This is a very special time for me right now as three years of work at the Appalachian Institute and with United Mine Workers of America have culminated in a very special project I call River, Rails or Road. The 18 track album is one that has evolved and has been shaped by my work and travels in my home state of West Virginia. And through it all, I had the interest of Jeff Sewald, a filmmaker who captured each chapter of this incredible journey. The accompanying film also traces my steps from my hometown…Read more
Music has been the one true, soul-uplifting, joyful constant in my lifetime. Everything I am and everything I have accomplished in my life I owe to music. My wife and our son? I met Janet in my teens at a New Year's Eve concert at the Stanley Theater.
My folks? My best childhood memories are associated with songs from those formative years, many of which we danced and sang along to, then.
My closest life-long friends? The ones I played music with, shared music with, or spent hours on end listening to music…
This was one of those weekends that makes me so grateful to be a musician. Pit, Jeff, and Chris, the guys in my band American Son played a stellar show at Frankie and George's on Friday. We were honored to be joined onstage by some of the finest musicians I know: Bob Beach, Andrea Pearl, Sarah Hayes, and Wil Kondrich. Those in the audience who were unable to perform included Rick Malis and "Sudden" Steve Binsberger. To my fans and friends who showed up to make the night even more special, including our…Read more
I had an incredible visit to Shaler Elementary School last week where I performed two shows for 350 students grades four thru six. The kids were really great and enjoyed the shows. Shaler Elementary is a great supporter of the arts, which as you know, is becoming increasingly rare these days, and they have an extensive river studies program for the kids. They take the students on walking tours at the trail along the Allegheny River and integrate many activities to accompany their studies about Pittsburgh's…Read more
I am proud to take part in tomorrow's Solidarity Day Rally in Waynesburg, PA. My songs have always documented and celebrated the trials and tribulations of the working class from which I came.
After I posted a free download of my new song Across the Tracks, which I wrote after a visit to Matewan, WV, my friend and bandmate Mike Mozena from Ohio sent me an email to explain their plight:
"Here in Ohio we state employees pay 10% of our salary toward our retirement, more than any other public or private…Read more
I discovered one of Pittsburgh's greatest treasures on Sunday, March 20th when I performed Steeltowns, Coalfields, and the Unbroken Circle at St. Nicholas Church in Millvale. Built by Croation steelworkers in the early 20th century, the church burned in 1921 and was rebuilt the following year. In 1937 the parish priest commissioned Croation artist, Maxo Vanka to paint the interior walls of the church. The resulting murals are a "must see" for those of us in Pittsburgh and beyond.
Among those who I must…Read more
Last Saturday I performed my program for the first time from the big stage. I'm very pleased with the way it went over. Though there was no dialogue during the show itself, many came to the table afterwards and expressed their appreciation. As has been the case with all of the non-profits who have invited me so far, Linus and the folks from Covenant of Life Fellowship in Washington, PA were incredibly gracious and appreciative hosts. This year's event was to celebrate Washington, PA's Bicentennial, though…Read more
Last night I performed for the folks at the Warrior Trail Association in Fordyce, PA, Greene County. I can't say enough about the civic minded individuals who keep this organization running. They were incredible hosts, providing a wonderful picnic dinner of local beef and deer burgers, salmon burgers, sides galore, and homemade berry pie. It was a joy to give my presentation in the Murdock schoolroom, a one room school building built in 1880. Some in attendance went to school there (one teacher, eight…Read more
What a great show in McKeesport this evening at the McKeesport Heritage Center in Renzi Park, 1862 Arboretum Drive. I met a lot of great folks, many of whom worked at the US National Tube Works, once a huge mill on the Monongahela River. It was obvious after my discussions with tonight's patrons that when the tube works closed some twenty odd years ago, it was the town of McKeesport's last gasp. The heritage center houses a huge model of the mill, as well as many artifacts and artwork depicting a busier…Read more