Tag Archives: Terri Thal

Blues great Paul Geremia sidelined by stroke

 

Paul Geremia's "Love My Stuff," issued in 2011, is a superb collection of many of his most familiar tunes in live performance.

Paul Geremia’s “Love My Stuff,” issued in 2011, is a superb collection of many of his most familiar tunes in live performance.

Acoustic blues musician Paul Geremia had a stroke in late June, family and friends confirm.

Geremia, who is 70, spent a few days a hospital after he had the stroke the weekend of June 28, and was moved to an Ohio rehab facility. Friends who have spoken with or visited Paul say he seems to be progressing well.

Geremia, a native of Providence, R.I., is a first-rate bluesman, a songwriter and a scholar of early jazz and blues — one who has worked steadily at his craft since the 1960s. He has produced 11 albums since 1968 and has toured steadily

He is an amazing guitarist and is considered one of the best country blues fingerpickers on six and twelve-string guitar — acoustic only, he doesn’t record on electric — a soaring harmonica-player, and has a husky soulful voice.

He’s shared the stage with Babe Stovall, Yank Rachel,Son House, Skip James, Howlin’ Wolf, and most importantly, Carolina bluesman Pink Anderson, who had something of a career rebirth thanks to Geremia’s efforts. Geremia also absorbed the music of Leadbelly, Percy Mayfield, Charlie Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Willie McTell, Scrapper Blackwell, Blind Blake, and many more. He also writes songs that fit neatly into that rich musical niche.

Blues musician Roy Bookbinder said recently, “Paul is the king of all of us.” The late Dave Van Ronk called Geremia “the best acoustic blues musician in America.” Acoustic Guitar magazine named Geremia “one of the best country blues fingerpickers ever.”

Terri Thal, who managed Van Ronk and Geremia in the 1960s, tells this story about Geremia:

“Recently, when Martus, the man I live with, and I went to the Turning Point in Piermont, N.Y., to hear Paul, as we do whenever he plays there, Martus asked, ‘Do you thing he’ll play anything new?’

“Of course, I didn’t know what Paul’s set would comprise. Lo and behold, the entire set was music we hadn’t heard before–or at least, for a long time–and we’ve heard Paul often.

“I think his memory is stashed with such a huge variety of songs and stories that he could go for many hours playing without repeating anything.”

Fans are encouraged to write to Geremia during his long recuperation. He’s reachable by email at  at paulgeremia@gmail.com or by post at:

Ohio Health and Rehabilitation
1087 Dennison Ave.
Columbus, OH 43201
Attn: Paul Geremia

 

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Dave Van Ronk gets his long overdue time in the spotlight

Terri Thal and Dave Van Ronk at their home at 190 Waverly Place in Greenwich Village, in August 1963 (Photo by Ann Charters, courtesy Terri Thal)

Terri Thal and Dave Van Ronk at their home at 190 Waverly Place in Greenwich Village, in August 1963 (Photo by Ann Charters, courtesy Terri Thal)

Moviemakers Joel and Ethan Coen have gone to great lengths to let us know that their new movie, “Inside Llewyn Davis,” is not about Greenwich Village folksinger Dave Van Ronk.

The movie, which has been making the rounds of film festivals throughout the year and started playing in major cities a couple of weeks ago, opens nationwide  this Friday.

LEARN MORE about the real Dave Van Ronk

Terri Thal (© Martus Granirer 2013)

Terri Thal (© Martus Granirer 2013)



Check out the interview with Terri Thal I wrote for The Journal News.  Thal, a Rockland County woman who was married to him during the period covered in the film, and don’t miss her first-person account for the Village Voice.  And read Van Ronk’s memoir, “The Mayor of MacDougal Street.”





Yes, Llewyn Davis, as played wonderfully by actor and talented singer Oscar Isaac, affects a Van Ronk look of sorts with his facial hair. And yes, many people, me included, took to calling the flick in early days the “Dave Van Ronk movie.” (That probably was before it had gotten a formal title.) Continue reading

Take a trip through time in Greenwich Village tonight

New documentary explores the rich history of the fabulous Greenwich Village folk music scene

Rockland County resident Terri Thal and other people in the film to appear for panel discussion at tonight’s 7:25 screening at Manhattan’s IFC Center

Happy New Year. We’ve been meaning to write, but we’ve been busy. But today we have some news we just had to share.

