring-Greenough House was and remains notloB Folk Concerts' first and favorite small venue.  Please read the following, perhaps you will become involved in this worthy fundraising activity.

Our next parlour concert at the Loring-Greenough House is Saturday, December 4, Julie Metcalf (ex-Folk Arts Quartet) & Mariel Vandersteel (Blue Moose and the Unbuttoned Zippers).  More at the notloB website & Facebook  fan page.

Loring-Greenough House
Loring-Greenough House  12 South Street
JamaicaPlain MA 02130  617-524-3158
Dear Friends,

For the past five years, members and friends of the Loring-Greenough House have decorated Wreaths as a major fund raiser for the preservation of this historic landmark.  We have been thrilled to see our designs on the doors and windows of the neighborhood.  An order form is attached.  If you have special requests, don’t hesitate to let us know.  We can weave special decorations into the design–let us know if you have something in your collection that you would like to see in your own wreath.

We are also always looking for new designers in this project and we always need help selling the Wreaths and paper whites on Saturdays from 10 to 4, and especially on Sundays from 12 to 3 from November 27 through December 19.  If you would like to join our group, please give Brigitte Henkes a call at 617-522-0713.  We will be working on the wreaths at the workshop in the Loring-Greenough Ell until use up all our supplies!

We hope to see you soon and wish you a very happy holiday!

LGH wreath makers 

Friday, November 26, 2010

notloB Folk Concerts is THANKFUL for....

being able to present, since #1, Sometymes Why way back on June 2, 2007, 72 and soon to be 73 concerts featuring some of the most wonderful acoustic musicians in the whole wide world!

