Wednesday, December 29, 2010

First Night Hazelton

The Homegrown String Band's last show of 2010 will be a Pennsylvanian New Years celebration. We will be performing 3 sets, (6:30, 8:15, & 10:00) at First Night Hazeton, alternating with Kabuki dancer Sachiyo Ito. Though this will be our last show of the year, it will also be a first  for the Homegrown String Band. Due to a previous engagement, our "Fiddle Fatale", Erica won't be making the trip with us. In her stead we have recruited our young friend and honorary "Homie" "Slim" Tim Hryvniak on bass and vocals. Tim has been playing with us on and off for the last year and is looking forward to his first road gig with the band. 

"First Night Hazelton is a community celebration of the New Year through the arts. It is an alcohol-free, public celebration that marks the passage from the old year to the new with art, ritual and festivity.
First Night revives the ancient traditions of marking the passage of time in a present day context. It was invented by a group of civic-minded artists in Boston as a meaningful alternative to traditional New Years Eve revelry. Offered to the city as a finale to its Bicentennial events in 1976, it was also the beginning of a new tradition that brought the neighboring communities together through a joint celebration.
The objective of First Night is to recapture the symbolic significance of the passage from the old year to the new; to unite the community through a shared cultural celebration; and to deepen and broaden the public's appreciation of the visual and performing arts."

2011 here we come! See ya next year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dig That Crazy Christmas

Happy winter solstice! Today is the darkest shortest day of the year, but we're about to turn a corner and brighter days are coming. Right? Till then "I'm crossin' my fingers and Praying' for Spring."

While I sit here listening to Brian Setzer doing his thing to the Christmas repertoire, I'm having a flashback to my days of slapping the ole doghouse bass with my good buddy Leon "Gizmo" Michaelson. It's been a while since our rockabilly band, The Flip City Rockers, hit the stage, but back in the late '90s and early '00s we had pretty cool little three piece combo that could really rock and swing. Anyway, I'm really enjoying this holiday album by Setzer with his big band, The Brian Setzer Orchestra. It's a very well done collection of classic and original tunes including, "White Christmas," "You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch," and "Santa's Got a Hot Rod." Come Christmas morning I'll be ready for the traditional playing of John Fahey's New Possibility, but the 13 tunes on "Dig That Crazy Christmas" are a good soundtrack for the excitement leading up to the big day.

Dig That Crazy Christmas CD

Dig That Crazy Christmas Mp3

Merry Christmas From
The Homegrown String Band

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dean's Beans Free Trade Coffee & Gifts For Christmas

I haven't written anything for a while and our next gig isn't till New Years Eve First Night Celebration in Hazelton, PA. So I thought I'd take the time to put in a plug for our friends at Dean's Beans in Orange, MA. Remember fresh coffee makes a great gift for Santa and all his helpers. Dean sells organically grown free trade coffee as well as some unique accessories and gift items, including these reusable shopping bags made from recycled coffee bean bags. The bags are hand made by a group of Somali refugees living in Springfield, MA. Dean's ships pretty quickly by UPS, so I'm sure there is still plenty of time to order before Christmas. We just received a box of Marrakesh Express organic free trade coffee beans from Dean's and the UPS driver commented on how he enjoyed the aroma of the freshly roasted beans while doing his route. Maybe a bag of beans will find it's way into his stocking.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sun Oven Christmas Special For Homegrown String Band Fans & Friends

Special Homegrown String Band Solar Oven Package
I just got an email from Paul at Global Sun Ovens. He read my latest blog post and would like to offer a special package deal to Homegrown String Band fans and friends. He was already running a "Be Prepared for Christmas" solar oven package sale, but he has sweetened the deal for you.

Package Includes :
1 GLOBAL SUN OVEN (Retail Price $299)
2 Stackable Black Covered Round 3-qt Pots (Retail Price $10.50 each)
1 Set of Two Loaf Pans (Retail Price $11.35)
1 Set of Two Cookie Sheet/Brownie Pans (Retail Price $12.85)
1 Water Pasteurization Indicator - WAPI (Retail Price $8.00)
Free Shipping within Continental U.S. (a $29.85 value)
A CD with over 80 SUN OVEN recipes, cooking tips, FAQs, written & video operating instructions, a video on how the SUN OVEN works and emergency preparedness tips.      
Save $83. Only $299, for everyone else, but only $274 for you!

