Tuesday, January 14, 2020


Folk City's 1st Village Voice ad featuring Carolyn Hester

Bob Dylan called Gerde’s “the preeminent Folk club in America.”

West 4th and Mercer was where America’s timeless songs were born and bred. 

Folk. Rock. Blues. Roots. 

Come celebrate ‘New York’s Center of Folk Music’
FOLK CITY's 60th year celebration of being the launch pad for thousands of Songwriters.

Link for ticket sales:

The seminal club hosted the first professional gig for a constellation of American Folk and Blues acts during the Washington Square Revival of the 1960s.

At the center of the action was Mike Porco, the enigmatic restauranteur and champion of struggling talent.

Gerde's Restaurant was an Italian eatery situated ‘off the beaten path’ East of Washington Square and MacDougal Street yet it became the unlikely epicenter of a musical movement.

Suze Rotolo, said that Gerde's was where "the cross-fertilization of different styles and musical eras forged important links in the chain of American musical history."

PERFORMING at The Iridium
January 24, 2020

Carolyn Hester
Rob Stoner
Willie Nile
James Maddock
Terre Roche
Richard Barone
Paul Metsa


Carolyn Hester's first album was produced by Norman Petty in 1957. She made her second album for Tradition Records, run by the Clancy Brothers, in 1960. 

Hester was one of many young Greenwich Village singers who rode the crest of the 1960s folk music wave, helping launch Gerde's Folk City in 1960. 

According to Don Heckman of the Los Angeles Times, Hester was "one of the originals—one of the small but determined gang of ragtag, early-'60s folk singers who cruised the coffee shops and campuses, from Harvard Yard to Bleecker Street, convinced that their music could help change the world." Hester, dubbed "The Texas Songbird," was politically active, spearheading the controversial boycott of the television program Hootenanny when Pete Seeger was blacklisted from it.

John H. Hammond signed Hester to Columbia Records in 1960. In 1961, Hester met Bob Dylan and invited him to play on her third album, her first on the Columbia label. Hammond, her producer, quickly signed Dylan to the label. Hester turned down the opportunity to join a folk trio with Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey. With Mary Travers, the trio found stardom as Peter, Paul, & Mary. Hester collaborated with Bill Lee and Bruce Langhorne, but she concentrated exclusively on traditional material.

In the 1980s she returned to recording and touring. She and Nanci Griffith performed Bob Dylan's "Boots of Spanish Leather" at Dylan's Thirtieth Anniversary Tribute Concert at Madison Square Garden in 1992.


Rob Stoner started his career backing up various artists in New York City. His work can be heard on Don McLean's classic "American Pie".
In 1973 he began a solo career that would eventually land him a contract with Epic Records in Nashville and later with MCA Records who released a critically acclaimed solo album, Patriotic Duty, in 1980Stoner also recorded an album of his original songs for Sun Records in the early 1980s.

In the summer of 1975 he was hired as bandleader, opening act and bass player in Bob Dylan's band. He played with Dylan during the Rolling Thunder Revue tour and on the Far East leg of Dylan's 1978 World Tour. His singing and playing is featured on many Bob Dylan recordings.
After quitting touring life with Dylan, he resumed his solo career. He is still active and giving guitar lessons in Rockland County, New York. He has played with such diverse artists as Chris Spedding, Link Wray, Robert Gordon, Chuck Berry, and Joni Mitchell.


The Roches (Maggie, Terre, and Suzzy Roche) were a vocal group of three songwriting Irish-American sisters from Park Ridge, New Jersey, United States, known for their "unusual" and "rich" harmonies, quirky lyrics, and casually comedic stage performances.
The Roches were active as performers and recording artists from the mid-1970s through 2017, at various times performing as a trio and in pairs.

In the late 1960s, eldest sister Maggie (October 26, 1951 – January 21, 2017) and middle sister Terre (pronounced "Terry", born April 10, 1953) dropped out of school to tour as a duo. Maggie wrote most of the songs, with Terre contributing to a few. The sisters got a break when Paul Simon brought them in as backup singers on his 1973 album There Goes Rhymin' Simon.They got his assistance (along with an appearance by The Oak Ridge Boys) on their only album as a duo, Seductive Reasoning (1975).