Concert # Date Venue Artists
1 Saturday, June 02, 2007 LGH Sometymes Why
2 Saturday, June 09, 2007 LGH Mike & Ruthy Merenda w/ Torey Adler
3 Wednesday, June 20, 2007 LGH Sharon Lewis & Rose Polenzani
4 Friday, July 20, 2007 LGH Danielle Miraglia & Tom Bianchi w/ Brendan Hogan
5 Saturday, August 11, 2007 LGH Dave Carter Tribute - Adam Sweeney, Eric McDonald, Beth DeSombre, Ryan FitzSimmons, Dana Price & Chris Thompson
6 Saturday, August 18, 2007 LGH Geoff Bartley w/ Eliza Blue
7 Friday, September 21, 2007 LGH Brian Webb
8 Saturday, October 06, 2007 LGH Dennis Brennan w/ Mary Lou Ferrante
9 Saturday, October 20, 2007 LGH Teresa Storch & Lenore
10 Friday, November 02, 2007 LGH Rowan Brothers w/ Eric McDonald
11 Saturday, November 10, 2007 LGH Kristin Cifelli w/ Carrie Cheron
12 Saturday, November 17, 2007 LGH Mare Wakefield & Dan Gonzalez
13 Saturday, December 15, 2007 LGH Jud Caswell & Pat Wictor
14 Saturday, December 22, 2007 LGH Bob Franke
15 Saturday, January 19, 2008 LGH Jon Shain w/ Robin O'Herin
16 Saturday, February 09, 2008 DC Benefit for VFP: Chuck Williams, Beth DeSombre, Lenny Soloman Band, Michael Troy)
17 Friday, February 29, 2008 LGH Kristin Andreassen with Laura Cortese & Tristan Clarridge
18 Saturday, March 01, 2008 LGH Ryan Fitzsimmons & Greg Klyma
19 Saturday, March 15, 2008 LGH Lissa Schneckenburger Band (Matt Heaton on guitar, and Corey DiMario on double bass)
20 Saturday, March 22, 2008 LGH The Tornado Rider Band (Rushad Eggleston & Gabriel Cazes) w/ The Accident That Led Me to the World
21 Saturday, April 05, 2008 LGH Chris Merenda (Mammals) & Adam Sweeney
22 Saturday, April 19, 2008 LGH Hungrytown (Rebecca Hall & Ken Anderson) w/ Molly Pinto-Madigan
23 Saturday, May 17, 2008 LGH Alastair Moock
24 Friday, June 20, 2008 LGH Flynn
25 Saturday, June 28, 2008 LGH Mike & Ruthy Merenda & Lyn Hardy
26 Wednesday, August 13, 2008 JD Dave Carter Tribute - Chris Thompson, Beth DeSombre, Ryan Fitzsimmons &Eric Lee
27 Saturday, September 20, 2008 CHPC John Flynn & Greg Greenway
28 Saturday, November 01, 2008 CHPC The Folk Brothers
29 Saturday, November 15, 2008 CHPC Mary McCaslin & Geoff Bartley
30 Saturday, January 31, 2009 CHPC Sacred Shakers w/ Mark Brine
31 Saturday, February 28, 2009 CHPC The Hanneke Cassel Band, featuring Ari Friedman (cello) and Christopher Lewis (guitar); Fionnuala O'Donovan opens.
32 Saturday, March 28, 2009 CHPC Bob Franke & Martin Grosswendt
33 Saturday, April 11, 2009 PACC Broken Blossoms & Folk Arts Quartet
34 Saturday, April 25, 2009 Private The Bowmans
35 Saturday, May 09, 2009 PACC Joy Kills Sorrow & The Boston Boys
36 Saturday, May 16, 2009 JH Newton Celtic seisiún led by Sean Smith, featuring Katie McNally & Doug Lamey
37 Saturday, May 23, 2009 PACC FRFF "most wanted" showcase Abi Tapia and BMUZ
38 Friday, June 05, 2009 UCG Spider John Koerner w/ Elizabeth Butters
39 Friday, June 19, 2009 JH Brendan Hogan & Frank Morey
40 Friday, July 10, 2009 UCG Ungar Family Band
41 Friday, July 10, 2009 Private Stevie Coyle
42 Saturday, July 11, 2009 JH Mary Lou Ferrante & US Sam
43 Saturday, August 15, 2009 JH Tim Mason & Tom Begich
44 Friday, September 11, 2009 UCG Jonathan Byrd, Greg Klyma & Anthony DaCosta
45 Saturday, October 03, 2009 UCG Malinky w/ Matching Orange
46 Saturday, October 10, 2009 JH Mark Brine
47 Sunday, October 25, 2009 GHC Marylou Ferrante
48 Friday, November 06, 2009 UCG Lissa Schneckenburger Band w/ Ari and Mia Friedman
49 Saturday, November 21, 2009 JH Claudia Nygaard
50 Sunday, November 22, 2009 GHC Claudia Nygaard
51 Friday, December 04, 2009 UCG Jeremy Kittel Band (featuring Tristan Clarridge, Simon Chrisman and Bodek Janke)
52 Saturday, December 12, 2009 JH David Massengill
53 Sunday, December 13, 2009 GHC David Massengill
54 Friday, January 29, 2010 JH Jim Infantino
55 Thursday, February 25, 2010 GHC Sarah McQuaid
56 Saturday, February 27, 2010 UCG Tony Bird
57 Friday, March 12, 2010 UCG Red Hot Blacktop
58 Sunday, March 14, 2010 GHC Lucky 13
59 Sunday, April 11, 2010 JH Hannah Sanders and Liz Simmons
60 Saturday, April 17, 2010 LGH Tri
61 Saturday, May 01, 2010 UCG Tao Rodriguez-Seeger Band
62 Saturday, May 15, 2010 LGH Jim Hurst
63 Friday, June 04, 2010 UCG Long Time Courting
64 Friday, August 13, 2010 UCG Folk Arts Quartet
65 Wednesday, September 08, 2010 LGH Jenee Halstead & Robby Hecht
66 Friday, September 17, 2010 LGH Tashina Clarridge & Jefferson Hamer
67 Saturday, September 18, 2010 UCG Tornado Rider
68 Friday, October 01, 2010 UCG Andrew McKnight
69 Sunday, October 03, 2010 GHC Andrew McKnight
70 Wednesday, October 27, 2010 LGH David Rovics
71 Friday, November 05, 2010 UCG Guy Mendilow Band
72 Saturday, November 06, 2010 LGH Tony Bird
73 Saturday, December 04, 2010 LGH Julie Metcalf and Mariel Vandersteel

Venue Key:
CHPC Clarendon Hill Presbyterian Church, Somerville
DC Democracy Center, Cambridge
GHC notfarG House Concerts, Grafton
JD Johnny D's, Somerville
JH Jackson Homestead, Newton
LGH Loring-Greenough House, Jamaica Plain
PACC Park Avenue Congregational Church, Arlington
Private Private event
UCG Unity Church of God, Somerville

Thursday, November 18, 2010

An open letter to the Boston Music Awards Academy. Where's the folk?


