Some Older Postings

Stellar Gardens (December 2012)

Our friend, Jackson Nash, has an exciting project in the works at his home on Kauai. Check it out!

Crosby/Nash (April 2011)

Barry Ollman

The Crosby/Nash tour came through Denver and their Swallow Hill RootsFest show at the Paramount Theater will be talked about for years to come—they were fantastic! Graham, generous as ever, dedicated the entire show to our friend Harry Tuft, founder and proprietor of the Denver Folklore Center, which celebrates its 50th year in 2012. He also gave a shoutout to Nick and Helen Forster of eTown while introducing "Our House" and to our friends U.S. Congresswoman Diana Degette, her husband Lino and daughter Francesca along with all the teachers in the hall, before launching into "Teach Your Children". For the final encore of the evening, "Chicago," Graham shouted out "This one's for you, Barry!" What a guy...

I did get to spend a lot of time with Graham and David over that weekend and I'm happy to report that they are indeed best of friends, thrilled to be performing together and writing new music daily. They played a bunch of new songs for me and it's excellent work, relevant and powerful. As always, they both have many exciting projects in the works that I think you'll want to know about. Stay tuned. The day before the Paramount show they gave the closing address at the 63rd Annual Conference on World Affairs in Boulder to a very excited and inspired packed house at Macky Auditorium. Here's a little of what they had to say.

Zig vs. Zag... (April 2011)

I feel that many of the best things I've ever done have been the result of zigging as others zagged. Picking up my brother's guitar at age 8 and taking it seriously, quitting high school with a bunch of friends and starting our own, moving in to an ashram at 19, getting hired as a stock broker at EF Hutton the very week that the market hit its bottom in August of '82 and walking away from that business a couple of years before it all came unglued in 2008. Way back in the 80's, trying to build my various collections with a sense of purpose felt a little silly at times as well, but not so much anymore. Stuff like that...

Now as I consider the seismic changes that have taken place in the business of music, here I am finishing up my first album just as the very idea of an album seems to be fading away.

Don't ask me why, but once again, I like that.

After about 30 years of somehow feeling too inhibited to write my own songs (coinciding perfectly with my working years) the music started coming, the day after Barack's election to be precise, (see Blue Colorado). As various songs emerged I felt that certain themes and ideas were working their way through my system, things that matter to me.

Hope, aspiration, photography, painting, the act of writing, memory, serenity, loss, gratitude, time, love, greed, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan...

Over the coming months, I'm planning to offer you my latest batch of songs. I'll put them up for streaming or for download and ask you to feel free to share any that you like with your friends and loved ones.

You can share them with people you don't like as well. I don't mind. Particularly this first one, Banker's Holiday. Send it to directors of Goldman Sachs or Citibank or certain lawmakers. You never know, maybe it'll get stuck in their heads. I'm told it's kind of catchy...

Hello, friends...(June 2010)

Well, it's summer and I'm still working on those songs. I've written several new tunes that I feel really good about. I do seem to go pretty slowly when it comes to the recording process and I guess that's just the way it is for me. Dave Beegle and I are pretty picky with everything we do together in the studio and we have a nice sort of telepathy once we get going. When I try to capture a sound that I hear in my head or some elusive feeling that I feel for a piece of music, it's great to work with someone that I don't have to explain much to...

As soon as I feel these songs are ready for prime time, I'll put them up here for your listening pleasure.

I'd also like to thank my friend, the great pianist and accordionist, Radoslav Lorkovic for playing accordion on one of my latest songs, The Old Country. Rad passed through Denver a while back and I asked him to record on this particular track about certain childhood memories of mine, coming of age in the sixties in Milwaukee. If you've ever seen Rad perform, you know his music is uniquely emotional. The final mix isn't quite done yet but I love the feeling we caught in the studio that night! Coming soon...

I also want to thank my dear friends Liz Clark and Tessa Perry for their sweet harmonies on yet another song you can't hear yet! Soon... Love to you both and safe travels!

June 22, 2010

Guthrie Gathering... Denver, Colorado, July 30 and 31, 2010!

After 2 long years of hard work and brainstorming to create this event, my good friends at Swallow Hill and I have finally put together our own Woody Guthrie Festival subtitled "Weaving The Threads". (with special thanks to Scott Kinnamon for the original concept of "Weaving The Threads"!) We'll have two fine nights of music with Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion, Tao Rodriguez-Seeger of The Mammals and others, on Friday the 30th, and Jay Farrar, of Uncle Tupelo and Son Volt fame, along with other great acts, on Saturday the 31st.

Earlier that Saturday we'll have a fascinating symposium with presentations from the Woody Guthrie Foundation and Archives in New York. Another of Woody's granddaughters, (Sarah Lee is Arlo's daughter for those of you who haven't yet had the pleasure of seeing her perform...) the delightful Anna Canoni, and Archivist extraordinaire, Jorge Arevalo Mateus, will make presentations, as will I, with my "Collecting Woody" talk, all of which, taken together will help give a fuller understanding of Woody's vibrant role in today's world of thought and music. We've had serious help from Lisa Abendroth and her very inspiring Communications and Design students at Metropolitan State College of Denver, The Tattered Cover Bookstore, Twist & Shout Records, (Denver treasures, all!) and the upcoming Biennial of the Americas. A rare opportunity for those of you within reach of Denver...

2011 WoodyFest

This year's Woody Guthrie Festival in Okemah, OK, July 13-17, has a special opening night featuring an evening with Graham Nash and David Crosby, July 13, in Tulsa at the historic Cain's Ballroom, the home of Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys from 1935-1942. Judy and I had a tour of the facility a couple of years ago and that room has plenty of mojo. "WoodyFest" is the real deal among music festivals. Add it to your bucket list!

Did I See Ya' in Okemah?

The 13th Annual Woody Guthrie Free Folk Festival, aka WoodyFest, is now in the bag and my guess is that the thousands of people who traveled to Okemah, Oklahoma from all over the world to celebrate Woody's 98th birthday, had a blast. It's become a sort of pilgrimage for many musicians and fans alike. Musicians play for free and fans pay nothing, which sets a different sort of festival tone, right off the bat. This was my fourth WoodyFest and I can honestly say, it just gets better and better each year.

Ask anyone who's been there and you're likely to hear that on the last day they immediately start counting the weeks until next July. So what if it hit 107 this year? At least the humidity was high...

A special thanks to Deana and Bill McCloud, Shari Parks, Mary Jo Edgmon Guthrie, Dee Jones, Mike Nave and all the other amazing volunteer members of the Woody Guthrie Coalition. They work hard all year long and somehow when everyone piles into Okemah, they make it look easy. How do they do that?

I also want to mention that I had the opportunity to give my "Collecting Woody" presentation and this year I had a star studded audience which included Woody's beautiful sister Mary Jo Edgmon Guthrie, his charming sister-in-law Ann Guthrie, archivist at The Woody Guthrie Archives, Tiffany Colannino, Woody scholar Guy Logsdon and his wife, Okemah native Phyllis, extraordinary singer/songwriter and Woody collaborator Ellis Paul, and festival favorite Rad Lorkovic who did a stellar reading of an unpublished Woody composition, cutting through the darkness of my slide presentation with a borrowed miner's headlamp!

I felt a little like a musician who gets up on stage, looks out at the audience, and sees Dylan, McCartney and Prince looking up at him...