Stay Close and Join Me on Patreon!

My Dear Friends and Musical Family,

I’m glad I waited to send this: I was going to announce months packed with gigs — My busiest year of performing yet, including great gigs in the northeast US, the Netherlands and France with Lovestruck Balladeers, a solo tour in the UK and Germany, and a Corn Potato String Band tour in Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina — and then the unthinkable happened. (That reminds me of a joke: How do you think the unthinkable? Scroll to the end for the punchline…)

First of all, I hope you are all staying safe and well during these strange times. I have my health and I have my house, but as you can imagine, my work is all gone. It will be hard for me to recoup the money I spent on plane tickets, not to mention the costs of making my new album, but I am doing the best I can with online lessons and personalized performances. If you or someone you know is interested, please contact me directly. If you’d like to order a copy of the new album visit Old Time Tiki Parlour.

Another fun option for supporting me is now available at Patreon — When you join me as a Patreon supporter you’ll continue to receive these newsletters PLUS special patrons-only content. For example, this month I posted an unreleased live recording of Joe Morley’s Banjotown with Kevin Celestia on piano, recorded live in the studio at WDET, Detroit’s public radio station. This is available to patrons only, and joining starts at only $3 a month, with additional benefits at each tier. Again, the link for joining me on Patreon is

So, now that’s out there. Thanks to everyone who suggested I do this. I hope you’ll join me on Patreon and help spread the word. In this email I still have a lot for you:

– Incredible press for “Mozart of the Banjo”
– New Lovestruck Balladeers album
– OpenIntro Sessions
– No gig announcements, but more on personalized concerts and online lessons
– Book report!

Press for “Mozart of the Banjo”
I’m overjoyed with the amount and quality of press attention my new project has been getting. Everything from a feature in The Bluegrass Situation to a segment in the local PBS show OneDetroit to making the cover of Banjo Newsletter (!!!) I could just quit and call it good at this point, all my PR dreams have come true. There are some more reviews and such but those three links are about the top. To say I’m chuffed would be a gross understatement.

New Lovestruck Balladeers Album
The album is now available for purchase both in physical form and as a download right here. Now is a great time to support artists who make their living primarily from performing, and this album has gotten some rave reviews as well, as can be seen on the band’s Facebook page.

OpenIntro Sessions
During the last Lovestruck Balladeers tour I had one afternoon off in Brooklyn and spent that time with my friend Jared Engel, with whom I’ve shared many a musical adventure, with little or no documentation. Well, he has started a video series on Instagram he’s callling OpenIntro Sessions that consist of bringing together two musician friends of his who have never met before, and seeing what the trio comes up with in a very short time. I had the pleasure of meeting the talented and convivial bassist and singer Jen Hodge, who had recently moved to NYC from her native Vancouver. The fruits of our efforts can be found here.

Personalized Concerts and Online Lessons
Some of my musician friends are doing live streaming concerts to make up for lost income from cancelled gigs. I “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” as the Temptations might say (Motown!), but I really don’t like those live streaming concerts. As a viewer I feel disconnected and as a performer I feel even more disconnected.

So my idea is to offer personalized online concerts via Skype or Facetime. This way feels like more of an exchange. The viewer can literally have a conversation with me. I won’t make as much money but that’s not the most important thing to me. I want to keep real connections alive as much as possible.

I operate these concerts like I do my lessons, with a sliding scale, so please don’t think it’s impossible. Contact me to set something up, either for you or as a gift to someone you know who may be experiencing physical isolation right now.

Book Report
I finally finished reading The Great Transformation, by Karen Armstrong. It’s a nonfiction history of religion covering India, China, Greece, and the Middle East, from around the 9th century BCE to the birth of Islam in the 7th century CE. Despite some apparent inaccuracies it was fascinating to learn about the beginnings of civilization and religion in different parts of the world and see what trends have lingered on and what’s been left behind.

In case you didn’t know this already, I’m a sucker for ancient stuff, and for broad generalizations. And I’m kind of into the spiritual and philosophical stuff, too, purely in layman’s terms. So if you’re like me then I would recommend this book!

Other reading material I would recommend — Get a subscription to the Banjo Newsletter! You can read a lot of it for free online but you just can’t beat the feeling of receiving a print copy in the mail once a month, flipping through it, smelling that newsprint and putting those fresh tabs up on your music stand to try out. Now I know some of you aren’t banjo players — YET — but the articles and interviews are pretty darn interesting regardless.

Join Me on Patreon
All right, you made it all the way to the end of another one of my long, rambling newsletters. Just in time for my final appeal for you to join me on Patreon — only $3 a month will grant you access to exclusive content and the invaluable sense of fulfillment that only comes from supporting the arts, or in this case, me, one artist. I have spent more than $3 on a single piece of pie that I ate in under a minute. This content here? You’ll enjoy it for at least three minutes, I promise…

Until next time my friends, please stay safe and healthy, and keep in touch. We are practicing what they call social distancing right now, but it doesn’t have to be social distancing. We have all this technology for staying connected, we only need to practice physical distancing. Stay close!


How do you think the unthinkable? With an itheberg, thilly! (That’s a Titanic joke with a lisp. Sorry, I know. The Titanic was supposed to be unsinkable but it was sunk by an iceberg…)