File this away for consideration after this year's Boston Music Awards.  As a producer of traditional folk, bluegrass, old-time and Celtic live concerts, host/producer of an old-time program and host/producer of a traditional folk television program,  I am amazed at two things:

1.  Misunderstanding of the term "folk" music, confusing it with the contemporary pop acoustic music.
2.  The absence of traditional folk, bluegrass, old-time and Celtic categories.

May I suggest the academy reconsider the 2011 categories:

1.  Rename "folk" as "traditional or revival folk", and restricting nominations of contemporary singer-songwriters unless they are writing in that traditional manner.
2.  Adding categories for old-time, bluegrass and Celtic.
Respectfully submitted,

Jeff Boudreau
Producer, notloB Folk Concerts
Host/Producer, "In the Tradition" on Community Radio WCUW, Worcester
Host/Producer, "Blackstone Valley Folk, the Grafton Sessions", Grafton Community Television
Moderator, NEFolknRoots
The following is a post made to NEFolknRoots, a 550-member news and discussion group that you and all are welcome to join (it's free, just register), with copies sent to the Boston Bluegrass Union'sFolk Song Society of Greater Boston and officers of the Canadian-American Club of Boston.  I hope it inspires their members to become more actively involved in the 2011 nomination process.

The BMA's work is worthy, promoting the local live music scene and channeling monies raised at the awards ceremonies to music charities.  But with a focus on commercial and popular music, the BMA academy overlooks the vibrant traditional folk, old-time, Celtic, and bluegrass scenes.  View the nominees. 

And as far as the "folk" category, the 2010 nominees could be better described as contemporary singer-songwriters.  Compound this with the fact that several are duplicated in the singer-songwriter category.  Remember the words of Geoff Muldaur, "just because someone is standing on the stage with an acoustic guitar does not make him or her a folk artist."

Jim Kweskin and the Jug Band, photo credit Jim Corwin

Why are there no traditional folk, old-time, Celtic and bluegrass music categories and why is BMA perpetuating the public's confusion of singer-songwriter music as folk music?  It's too late for 2010, but if you are also perplexed, read the 2010 nomination process and suggest to the "Academy" that "folk" be redefined as "traditional folk", and add old-time, Celtic, and bluegrass categories.


Background information:

Website http://www.bostonmusicawards...
Contact Jake Brennan (Producer)
95 Morse St.
Norwood, MA 02062



Boston Music Awards FAQs

On December 5th, 2010 the 23rd Boston Music Awards will be held at the Liberty Hotel in Boston, MA with performances by DOM, Barry & The Remains, Jennie Dee & the Deelinquents, Mystery Roar, Kingsley Flood, Kon and many others.

Who is eligible for a Boston Music Award? A musician or producer who has strong ties to New England. We define strong ties as someone who is a New England native or has lived here for a substantial period of time who has actively worked or is actively working here. (John Mayer who went to Berklee for one year does not qualify).

The timeframe for consideration for this year's awards are November 1, 2009 - October 31, 2010.

What is the Mission of the Boston Music Awards? To bring together the music community of New England to honor its best and brightest performers while raising money for music charities to ensure our stages and studios are filled with talent for years to come. The event is the one time of year that the entire community can come together and celebrate our own. We also strive to generate regional and national exposure for nominated and winning artists.

Where does the money go? Since 2003, any proceeds from the event have gone to various music charities throughout New England. We have funded scholarships to Berklee, music education programs in schools, etc. Recently, we aligned with Music Drives Us, a non-profit that provides funding for music education programs For the past few years the money to put on the BMAs and fund our charitable efforts has been raised exclusively through sponsorship and partnerships. 

How are the nominees chosen? This year, we have revamped our nominating and voting to include over 150 active participants in all genres of the music community in New England. The Academy includes venue owners, booking agents, managers, writers/bloggers, DJs, program directors, music business owners, distributors, retailers, producers, publicists and others. We will continue to try to update and expand this list to ensure that it is truly representative of people who have their finger on the pulse of ALL music genres in Boston. The BMA office gets nomination requests throughout the year, which we pass on to the nominating committee.