Reviewing Seductive Reasoning in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), Robert Christgau said, "Female singing duos must function as mutual support groups; last time a women's sensibility this assured, relaxed, and reflective made it to vinyl was Joy of Cooking. These folkies manque are a little flat here, a little arch there, but in general the shoe fits; no ideological feminism, but plenty of consciousness."
Later in the 1970s youngest sister Suzzy (rhymes with "fuzzy", born September 29, 1956) joined the group to form The Roches trio.

Around this time, they parlayed bartending jobs at famous Greenwich Village folk venue Gerde's Folk City into stage appearances, an experience they commemorated in their song, "Face Down at Folk City" (from Another World, 1985). It was here that they met many of their future singing and songwriting collaborators. Terre was now writing songs as well, and by the time of their first album as a trio, The Roches (1979), Suzzy had also begun writing. Robert Fripp produced the album. Maggie's "The Married Men" from this album was eventually to become the biggest hit of the songwriting trio — not for them, but for Phoebe Snow. After Snow and Linda Ronstadt performed the song in a duet on Saturday Night Live, the Roches were invited themselves to perform on the show a few months later in 1979 at the behest of Paul Simon. They did two songs, both unreleased at the time, "Bobby's Song" and "The Hallelujah Chorus".


Nile established residency at Kenny's Castaways, a Greenwich Village club, where he was discovered by New York Times music critic Robert Palmer who described Nile as "the most gifted songwriter to emerge from the New York folk scene in some while". This led to a meeting with Clive Davis and a record deal with Arista Records. He went into the studio with a band that included Jay Dee Daugherty from the Patti Smith Group.
Following the release of his debut album, Willie Nile, he joined The Who's 1980 summer tour.

Nile was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame in 2005.

In the fall of 2003, Nile was invited to share the stage at three concerts with the E Street Band, including the two final Giants Stadium shows as well as the two last shows of that particular tour at Shea Stadium.
In 2006, Nile released Streets of New York, which some may consider to be his best work to date, due to its production and songwriting. Former Time magazine music critic and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Jay Cocks writes of Streets of New York, "The tunes he writes and plays with such blowtorch vibrancy get the myth and magic and danger and sadness and love in this town--of this town--truer, and righter, than anything I've heard since Dion. This record is a head-twister and heart-wrencher. It's rock and roll at its best. It's New York at its best. And there's nothing better than that."



James Maddock, though British, is largely associated with the Americana music style and has performed with Bruce Springsteen. Maddock has since become a solo artist with several albums, including Sunrise on Avenue C (2009) which won the 2010/11 NY Music Award for 'Best Americana Album', and is currently a resident artist at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City.

A Rock and Roll lifer, James Maddock has been carving his unique path since the 1980s, when the British-born singer/songwriter kicked off his career with a raw, soulful voice, a storyteller's sense of narrative and the ability to blur the lines between folk, classic pop, and rock. 
Since those early days in London, he's ridden the wave of a music industry that's ebbed, flowed, peaked, and crashed. Maddock has stayed afloat throughout the entire ride, enjoying a brush with commercial success during the late 1990s before transforming himself into an independent solo artist during the decades that followed. Bruce Springsteen is a fan. So is David Letterman. Listening to Maddock's newest record, Insanity vs Humanity, it's easy to see the appeal.

Insanity vs Humanity returns Maddock to his politically-charged roots, bringing him full circle after a three-decade career. Recorded in the wake of the American election that sent Donald Trump to the White House, the new album finds Maddock — a New York City resident since the early 2000s — rallying against capitalism, dictators, and the suppression of equal rights. His songs have a soulful brand of rock & roll that nods to Neil Young, Sam Cooke, Roy Orbison, Bruce Hornsby, and Bill Withers. Maddock's lyrics have plenty of guitar firepower and piano punch. Gluing the mix together is his voice: a stunning instrument that's grown warm and weathered since his days in the U.K., without losing its poignancy.


Paul Metsa is a legendary musician and songwriter from Minnesota. Born on the Iron Range, he has been based in Minneapolis since 1978.

He has received seven Minnesota Music Awards and has played more than five thousand gigs, including forays to Iceland and Siberia.


Richard Barone is an American rock musician who first gained attention as frontman for the Bongos. He works as a songwriter, arranger, author, director, and record producer, releases albums as a solo artist, tours, and has created concert events at Carnegie HallHollywood BowlSXSW, and New York's Central Park. He serves on the Board of Governors for The Recording Academy (Grammys), the Board of Advisors for Anthology Film Archives, and is affiliated with the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University and The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music.

