WFDU-FM’s TRADITIONS playlist and program notes for May 4, 2014

Playlist for May 4, 2014
HOST: Ron Olesko

When the show started, it was a rather windy and chilly spring day in Teaneck, New Jersey, and a little rain was also falling in the area. I’m not sure if it was the power of the music from my two guests, but shortly after we began the sun broke through and all seemed right with the world. It might be a coincidence, but I’d like to think that a good song can work miracles. Even if it cannot change the weather, it can change attitudes!

For today’s show, I invited two guests to come to our humble studio at WFDU-FM and share their songs. Each artist has a unique style, but both sing powerfully uplifting songs that will get you singing. I’m sure folks were singing along with their radios today.

During the first hour of the program, Zoe Mulford stopped by. Zoe is an American songwriter who moved to England in 2006 when her spouse began a working at the University of Manchester, but thanks to a one year sabbatical, Zoe is back in the states and living in her hometown in Pennsylvania, and U.S. audiences are having more opportunities to enjoy her music. She will be appearing at the Minstrel in Morristown, NJ, on May 16, and she dropped by the show to help promote the concert.

Zoe sings from the tradition. Her songs are anchored with solid stories and choruses that get everyone singing. I’ve enjoyed each of her four CDs, collectively showcasing different sides of her muses, an eclectic blend wrapped around her gorgeous voice. Her instruments are the banjo and guitar, and while today she shared her original songs, she has a talent for turning traditional songs into her own, and her version of Richard Thompson’s “52 Vincent Black Lightning,” performed on banjo, is perhaps my favorite rendition of the classic. Her current plans call for a return to England in 2015, so try to catch her if she is appearing in your area, or you will have to wait for annual and too short return visits to our shores. Her music deserves to be enjoyed by audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.

Marci Geller and Ron Olesko at WFDU-FM

Marci Geller and Ron Olesko at WFDU-FM

During the third hour of the program, Marci Geller joined me in the studio. Marci is a local singer-songwriter, but her music has been heard in soundtracks to numerous cable and broadcast TV shows. She was part of Lucky 13, a highly acclaimed acoustic duo with Cathy Kreger that disbanded in 2011. Since then, Marci has released her third solo CD and is currently hard at work on her fourth. Her appearance on the show coincides with the final days of a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project.

Crowdfunding, the process of having fans and interested parties donate cash to help the artist to fund their project, has become an important resource over the past few years, although the process can be traced to earlier times when artists would benefit from art patrons to provide resources to enable their projects. In our current state of affairs, an age of self-released recordings combined with record labels becoming less interested in providing support for upcoming artists, crowdfunding is a valuable practice. Not only does it help the artist, but the involvement of fans helps give feedback to the musician as to what works and what does not. With Kickstarter, the artist sets a goal and must raise the money in a certain amount of time. If they do not reach 100% of their goal, they get nothing. The artist provides incentives, such as autographed copies of the final project, t-shirts, private concerts, etc. The level of “premium” goes up with the level of donation. On her previous CD, Marci created an online video feed that allowed her “investors” to watch the recording sessions. She also uses the investors as a sounding board, finding what works and what doesn’t work among her fans. They even help decide on the title of the CD.

In addition to great live music and interesting discussions with both Zoe and Marci, I did squeeze in a number of outstanding new recordings that have come to us recently. Most notable is the new CD from Red Molly – “The Red Album”. Their latest effort features the trademark harmonies, gutsy songs and Americana spirit that have made the trio one of the most requested acts in contemporary folk music. I particularly love their take on other artists songs, and on this album they tackle Paul Simon’s “Homeward Bound” and Richard Thompson’s “52 Vincent Black Lightning”, the song where they found their band name, regardless of some myths that have sprung up around their choosing the sobriquet Red Molly.

Today’s show fell on the 44th anniversary of the shootings at Kent State. I played Magpie’s song “Kent”, written by Terry Leonino, who was present at the tragedy back in 1972. Terry and Greg Artzner would meet and formed the duo Magpie at a coffeehouse near the campus of Kent State

In addition, we honored what would have been Pete Seeger’s 95th birthday (May 3) by playing “Die Gedanken Sind Frei,” a German folksong that was banned by the Nazis and Pete later revived during the 1950s during his blacklisted period.

(Tune in to TRADITIONS every Sunday from 3 to 6pm Eastern Time over WFDU-FM 89.1 in the NYC/Northern New Jersey area, or on the web at On-demand streams of shows, including this one, are archived for two weeks HERE. A Sing Out! Radio Partner)

ARTIST Tune / Song

Theme: HARVEY REID ”Dirty Dish Rag”
Solo Guitar Sketchbook    Woodpecker Records –
PETE SEEGER ”Die Gedanken Sind Frei”
Pete Seeger      St. Clair – out of print

RED MOLLY ”Homeward Bound”
The Red Album      self –
RED MOLLY ”My Baby Loves”
The Red Album self –
RED MOLLY ”When It’s All Wrong”
The Red Album self –

live in the studio
live in the studio
ZOE MULFORD ”Sleeping in her Evening Gown”
Coyote Wings      Azalea City –
live in the studio
ZOE MULFORD ”Sister. Sail”
Coyote Wings      Azalea City –

HANNEKE CASSEL ”Dianne’s Waltz”
Dot the Dragon’s Eyes     self –

Give Light      Sliced Bread – ,

BROTHER SUN ”In the Name of Love”
Some Part of the Truth      self –
HOLLY NEAR ”Sing to Me the Dream”
And Still We Sing      self –

VANCE GILBERT ”Out the Way We Came In”
BaD Dog Buffet      self –
JOHN GORKA ”Procrastination Blues”
Bright Side of Down      Red House – ,
JOHN HAMMOND ”Jockey Full of Bourbon”
Timeless      Palmetto Records –

Meteors and Beating Hearts      self –
The Nocturne Diaries      Red House Records –

BUSKIN & BATTEAU with TOM RUSH ”One Month Crazier”
Click: Songs by Neale Eckstein & Friends      self –
GARNET ROGERS ”The Sweet Spot”
Summer’s End     Snow Goose –

MOLASSES CREEK ”Tennessee Stud”
Something Worth Having      self –

live in the studio      self –
live in the studio      self –
Open Book      self –
live in the studio      self –
live in the studio      self –
MARCI GELLER ”Little Light”
Open Book self –

Ron Olesko
1000 River Road
Teaneck, NJ 07666

About Ron Olesko

For over 40 years, Ron has been a radio programmer with WFDU-FM in Teaneck, New Jersey. He created WFDU-FM's TRADITIONS in 1980, a show that he continues to host and produce every Sunday afternoon from 3 to 6pm Eastern Time. He's the president of and booker for the Hurdy Gurdy Folk Music Club in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, and is a regular contributor to Sing Out! as well as the host of the Folk Music Notebook blog on this site. Ron can also be found emceeing concerts and festivals around the NYC/NJ area. A lifelong Mets fan and a rabid soccer geek, Ron is a Red Bull season ticket holder since their inception and will most likely be in his seat when not in the studio.

Comments are closed.