Who votes for winners? Once the ballot is created, the Academy votes for the winners. The Academy vote counts for 2/3, while the online public vote counts 1/3.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

JULIE METCALF and Mariel Vandersteel

notloB Parlour Concerts is pleased to welcome back to the intimate Loring-Greenough House two of its alumna, JULIE METCALF (formerly of the Folk Arts Quartet, now with the Paper Star Trio, making her second notloB appearance) and MARIEL VANDERSTEEL (of Blue Moose and the Unbuttoned Zippers, her third notloB appearance).

Saturday, December 4 · 8:00pm - 10:30pm

Location Loring-Greenough House
12 South Street
Jamaica Plain, MA

Suggested donation $12 at the door; $10 if reservation is made at least 24 hours in advance and to Loring-Greenough museum members + $1 preservation fee that goes to the museum
Doors 7:30, Concert 8:00

Reservations: notlobreservations at gmail dot com

Artist's websites:
Official website:

~ notloB Folk Concerts is pleased to welcome back two alumna, Julie Metcalf (from the Folk Arts Quartet) and Mariel Vandersteel (from Blue Moose and the Unbuttoned Zippers).

leftFiddler JULIE METCALF began as a classical violinist in Worcester, MA. Coming from a family of musicians, she was encouraged to make music from an early age; Julie picked up the violin for the first time when she was 4 years old and has been playing ever since. When she was twelve, Julie discovered fiddle music and jazz through PBS and country radio, and began learning Celtic tunes on her own.

Julie studied classical violin at Boston University's College of Fine Arts. Recently, she has immersed herself in the study of both traditional folk and contemporary styles of music, including Celtic, Appalachian, bluegrass, jazz, and Latin music. She is a graduate of Berklee College of Music with a degree in Violin Performance. Julie plays viola in the Paper Star Trio, formerly the Folk Arts Quartet. The Paper Star Trio is a grooving chamber-folk string ensemble that plays contemporary arrangements of world fiddle music. She can also be spotted playing violin with Mariachi Palenque.

leftMARIEL VANDERSTEEL ~ Inspired by her summers spent studying traditional music in Ireland and across the united states, Mariel decided to study music in norway after graduating from Berklee. She is studying the hardingfele and Norwegian folk music at høgskolen i telemark rauland. While in Norway, she has performed at outdoor festivals and in the local elementary school where she taught children about American folk music.

Mariel has taught at alasdair fraser's sierra fiddle camp, has been an assistant teacher at fiddlekids, a San Francisco Bay Area fiddle camp for children, and has shared the stage with Alasdair Fraser, Laura Risk, Hanneke Cassel, Natalie Haas, Tristan and Tashina Clarridge, Nic Gareiss, André Brunet, and Philip Bailey of Earth Wind and Fire.

She currently lives in Norway and will return to Boston in 2010 where she will teach the fiddle and hardingfele and perform with Blue Moose and the Unbuttoned Zippers and the Paper Star Trio.

Coffee, tea and pastries will be available.

notloB Folk Concerts are volunteer run and not for profit. All interested in volunteering are encouraged to send an email to notlobreservations at gmail dot com

Reservations ~

Website ~

Facebook ~

Mail list ~

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Who is selecting WUMB's played artists and songs?

An interesting discussion has started on NEFolknRoots.  It is based on this observation/question:

UMB rumor

I'm wondering if this is fact or fiction: Pat is doing all the music programming now and won't let JL have anything to do with it, even though he's the "Music Director." You can say what you will about him; however, I couldn't think of a more unqualified person than Pat to fill this role. Word is that she makes every decision regarding playlist (somewhat explain the clunkers). I'm not sure how long this has been going on, or again, if in fact it is true.


Read the the original question and responses here (free registration is required).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

On the demise of folk, blues and classical on WGBH-fm. one year on.

Has it been one year already?  Time flies, and so are their executives' (note labor is working without a contract and management wants their union to make salary concessions), but WGBH-fm's ratings certain are not.
Jim Kweskin shared this observation early on:     "I can only assume this has something to do with the almighty dollar. Isn't this supposed to be public radio and aren't we the public. Folk music has been a mainstay on WGBH for as long as I can remember. Acoustic artists are as popular as ever and in some ways even more popular then in days gone by. I don't get it. WGBH should be ashamed of itself. Well, as Ma Joad said, "We're the people and you can't stop us and you can't lick us. We just keep coming, 'cause we're the people."
-Jim Kweskin, November 11, 2009.