The documentary “Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation” has been quietly making the rounds of film festivals. Some of you probably have heard some word-of-mouth, got a chance to catch it at DOC NYC 2012 or at least have seen the trailer.

Terri Thal, right, with singer Terre Roche at the 2010 Gerdes Folk City Reunion. (Photos 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Terri Thal, right, with singer Terre Roche at the 2010 Gerdes Folk City Reunion. (Photos © 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

We’ve only seen the trailer. It’s hard to tell from the clips alone how well the feature-length film really tells the fascinating story of the unique cultural, political and geographical elements nurtured so much talent. But the rare footage and new interviews — among the subjects are Pete Seeger, Judy Collins, Kris Kristofferson, Tom Chapin, Lucy and Carly Simon, Oscar Brand, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Ian Tyson, Eric Andersen, Israel Horovitz, Jose Feliciano, Kenny White, Sonny Ochs, Sylvia Tyson, Pete FornataleHappy Traum and John Sebastian —  alone are surely worth the price of admission to anyone who’s interested in the time and place.

Sylvia Tyson at the 2010 Folk City Reunion.

Sylvia Tyson at the 2010 Folk City Reunion.

The film has begun a six-screenings-a-day run through next Thursday, Jan. 24, at IFC Center, 323 Sixth Avenue at West Third Street in Manhattan. Click here for schedule, ticketing and information about the theater. Tickets are $13.50 for adults, $9.50 for children and senior citizens, and $8.50 for IFC Center members.

But tonight only, at the 7:25 screening, some of the people you’ll see on screen

Happy Traum at the 2010 Folk City Reunion.

Happy Traum at the 2010 Folk City Reunion.

will appear in person to participate in a panel discussion. Musicians Traum, Doug Yeager and David Amram and radio personality Brand are scheduled to appear.

Terri Thal —  known in Rockland County as a longtime defender and protector of history and the environment as an officer  of the West Branch Conservation Association — who played an integral, nonperforming, role in the fertile musical scene.

Nick Katzman’s got the country blues

Nick Katzman

Nick Katzman

Terri Thal, a friend with impeccable musical taste — and who knows the Greenwich Village folk and blues scene of the Sixties through her personal involvement with some of the giants of the era — says there’s another show tomorrow night that’s not to be missed.

The artist in question is New York City-born country bluesman Nick Katzman. And judging from what I’ve read and heard, Terri is on the money.

Decisions, decisions! I can’t be in two places at once. But if I could be, I’d be in Piermont for Jon Pousette-Dart and at Brooklyn’s Good Coffee House to hear Katzman.

I’ll get out of the way and let Terri tell you the rest:

Nick Katzman is fantastic! A few years ago, friends said I had to hear him, so I went to his annual Brooklyn performance, figuring I would mumble nice phrases about him. I didn’t have to mumble anything — the guy was wonderful!

He’s gotten even better. His music has texture and depth. He studied with Reverend Gary Davis, Mississippi John Hurt, Mance Lipscomb and some younger musicians, and became a virtuoso guitarist and master of a lot of styles. Now, his mix of traditional blues, ragtime and his own songs takes me back to when folksingers played because they loved the music and listeners listened because we loved where the music took us.

Nick lives in Germany, where he plays concerts, festivals, clubs. Just completed a new CD. He’s in the US for a short while. When he performs, he’s joined by Thomasina Winslow, a young, also wonderful blues singer who lives in Albany and is building a large following there — for good reason.

If you miss this performance, you’ll have another chance to hear Nick when he comes back to the U.S. late in June or sometime in September for a special appearance in Rockland County.

Check out some mp3s of Nick and Thomasina here. Or watch them on video:

7 p.m. meet-the-artist, 8 p.m. peformance, Friday, May 1. At Good Coffee House, Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture, 53 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn;  (718) 768-2972. $15 for adults, $6 for children.