If you order by phone at (800) 408-7919 or on line at and use the discount code: String Band, Paul will take another $25 of the package price. $274 for the entire set, the combined savings is $108, which is an outstanding value.

When you order a solar oven from Sun Ovens International, you are not only helping yourself, you are helping raise the standard of living and improve the environment in third world countries around the world.

"Sun Ovens International is involved in solar cooking programs around the world. We are committed to decreasing the developing world's dependence on fuel wood and dung as the primary cooking fuels. This benefits the environment, raises the standard of living, and improves the health of the poor worldwide. Sun Ovens purchased in the US help to fund our work around the world."

This special offer is good till December 30, 2010

Solar Cooking in NY's Dark Days of December

When we were shopping for a solar oven last spring we finally settled on the Global Sun Oven. So far we have been very happy with it. It is very well made—the double walled construction (metal interior  and outer wall of plastic) seems to do a good job of retaining heat. During the warm spring and summer months the oven routinely reached temperatures of 350 degrees. Now that the days are getting shorter (dark by 4:30pm), and the sun angle is more acute, it is maxing out around 250 degrees. During the summer the effective cooking hours stretched from around 9am to 5pm, now we're down to about four hours of useful sunlight form around 10am to 2pm. The trees have lost their leaves, but with the lower angle of the sun we are still chasing the sunlight around the yard. In the summer the light would be blocked by the leafy canopy of trees, now it is blocked by tree trunks and neighboring houses. Today was a nice sunny day around 40 degrees, we baked an apple coffee cake. It will be interesting to see how the oven performs as the temperatures drop and the days get shorter. I think it would be pretty cool to wade out through the snow and pull out a steamy roast chicken.

Photo by Rick Jackofsky

Monday, November 15, 2010

Homegrown String Band & Homegrown Two

  I've been playing music most of my life. Over the years I have performed in dozens of blues, rock, jazz, and country bands.  The only band I've been a part of that has lasted more than two or three years has been the family band, The Homegrown String Band. Over the past fourteen years we have performed somewhere around 800 shows. Though our first public performance was January 1997, the band goes back a few years earlier to the early 1990s. It's hard to pinpoint exactly when the family became a band, was it when Erica started to play violin in 1993 at the tender age of nine? Or was it when Erica, Georgianne, and I first sat down and played as a trio? I think the genesis of The Homegrown String Band was when I gave Georgianne a mountain dulcimer as a fifteenth wedding anniversary gift in 1994. Georgianne and I worked out a small repertoire as a duo and soon Erica and Annalee were joining in on fiddle and jaw harp. Now, nearly two decades later, we are still having fun making music together as "The Family That Plays Together." I guess the family that plays together really does stay together! In a testament to our resiliency and longevity we were recently mentioned, along with The Scruggs Family, The Del McCoury Band, and  Cherryholmes, as examples of families carrying on the tradition of making folk music together in Stephanie Ledgin's book Discovering Folk Music. We're bona fide!

   This week we will not only be performing as a family (in the Belcher Auditorium at the Ridgewood, NJ Library Sunday, November 21 at 3pm), Georgianne and I will also be getting back two our roots; performing as the duo Homegrown Two, at The Folk Music Cafe at the Mountain Side Library in Mountainside, NJ. on Thursday, November 18th at 7pm. If you are in the NJ, PA, NY area try and catch one or both of our shows. If you are a performer who would like to share the bill with us come on down to The Thursday night show at the Mountainside Library Folk music cafe where there will be an open mic between our two sets.