In commemoration, we recommend you read this post from the Boston Music Intelligencer (a blog of classical music), in which Lee Eiseman writes scathingly of the format change at ‘GBH one year later:
“Accountability and transparency are two of our watchwords . . .” according to the WGBH website, except seemingly when management doesn’t like BMInt’s questions.
Within the last few days, according to sources I believe to be knowledgeable, WCRB station manager Jon Solins resigned (effective next month). He was one of the prime architects of the new All-Classical WCRB. On the WGBH radio side management just posted an opening for a new program director in order, according to an industry expert, to help that station improve its dismal performance in building listenership and differentiating itself from WBUR.
In their apparent quest for WBUR’s 400% higher audience share, WGBH radio has elected to duplicate WBUR’s NPR program during about 36 hours of every week. The FCC awarded WGBH radio its potent clear channel in order to serve a disadvantaged public. Since listeners can hear NPR on many outlets, is there any current justification for making such a claim to the FCC? This redundancy of programming also creates an unfortunate waste of resources — natural and financial. WGBH radio’s 100,000 watt transmitter (consuming about 40 kw per hour at the mains) also requires the emission of a rather large carbon footprint. About 200 lbs of coal equivalent per hour or 14 tons per month are burned for this duplication of services — not a very green enterprise.
The readers of The Boston Musical Intelligencer have responded to our coverage of the changes in classical music broadcasting in Boston like no other topic. It has generated much debate and many hits and comments. So as the anniversary of the changes approaches, we are revisiting the consequences of the move of classical music broadcasting from Boston’s powerful 100 kw WGBH radio to Lowell’s 27 kw coverage-challenged WCRB, eliminating clear reception to most of downtown Boston and to the south and east.  BMInt hopes that this article will foster useful discussion.
Has the change wrought new gains for the stations, brought fans flocking to the “revitalized” format?
So how is the WGBH radio strategy working nearly a year later? Average daily adult rating figures obtained from the marketing department of another radio station in Boston show that in the eleven months since the multi-million dollar changes, WCRB has lost one-third of its listeners while WGBH’s listenership has been flat. Of greater Boston’s average daily audience of 4,300,000, WGBH’s share hovers at 1% and WCRB’s has dropped from 3% to 2% — a loss of almost 40,000 daily listeners. The rival WBUR has retained its 4% share.
WGBH Audience Survey Reports show that 25% of respondents think classical programming on WCRB is dumbed-down, 25% think the programming is too demanding, 25% report that they are happy that classical broadcasting still exists in Boston and 25% complain about reception issues, according to sources whose veracity I respect.
But beyond statistics, redundancy and wastefulness, there are issues of content, coverage and finance that continue to nag.
Some months after the changes, the quality of WCRB programming has been improving from the perspective of former WGBH listeners even as one-third of the former WCRB listeners have abandoned the station (according to rating numbers). Yet there seem to be fewer live performances and fewer on-location recordings than on the former some-classical WGBH. Indeed, All-Classical WCRB is also seemingly resorting more often to re-broadcasting locally recorded music from its archives rather than offering newly produced programming, though we have not been able to get accurate statistics. Public broadcasting should support its local community, which WGBH formerly did so very well with its peripatetic recording engineers and luxe Fraser Performance Center, in support of Greater Boston’s vibrant classical music scene. We nevertheless remain hopeful that WCRB, when it can increase its signal coverage, boost its recordings of local artists and reduce its dependency on syndicated programming, will once again honor its local mission rather than functioning as a mere jukebox.
Not quite. At least part of the complaint is due to the problematic signal of WCRB — and the answer ‘GBH pencil pushers have arrived at involves buying another station, WPLM in Plymouth:
With that station out of the way and no longer requiring protection from interference, WCRB could increase power and change the antenna pattern to get more signal to the south and east in areas they no longer reach. Or alternatively it could simulcast WCRB on WPLM. The same industry analyst speculated that the reason for moving classical music to WCRB rather than news and public affairs was that classical listeners are much more generous than news listeners and would be much more likely to respond if a debt-ridden WGBH management came back to them with requests for contributions to buy yet another station. Radio stations are seen as bargains at this time, and classical listeners are seen as generous enablers.
