Fl!p & Zeke Seattle Concert

Zeke and Fl!p are playing a rare Seattle house concert this coming Thursday evening, October 3rd, at our friends Dick & Karen Seymour’s home, up by the Woodland Park Zoo. We’d love to see you there!  Concert at 7PM, potluck starts at 5:30.. For all the details, look at our calendar, right beside this blog. Or call us at (360)671-4511

I realized recently that one of the things that makes me & Zeke compatible is that neither of us can stand background music. And that the quiet background  in our lives leaves room for everything to be a song cue. We live in a musical. Something happens; it reminds one or the other (or both of us) of song; we sing each other a snippet; and we chuckle and go on with our lives. The video above is a snippet that happened just that way.

There was an amazing lightning storm a few weeks ago. It sat over our neighborhood in Bellingham so intensely that it started several fires right in the ‘hood. There was a power line down in a road. Transformers were destroyed and power was out all over our side of town. Lots of sirens wailing. And zero time between brilliant flashes and deafening booms. LOTS of them! We had unplugged our computers, and the router was out, but my phone worked as an internet hotspot so I was able to keep in touch with my neighborhood. No one was injured, though some houses and trees had a hard time, and the Humane Society set up a system to help folks identify all the pets that wound up there.

But the SONGS! Bob Dylan’s “Chimes Of Freedom Flashing.” Steve Sellor’s “Against The Moon.” Both songs keep echoing in my mind even now. I’m trying to get them in good enough shape to bring to the concert. Songs can give us a solid place to stand to get a good look at changes in the world. Sometimes the best ones pick up new meanings as the world changes. I’ve sung Fred Small’s “Denmark 1943” for decades and gotten very relaxed with the intensity of the song. But these days I can’t get through it without tears about the changing world, though I’m getting closer again.

Zeke has newly written songs, old favorites, topical commentary, and some new instrumentals he’s excited about. Because of Zeke’s beloved Sousa marches, rags, and all the complex chords Zeke chooses as settings for his songs, I recently discovered that I can finally hear a Flat Six  chord coming, and often nail it. Swing tunes like the one above are less overwhelming than they used to be, and seem more possible.  I’m sixty nine, and still learning to play guitar!

We’d love to see you all. Call me if you need a personal invitation to the concert, or if you have any questions.

Beatles Sing-Along And Jam!


Saturday September 28, 2  – 5 PM, Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship at 1207 Ellsworth St, Bellingham, Washington 98225

We’ll get by with a little help from our friends this coming Saturday afternoon when we all sing and jam along on the best of the Beatles! Joyful songs to lift our spirits, great harmonies, dancing in the aisles… We’ll have the lyrics projected on a screen up front, above the band. Music stands will be set up down front with matching songbooks so the words and chords will be waiting for acoustic guitarists, uke players, harmonicas, whatever! Fl!p will bring her four Sgt Pepper outfits to share. Last year we had the Blue Meanies. What will YOU wear?

Orchestrating this party are the “Seatles” – who have led the Beatles Sing Along at Folklife for decades. Peter Langston, Robin McGillveray, Mark Ouelette, and John Reagan have learned the chords, the licks, the lyrics, the harmonies, so they can lead us in style! Fl!p will help us sing along with all our hearts. She dreamed up this project last year, and has been waiting all year to get to do it again.

Your donation of $15, $20 or more (or less if you just can’t swing it) goes to benefit the Bellingham Folk Festival (last weekend in January) and Bellingham Re-Evaluation Co-Counseling – tools to prevent burnout in activists.

Fl!p’s intention is that we SING! And it really doesn’t matter if we’re wrong, we’re right. Where we belong, we’re right where we belong. All together now!

Fall Concerts: Seattle, Lopez Island & Decatur Island

It looks like we’re going to have a busy October!

We get to play a house concert on Thursday October 3rd in Seattle, up near the zoo, at our friends Karen & Dick Seymour’s house. RSVP to me. Karen is busy this month with her glass art, which is spectacular!  www.seymourstainedglass.com.  I can’t remember the last time we played a Seattle concert; I think it’s been a while. Lots of new songs, and if we miss an old one you like, just ask. We’d love to see you there!

And just a few days later, we’ll be headed for Lopez Island in the San Juans. Kay & George Keeler are hosting us.

We will be leading a free sing-along for the Lopez weekly Wednesday Senior Luncheon on October 9th. Zeke and I have been running through songs dating from about 1800 through the 1940s, revisiting our favorites and thinking about which are easiest to sing along with.

The next evening, Thursday October 10, we’re playing a full-fledged concert at the Center Church. Songs and instrumentals. Traditional, Contemporary and Original Folk. I’m planning to take the Twangoleum along. We are having a good time thinking of what songs we should definitely sing. Like Zeke’s Noah’s Rabbits song, because the bunnies in that song originally came from the San Juan Islands back in the 1940s.

It’s still up in the air, but we might get to teach a workshop on Ergonomics For Musicians the next day. That’s one of my passions! How to play an F Chord Without Pain for the guitarists. How to practice for less time and still learn more. Sustainable musicianship.

We’ll go back to the islands in mid-November for a visit to the tiny Decatur Island school. The school kids from Shaw will be joining us. Last year we got to go out for Pi Day on March 14 because it’s 3.14. For the mathematicians among you, we toasted Euclid at 1:59 PM. Our host teacher, Joann Wester, had made pies with the kids the day before (weights, measures, kitchen chemistry, life skills). Along with the Shaw kids, teachers, parents and pies – real science ensued. A bunch of interesting round objects and string to measure with, ratios, and discussions of what to do next when results aren’t what you expect. And we offered Zeke’s Pi Day song, and a bunch of traditional American PlayParties for adults and children together. I can’t wait to play with all of them again!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SU2SpHgXZYs

We’re planning a trip to Oregon in March, and would love to play house concerts along the way if anyone would like to host. We may go all the way to Eugene!

Impromtu Birthday Concert In Bellingham


Tuesday August 27, 2019, 5:30 – 6:30 PM

Elizabeth Park Gazebo, Bellingham WA

I’m turning 69 on Tuesday. I used to throw a birthday concert every year for decades, until I got too caught up in caring for family members five years ago. I decided this morning that it could be fun to throw an impromptu mini-concert at the gazebo, and give myself the gift of friends and neighbors to sing with.  If there are enough of us, I’d love to lead a few Traditional American Playparties (simple singing and motion games). No PA, just everyone’s voices together. No seating unless you bring your own. Probably even no cake unless someone else shows up with one. No set up, no expenses, no logistics, no prep except running through some songs with Zeke today. But great sing-along songs, old and brand new. If nobody shows up, Zeke and I will sit around and sing with each other for half an hour or so, so no obligation either. We’ll bring the Celebrated Twangoleum as well as my Columbia guitar. We’ve been invited for dinner at 7:00 so this won’t be a long event. You’re all welcome!

Bad Boy

I learned this song from a Holy Model Rounders album. Peter Stampfel got it from an as-yet-un-named 1950s Girl Group (I’m still researching) and then added a bunch more verses. Carole King clearly heard the same song.  There’s sometimes a period in a young woman’s life when Bad Boys look awfully exciting, though the irresponsibility can wear out pretty quickly. Which can lead to the next song being “The Bald-Headed End Of A Broom.”  Bad Boy is descended from the great blues song Stagger Lee.  Alice Stuart taught me the guitar lick, bless her heart! And Zeke delightedly misbehaves in this recording as only he can. My favorite audience for this song is the little old ladies in senior residences, the ones with the reminiscent smiles… Thanks again to filmmakers Tom & Kelly!