Homegrown Two Photo by Steve Gravano

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Oysters for Breakfast

We serenaded the early lunch crowd today on the main stage at the 27th Annual Oyster Festival in Oyster Bay, NY. It was windy and cool down on the water front, but downright pleasant compared to the cold, wet, windy conditions last year. I never realized how big this festival was or is. The crowds number upwards of 100,000 each day—nearly a quarter million over the weekend! The music is great (excellent sound—kudos to entertainment director Tim Wright) and lots of delicious food, crafts, and activities going on all day. Try and make it down tomorrow (Sunday, October 17) looks like it's gonna be a great fall day! The Homegrown String Band will be opening the festival with an 11am set, so I guess it'll be oysters for breakfast tomorrow!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Walter Tore's Spontobeat

Spontaneous Performance Art Created With a Sonic Palette of Mostly Blues

Walter Tore has been paying his dues, performing great American roots music and traveling the highways and byways of the universe, for the past four decades. His music has taken him across oceans as well as cultural divides. The list of Mr Tore's mentors includes Louisiana Red, Champion Jack Dupree, Lightning Hopkins, and Wilbert Harrison. Walter has learned his lessons well; his music and words flow freely from his soul into the ears and hearts of his audience. Walter began his musical journey as a self taught harmonica player sitting in with blues greats at various NYC venues. Later on, he taught himself to play guitar and fronted his own American roots music band. Over the years his band has included musical luminaries such as ex-Zappa drummer Jimmy Carl Black and Bob Dylan sideman/guitarist Charlie Sexton. For the past six years Walter has been performing and recording spontaneously created music as a one man band. He calls his music Spontobeat and claims to have performed over one million songs. As of this writing you can visit his Sound Click site and listen to or download 2,355 of them.

Walter Tore Performs Catch & Release American Roots Music 

Spontobeat is a one man show. As a one man band Walter simultaneously plays guitar, harmonica, drums, and keyboards all the while snatching songs from the air, bringing them to life, and immediately releasing them back to the cosmos from whence they came. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

2010 Hudson Valley Garlic Festival

This weekend we will be doing six sets, three each on Saturday and Sunday, at The Hudson Valley Garlic Festival. We (The Homegrown String Band) look forward to this festival all year! Everything about it (music, food, crafts) is first rate. It is also very professionally run by a great group of enthusiastic  garlic lovers. This year I'm planning on getting enough seed garlic for about a hundred plants. Last year I planted sixty and it looks like we will run out of the stinking rose around Christmas. If you are a garlic lover who has never made the pilgrimage to the HVGF you really owe it to yourself to make the trip. Tens of thousands of people will be enjoying everything garlic; from salsas and pestos to chocolate covered garlic and garlic flavored ice cream! We will be appearing on the Pavilion stage; alternating sets with the talented singer song writer and multi-instrumentalist Mark Rust. I expect we'll see our old friend Bruce the soundman again, too!

September 25 & 26,  2010
Cantine Field, Saugerties NY

Photo by Rick Jackofsky

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Music, Apples, and Clean Living!

The Homegrown String Band will be busy this weekend with shows in NJ, PA, and NY. We have two library shows in New Jersey: Thursday, September 16, we will be at the North County Library in Clinton NJ; showtime at 7:00 pm. On Saturday, September 18, we will be  performing in the gazebo at the Catherine Dickson Hofman Library in Blairstown NJ at 6:30 pm.

We'll also be appearing at two festivals this weekend. On Friday, September 17, we will be returning to The Pennsylvania Sustainable Living & Energy Festival in Kempton PA where we'll be on the solar powered stage at 4:00 pm. We close out the weekend at The Apple Festival, which takes place at the Sherwood Jaynes House in Setauket NY on Sunday, September 19. We'll be there all day sharing the stage with our friends Larry Moser and Mary Nagin. The festival runs from 12-4 pm.

Maybe we will bake an apple pie in our solar oven when we get home!