Thus it should be no surprise that sources within WGBH tell me that in terms of donations, WCRB is the tail wagging the WGBH dog, maintaining that WCRB’s listener contributions are running four to five times higher than WGBH radio’s. WCRB’s spring fundraiser was evidently the best ever for a WGBH-owned radio station. What does that say for classical listeners as a breed?
The WGBH glossy Annual Report — which, it must be noted, is not an official filing document  —has a couple of interesting facts: 48% of revenues come from listener/viewer support, and 6% of all revenues go to support radio. That’s about $12 million of $200 million total revenue. Since nearly half of WGBH revenue comes from “viewers/listeners like [us],” we have a stake in what’s broadcast and we should make our voices heard, both in praise and criticism. The cautionary admonition to me from a WGBH director, “Gentlemen don’t criticize WGBH,” certainly raised journalistic hackles.
Hoo, boy! Where have we heard that before? It’s not our business how they spend money donated by listeners and fronted by the government? You might as well be requesting financial disclosure of the CIA.
Repeated calls and email requests to top management for fact-checking and responses for this article have met with “….we respectfully decline” to answer BMInt’s questions. It is therefore impossible, using financial statements available to the public to tease out official numbers pertaining to radio alone, let alone to compare expenses and donations between WCRB and WGBH. These numbers should not be treated as proprietary by a publicly supported entity, but rather as WGBH often says, “…shared with the world.”
Forced to make its own analysis of WGBH finances based on publicly available reports, BMInt’s troubling conclusion is that the WGBH Foundation had a $21 million loss in their fiscal year ending in August 2009 and doubled its payment of debt service from 3% to 5.8% of total expenses in the past two years. As per the 2009 IRS Form 990 reporting, and before additional debt was incurred for the purchase of WCRB, debt was 33% of net assets versus 0% for New York City’s WNET and .5% for Washington, DC’s WETA. BMInt’s spreadsheet [downloadable here] provides a detailed analysis of the situation at the WGBH Foundation with names redacted. The website Guidestar offers much more financial data than we are able to present here.
Meanwhile, WGBH’s organized labor is apparently working without a contract and management is reportedly asking for concessions even as the top twenty employees continue to get raises.
And as one R. C. Knox commented:
Whether its numbers are going up or down, CRB is irrelevant for those of us who live in parts of the city or greater Boston who cannot receive it. A year later, the essential point is that GBH, a so-called public radio station with a strong signal, no longer brings the public any classical music. The damage to the region’s cultural life is immense. There are many other good options for news and information. For most of us, there are no good alternatives to the high-quality classical music programming GBH used to provide. No one in the mainstream media has even told this story. It’s a shame that classical music listeners, who are more “generous” contributors, didn’t make a bigger stink. We’ve canceled our membership. If everyone stopped contributing — and that includes to CRB — the soulless suits who run the place might get the message.
And in a long, highly engaging comment, Romy the Cat ventured this:
I can give literally a thousand critical points of what WCRB does wrong (in my view) starting from retarded hyper-cheerful woman who spin con-bravura marches in major key at 6AM in a morning and ending with absolute contribution non-transparency. But the short point of those thousands and one complains is that somebody who runs WCRB does not really like or understand what they are doing. A year ago John Voci bravely brought himself to public as a front face of the new WCRB. I do not know if he truly “owns” WCRB or if he is just a well-oiled clerk in a large machinery of NPR lubrication. Regardless who he is, from the comment he made is was self-evident that he has nothing personally vested in classical music and no specific personal interests the station specialty. I am sure that if tomorrow somebody above him would decide to make WCRB dedicated to art of yodeling then Mr. Voci’s outlook would not be affected. Again, I do not know who is responsible for it but I know that I would like to see a person who is in charge of decision making for Boston classical musical station to have personal vested interest in classical music and in the using public broadcasting for advancement of classical music. You would never have a butcher who hate meet and you would never have a fat personal trainer. Why wouldn’t we permit the same in people who run out public radio. To love what you do — it is a too demanding requirement?
Comments?  For readers who use Facebook, a link to the Intelligencer's essay has been placed in WGBH radio's fan page.  And/or in the original Intelligencer article.