Saturday, October 20 2018 | 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm | NuFolk Night with the Honey Badgers | WaR3House 3, WH-3, 100 Park Ave, Swarthmore, PA 19081, USA
Friday, November 9 2018 | 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm | Live at the Listening Room | Germantown Espresso Bar, 26 Maplewood Mall, Philadelphia, PA 19144, USA
Saturday, November 17 2018 | 7:00 pm - 12:00 am | Folk Factory with Acoustic Blender |
Wednesday, January 9 2019 | 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm | Wilmo Wednesdays |
Friday, January 18 2019 | 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm | Hotel DuPont |
Thursday, April 11 2019 | 6:30 pm - 10:00 pm | First Acoustics House Concert | Flatbush - Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, NY, USA
|Bethlehem’s Tarima||Sad Patrick’s Guitars|
|“I first started combining vocals with percussion – vocussionism – in 2010, out of a feeling that I had more to say in a song than I could get out with just my voice alone. So I started with handclaps, finger snaps, and stomping in whatever shoes I was wearing.
One night the Open Mic where Sad Patrick and I met, Victor Puentes, a trumpet player, saw me do my vocussionism thing and suggested that I get a Tarima – sort of a platform drum – made. I’d never heard of a Tarima, but as he explained I became intrigued, and wanted to know more. He introduced me to his uncle Polo Ramirez, a carpenter, who offered to build one for me.
As we sat in his Polo’s drinking coffee and tea, discussing options and making plans, she started to take shape in my mind. We decided that she would be 2 by 3 feet – big enough for me to perform on yet small and light enough for me carry on SEPTA. I wanted the best for her, so I asked if she could be made with Mahogany. Polo explained that would be expensive and heavy. Expensive wasn’t in my budget, and heavy would have been restricting, so I asked Polo what other woods she could be made out of. He suggested poplar for the top, and pine for the sides. Poplar struck a chord with me, but I didn’t immediately know why.
The connection with poplar came when Terri “Night Owl” Lyons, a mentor and a lovely lady, was trying to help me reach a deeper feeling and higher sophistication with my music. “Baby it’s in you!” she’d say, “you just gotta be exposed to it”. She was talking about great jazz vocalists, namely Billie Holiday. “Strange Fruit… black bodies swinging in the southern breeze, strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees”. The connection was made, and I got chills.
And so I picked her up from her maker Polo Ramirez March 28, 2013 and we started our journey together. Her mother is a soap box people stood on in parks and on street corners to preach or deliver a fiery political message. Her grandmother came from Spain, where women danced the Flamenco on her from dusk to dawn. Her great-grandmother is the dockside auction block from which America sold some of my ancestors into slavery. Her tattoo is my name – Bethlehem – which I wrote on her and Polo carved in. She is the house of bread from which I feed people with my music. She’s had hundreds of shows and a few coats of shellac since then, and as we approach our 5th year together I couldn’t have asked for a better more appropriate, powerful and truer companion.”
|…||“The first guitar I ever bought – the one I learned to play on – is a Seagull S6. Seagull is a Canadian company that makes really nice guitars that I don’t think get enough love. When I was first learning I was convinced it was the hardest guitar in the world to play on, but over time I’ve realized that was just me and my fingers. The tone on that guitar is just great, and it gets better year after year. It’s become my camping guitar now, though when I want to double guitar in the studio I haul it out. It’s beat up front and back and I had to replace the neck when it got busted on a flight to England, so I can never sell it now. And I don’t think I would.
My main writing guitar is another Seagull, one of their folk cutaways. It has the same great action and great tone of the S6, plus electronics. It has a pickup and a microphone which I’m still not exactly sure how to blend right, even after owning it for 15 years. Some day. Regardless, it sounds great and feels great, and has never let me down. And I’m super glad I got something with a cutaway, because I use the higher neck a lot.
My main performing guitar is a Godin Kingpin 5th Avenue. I bought it at 8th Street Music when they were in downtown Philly. I fell in love with the color and the style, and had to have it. It has super smooth action, is light as hell, and sounds great. It has a floating bridge, so I have to be careful when I change strings, but by now it has a little indentation where the bridge sits, and I always take a picture of the setup before I start.
I picked up a ’50’s blonde Silvertone on Craigslist searching for a David Rawlings sound, and a Korean Epiphone in a thrift store in Jamaica Plain just because, and I play them occasionally, but love them as sculpture.”