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The Highest Hill of Hope
On 52nd Street
By Small And Small: Midnight To 4 a.m

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Stone Ridge Center for the Arts- Stone Ridge, New York

April 17th, 2004

    Beautiful summer-like spring day. Morning coffee at what used to be Le Gamin on MacDougall St. Now it's run by Brazilian girls. How bad can that be?! I linger and let my mind imagine the beaches of Rio. Everybody is out walking on this gorgeous day so I head over towards NoLita to kill time. One of my favorite daily stops in New York is the Housing Works bookstore on Crosby Street. I've spent many cold winter days there over a book and hot soup. They have an incredible selection of used & rare poetry and art books and cheap new hardbacks donated by the major publishers. They also now feature book readings and live music. Ron Sexsmith is playing tonight. Sorry to have to miss it. Do you know his beautiful song "Speaking With the Angels?"

    For lunch, I stop in at the take-out side of Cafe Habana on Elizabeth Street. It is run by Puerto Rican girls. How bad can that be?! Soft curves, fire escapes, rooftops in Spanish Harlem!

    At 2 o'clock I head up to Chelsea to meet Rebecca Martin to catch a ride upstate to the gig. She is mastering her new CD "People Behave Like Ballads" and it sounds great. She has really come into her own as an artist and writer. She was one half of the duo "Once Blue" with Jesse Harris prior to his Norah Jones notoriety.

    The show tonight is a songwriters-in-the-round format. Mostly these are my New York circle of songwriter brothers & sisters of mercy/Living Room/Sin-e/Fast Folk Cafe friends.

    I play "Richie", "Buddy Holly", "Nobody's Girl" and "Just My Imagination." Other performers are Rebecca Martin, Timothy Hill, Frank Tedesso, Rachel Loshak & Noe Venable.

    Timothy Hill is a true poet soul folksinger with jazz harmony running through his songs. One of my favorite songs of his is "Poet's Heart" which is available from a live CD of The Independence Project at the website by the same name. I recorded a CD with him as back-up guitarist which was one of my favorite sessions in that role. Recorded one winter day in Williamsburg with the band all together live in the studio, old school style.

    Rebecca Martin is our fearless leader. She has put together many gigs and tours for all of us supporting us emotionally and otherwise and still maintaining her own career. We are all in great debt to her.

    Frank Tedesso is our poet/guru/brother. He did an album a few years back for Windam Hill with a song called "Margaret" that'll break your heart in two. Just listening to Frank talk is as much fun as hearing him sing.

    A new face for me is Rachel Loshak. She's an English girl in New York. She accompanies herself on bass guitar and sings with a gorgeous bell-like tone. My favorite song of her's is called "China Doll."

    Another new face is Noe Venable from San Francisco. She's petite with long flowing blond hair and plays a beautiful Collings guitar that I covet. I love her song called "I'll Fly Away" (assuming that is the title.)

    The drive up, and back to the city, and the hanging out backstage is the funnest part of these gigs. Telling stories and catching up with everyone's trials and tribulations. My friend Sancho Panzer is here from Hamburg, Germany and all the pictures are taken by him. Big small world.

April 18th, 2004 - House Concert- Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

    Timothy Hill has offered up his apartment for tonight's event. The same line-up as last night's show minus Rachel who isn't feeeling well. It is as much a house party as it is a concert. I love this corner of the city. Overlooking the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, Tim was here long before the gentrification of this old world New York neighborhood. Lot's of good food, good friends and new faces. I love house concerts because it is so much looser and you get to mingle and talk with the audience afterwards. We all jump in to sing and play on each other's songs. I debut my 15 minute epic song "New York, New York" which is well received by this New York crowd. Everyone sings along with "Buddy Holly" and the room lifts off the ground for a few heavenly moments.

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