January 19, 2015 |
The grandfather of Philadelphia folk music is retiring from the radio. Ever since he took over Joel Dorn's slot on WHAT-FM in 1962, Gene Shay has been on the air in his hometown with his Sunday night folk-music show. But on Feb. 1, the DJ who grew up Ivan Shaner in Nicetown will close the book on The Folk Show with Gene Shay , which has aired on WXPN (88.5-FM) since 1995. To say Shay is a Philadelphia music-scene institution would be an understatement. The influential DJ, who got his start as an intern at Temple University station WRTI while a student in the 1950s, brought Bob Dylan to town for his first Philadelphia show at the Ethical Society in 1963.
August 23, 1991 |
How do you explain the enduring popularity of the Philadelphia Folk Festival, which moves into its third decade this weekend? "I've got a theory about the longevity of the Philadelphia Folk Festival and the loyalty of its audience," suggests the event's most visible founder and spokesman - folk DJ and festival emcee Gene Shay. "There's a high comfort level, because there are so many festival traditions. The first year you come, you get a good positive image and want to come back.
August 3, 2011 |
FOR SURE, there'll be some very familiar faces at the 50th annual Philadelphia Folk Festival, returning to the Old Pool Farm in Upper Salford Township in two weeks. Seasoned perennials such as Arlo Guthrie, Tom Rush, Tom Paxton and David Bromberg are among the guests coming back for the big birthday party, along with some of their rarely here contemporaries (Levon Helm, Jorma Kaukonen) and young turks of note like the Wood Brothers, Justin Townes Earle, Hoots & Hellmouth, Dan Bern and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue.
August 22, 1995 |
When the legions of pickers, strummers and acoustic music-makers descend on the Old Pool Farm near Schwenksville for the 34th Philadelphia Folk Festival on Friday, they'll find much comfort in familiarity. There will be performances by longtime festival vets Tom Rush, Janis Ian and Dave Van Ronk, and short-term festival vets Susan Werner and Joseph Parsons. The banjo, mandolin and guitar players will be out in force in the parking lots and camping areas, taking the folkie do-it-yourself ethic to heart.
August 20, 2016 |
When legendary radio DJ and Philadelphia Folk Festival co-founder Gene Shay retired from his post at WXPN's "The Folk Show" last year, aficionados of rural, rustic mountain music freaked out that their festival would go asunder. "Oh, I'll still be around," Shay said not long ago, he told me in May when I asked him if he'd be a part of this weekend's 55th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival. "You can't get rid of me that easily. " Shay will handle PFF 55's pre-stage patter, with an assist from fellow WXPN regulars David Dye , Helen Leicht and Kathy O'Connell . Joining their storied ranks is author, musician and recently-minted local Wesley Stace - the artist formerly known as John Wesley Harding - who will act as guest emcee throughout the campground's proceedings.
August 23, 1991 |
Year in, year out, you find many of the same souls schlepping out to the Old Pool Farm in Upper Salford township. They're all attending the Philadelphia Folk Festival - nowadays with their children and even grandchildren in tow - to listen to folk music under a burning sun and chilly moon, packed like lemmings into a makeshift, often muddy campsite. What's the motivation here - apart from their common love of contemporary and Celtic folk music, blues and bluegrass? Jonathan Takiff talks to Gene Shay, one of the festival's founders, and spotlights this 30th-year extravaganza.
March 5, 1993 |
Not everything's coming up green next weekend, so if Irish music doesn't shake your shillelagh, consider the Philadelphia Folksong Society's annual Spring Folk Festival, at Swarthmore College March 12 and 13. It's an event the whole family can attend. Folkies will see some familiar faces from past Folk Festivals. Scheduled to perform March 12 at 7:30 p.m. are Mike Cross, John Flynn, Magic Slim & the Teardrops and Norman & Nancy Blake. Gene Shay hosts the concert. The lineup of events March 13 includes a children's concert from 1 to 2 p.m., followed by a coffeehouse featuring some of the area's well-known performers and workshops.
February 22, 2013
1ERIC BURDON On "Til Your River Runs Dry" (ABKCO), this voice of authority still growls like an Animal but ruminates like a confident yet world-weary blues rocker. 2SONS OF ROGUE GALLERY Philly-spawned producer Hal Willner grew up listening to Gene Shay on WXPN (88.5 FM). He passes on the knowledge with "Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs and Chanteys" (Anti), his second double-disc of tunes recast with contemporary artists and offbeat arrangements. 3RON SEXSMITH He's a master of subtle understatement and mellifluous good taste, yet always wears heart and hurt on his sleeve.
May 10, 1991 |
Sophie Tucker, Totie Fields and Belle Barth, who frequently performed in Philadelphia, are united in the hereafter to share songs, memories and anecdotes in a new musical play. It's called Sophie, Totie and Belle and it opens Wednesday at Odette's Cabaret Theater, South River Road, New Hope. This "raunchy" production features Vikki True as Tucker, Penny Larsen as Fields and Joanne Bradley as Barth. Thomas Studer appears as the men in their lives. Sophie, Totie and Belle was written by Chicago playwright/author Joanne Koch and Albany, N.Y., college professor Sarah Blacher Cohen.
August 14, 2011 |
David Bromberg was born at St. Agnes Hospital in South Philadelphia, and before his family moved to New York, the dazzling guitarist, who will perform at the Philadelphia Folk Festival this weekend, spent the first few years of his life in either Chester or West Chester. "I know they're very different, but I can't remember which," says the 65-year-old singer and songwriter, who last month released Use Me , a genre-hopping roots-music album featuring Los Lobos, Vince Gill, Linda Ronstadt, and Levon Helm on Appleseed Recordings, which is based in one of the places Bromberg may be from.