Voicings: Danny Gotham

Posted by on Mar 19, 2015 in Music, The Dancing Pen, Voicings | No Comments
Voicings: Danny Gotham

“Dangerous.” That’s how Danny Gotham describes performing live. And he should know, having been on stage with some of the best singers and musicians in the business. Gotham’s newest album is called “Repast” and it draws on many of those singers and musicians to create a generous feast of songs. I sat down with Danny recently to hear his […]

Poetry & Celtic Music at McIntyre’s Books

Posted by on Jan 5, 2015 in Dance, Music, The Dancing Pen, Writing | 4 Comments
Poetry & Celtic Music at McIntyre’s Books

Come to McIntyre’s Books for a reading by three outstanding local poets and enjoy live Celtic music and dance. This year’s kickoff reading sponsored by the North Carolina Poetry Society is sure to be 2015’s most lively literary event. January 25, 2015 at 1:45pm   David Manning David Manning is the author of eight books of poetry. Twice nominated […]

Gaelic Festival at Johnny’s

Posted by on Oct 1, 2014 in Dance, Music, The Dancing Pen | No Comments
Gaelic Festival at Johnny’s

Celebrate the Celtic New Year at Johnny’s in Carrboro on November 1, 2014. Gaelic Song Workshop It all starts around 5pm when Cape Breton stepdancer Stephanie Johnston holds a workshop on Gaelic songs. If you love group singing this will be a real treat. She’ll teach the words to several simple work songs. No previous […]

Mini Concert

Posted by on Mar 20, 2014 in Music, The Dancing Pen, Writing | 5 Comments

I sat down with Bill Leslie of WRAL to talk about traditional music and play a few tunes from my latest book. Alison and Gordon Arnold from Rip the Calico played along in the studio in Raleigh, NC. Bill Leslie is a terrific musician in his own right. He has a particular love of Scottish […]

Why I Irish Dance

Posted by on Mar 7, 2014 in Dance, Music, The Dancing Pen | One Comment

Alice Osborn is a dynamic poet, editor, and writing coach in Raleigh, North Carolina. What I recently learned is that she also has the Irish fiddle and dance bug. Bad. In my never-ending quest to understand why we dance, I reached out to her to find out just what it was that was drawing her […]

What I Learned from the Elves

Posted by on Feb 21, 2014 in Music, The Dancing Pen, Writing | No Comments
What I Learned from the Elves

When my sons were young I used to tell them stories on the drive to school. They especially liked to hear great adventures, and our tales quickly grew in complexity to include the more elaborate plots of Camelot and Robin Hood. I don’t know how it happened, but I found myself starting to tell them […]

Contra Dance & Book Release Party

Posted by on Jan 31, 2014 in Dance, Music, The Dancing Pen, Writing | One Comment

Calling by Louie Cromartie Music by Rip the Calico Location: Pleasant Green Community Center Date: March 23, 2014 Dance: 7-10pm Beginner Lesson: 6:30pm Admission: $10 Come celebrate the release of Tales from the Red Book of Tunes, the new book by author Tyler Johnson that takes you from a modern contra dance back to the murky […]

Spring Dance Romance 2013

Posted by on Apr 30, 2013 in Dance, Music, The Dancing Pen | 3 Comments

If you had special glasses you would see that as the dancers weave across the floor their souls entwine like vapor trails in the rafters. It makes a kind of spiritual soup with all of the burdens and joys in the dancers’ hearts intermingling like flavors: strong, sweet, and bitter. Whether it’s compost, the river […]

Ode to a Tenor Banjo

Posted by on Oct 10, 2012 in Music, Tenor Banjo, The Dancing Pen, Writing | 2 Comments

Here’s me reading “Ode to a Tenor Banjo” with Art Menius on WCHL. I did this interview with Catherine DeVine and poet Celisa Steele as part of the 2012 West End Poetry Festival. I think that banjo poetry is really on the rise now as an important sub-genre in contemporary literature, and I am proud […]

Banjo Heads

Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Music, Tenor Banjo, The Dancing Pen | No Comments

I play a Deering Maple Blossom tenor banjo. I love it, but it has a well-deserved reputation of being overly bright and powerful, owing to its bluegrass roots. I’ve struggled with this for years, with various articles of clothing stuck inside, mechanical muting gizmos attached, and playing techniques where I vary the head resonance by […]