In March 2018, he began a monthly Village Nights salon series at the historic Washington Square Hotel in New York City. In April it was announced that Barone would host and curate Music + Revolution: Greenwich Village in the 1960s at City Parks Foundation's SummerStage in Central Park on August 12, 2018. Performers included Jesse Colin YoungMelanieJosé FelicianoMaria MuldaurJohn Sebastian, and a diverse roster of artists. 

Link for ticket sales:

Facebook event page:

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Porco podcast with Rico and Petrus

12.23.19 at the Washington Square Hotel Stephen Petrus- Author/Curator of art exhibit Folk City Richard Barone- Musician, Event guru Bob Porco- One-track mind There's very little intention to over edit this conversation. I'm thankful for the time Richard and Stephen shared. We plan to take a few seconds out of this clip to make a promo. Turns out I'm leaving it as is, for the most part....for now. It's experimental but we discussed the vital importance that the Gerde's Folk City 60th Anniversary party must be an absolutely, positively sold out show. BUY TICKETS A link from venue: https://www.theiridium.com/Events/Gerde%E2%80%99s-Folk-City-at-60/January-24th-2020 Link for ticket sales: https://www.ticketweb.com/event/gerdes-folk-city-at-60-iridium-tickets/10185365?pl=iridium&REFID=iridium Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/2411622555754753/ Blog post: https://folkcityatfifty.blogspot.com/2019/12/gerdes-folk-city-at-sixty-concert.html Come celebrate  The 60th Anniversary  For world renown cabaret  Gerde’s Folk City Folk City was the epicenter of the Washington Square Folk and Blues Revival It was known for being the first paying gig for a constellation of Folk and Rock legends. Gerde’s became the premiere showcase for America's most critically acclaimed singer-songwriters, Bluesmen and traditional Folk artists from around the Country. Folk City ultimately hosted acts as far and wide as Gospel matinees on Sunday in 1960 to Sonic Youth in the ‘80s.  Hear songs from the vast music catalog of Greenwich Village come to life. Our All Star house band will pay tribute to the anthems of American music history. Solo performances by Texas Songbird Carolyn Hester- Folk City’s first ever Act! Multi dimensional song craftsman James Maddock Terre Roche of the Folk Rock pioneers, The Roches Worldwide Mod Rocker Willie Nile Bandleader extraordinaire, Rolling And Rockin’ Rob Stoner The drummer is class act Konrad Meissner  Your show’s Hosts:  Richard Barone of The Bongos Original proprietor, Mike Porco’s grandson, Bob Porco

Sunday, December 8, 2019

FOLK. ROCK. BLUES. ROOTS - Folk City at 60

Don't think twice!
Buy a couple of tickets today.

Music lovers,

It’s that time of the century again!

New York City’s first “honest-to-God Folk Music Cabaret”** is celebrating another decade of making a difference in America. 

Gerde’s Folk City was the place where “the cross fertilization of musical eras and styles forged important links in the chain of American Music.” (I can’t say it better than Suze Rotolo!)

We’re offering a night of music, words and multi-media to commemorate the conversion of my grandfather’s Italian restaurant into one of the world’s most influential music venues EVER. 

In 1960, my dear friend Israel Goodman Young and Mike Porco made a handshake deal to create a “little club” by inviting America’s best traveling musicians to come in from the cold for an honest week’s work. 

In February of that year, Porco, Oscar Brand, Charlie Rothschild and Logan English invented what we now call THE OPEN MIC. 

The free Monday night Hootenanny was the deal breaker between Izzy and Mike. Word of this free stage show literally traveled across the Nation. Folk City went on to host The Village’s first “talent night” starring Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Simon and Garfunkel throughout the years. 

The thought of eventually getting hired for a week was every musician’s goal. 

And that’s how it all started. 

Sixty years later, Gerde’s Folk City still matters. I have the great honor to invite us all to get together again and cheer Mike Porco’s good name. 

The links to info and tickets are included here. 

Link to venue:

Ticket sales:

FaceBook event:

Our line up includes:
Carolyn Hester- Mike Porco’s first hire!
Rob Stoner
Terre Roche
James Maddock
Willie Nile

Bongo frontman Richard Barone and I are hosting. Join us!

Times Square is 45 blocks from the original Folk City but there’s a train that’ll get you there. 

Folk, Rock, Blues and Roots,


**That’s a quote from Dave Van Ronk.