 Global Sun Oven photo by Rick Jackofsky

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Arvel Bird at the Shinnecock Pow Wow

Georgianne, Annalee, and I headed out east this morning to check out the 64th Annual Shinnecock Indian Pow Wow.  When the kids were younger we used to go every year, but with all the Homegrown String Band touring it's been several years since we last attended. We strolled around the grounds admiring the crafts and grabbed a bite to eat. There were some very interesting foods available; like buffalo, venison, and wild quail. We settled on Indian frybread tacos mostly because the line was short, but they were quite tasty. The traditional Aztec dancers and competitive fancy dancers are always fun to watch, but for me the highlight of the day was a performance by fiddler/flutist Arvel Bird. Arvel, of mixed Native American and Scottish descent, successfully blends his cultural heritage in his music. He seems equally at home playing a Celtic or traditional American fiddle tune as he is playing Native American flute music. Bird has released numerous genre bending recordings and won several Native American Music Awards. He's been performing everyday of the Pow Wow; if you haven't caught one of his sets you have one more chance, his last set will be at 10:45 Monday morning.

Photo by Rick Jackofsky

Sunday, August 29, 2010

End of Summer & Time for Fall Festivals

Yesterday's gig went well. Kudos to James and Jamie Faith and their excellent sound crew for the great job they did providing a first class stage and professional sound. We got there just in time to see our friends Bob Wescott, Ken Korb, and Mike DiGeronimo do their set as the Tobacco Roadies. Their show included some classic blues and rockabilly as well as a generous helping of Bob's original tunes. Ken played a couple of tunes by himself and got to display his amazing harmonica virtuosity. The Homegrown String Band did their usual stellar job of entertaining the crowd, then we listened to Klyph Black and Rumor Has It do a set of great original tunes in the classic Rock 'n Roll mode. The final act, The Donna Godchaux Band, kept the crowd hoppin'. I listened to three or four Grateful Dead tunes (singer/guitarist Jeff Matson sounds uncannily like Jerry Garcia) and a cover of Gillian Welch's Tear My Stillhouse Down before we decided to pack it in for the day. We have a couple of weeks off now then we have a busy second half of September that will include The Pennsylvania Sustainable Living Festival, The Apple Festival in Setauket, NY, and The Hudson Valley Garlic Festival.

Didn't get to run much last week, but I started this week off with a 12 mile plus run through the trails of the RCA property in Rocky Point. This is a 5,500 acre parcel that at one time was laced with towers and wires forming a giant antenna used to transmit and recieve trans-Atlantic radio signals by RCA and Marconi. RCA turned the land over to the state in the '70s and it is now controlled by the NY State DEC as part of the LI Pine Barrens Preserve. My run was about 60% narrow single track trails on varying terrain, winding through dense woodlands, and 40% wider flatter horse trails and fire roads running through more open areas. The single track portion of the run was on the first few miles of the Paumanok Path; a 125 mile hiking trail between Rocky Point and Montauk, NY. I decided to wear my belt pack and carry a 12 oz. bottle of water and a Clif Shot energy gel. I was glad I did. The temperature was around 80 degrees when I went into the woods, but was in the mid nineties when I emerged, with an empty water bottle, an hour and half later.

Photo by Rick Jackofsky

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Homegrown String Band & The Queen of Keen: Donna Jean Godchaux

I'll never forget the first time I heard  Miss Donna sing. It was March 1973, she and her husband Keith were new members of the Grateful Dead. Donna's high harmonies soared over the rhythm section and wove in and out of Jerry Garcia's lead guitar work adding an ethereal effect to the band's sound. This weekend (Saturday, August 28, 2010) we are looking forward to sharing a bill with her as part of The Sayville Seafood, Crafts, & Music Festival.
  Looks like the weather is going to be fine and the festival fun; crafts, music, food, and lots of other activities. The Homegrown String Band set is at 1:20. Donna will be appearing, with Jeff Matson, at the mythical time of 4:20.

Gates open at 10 am and admission is a mere $5, kids under 5 Free. For more info:

86 West Avenue
West Sayville, NY 11796

Saturday, August 21, 2010

National Trail Running Day

Bet you didn't know today was National Trail Running Day. I celebrated with a 12 mile run on the trails in Brookhaven State Park. The weather was great and wildlife was active. I saw several deer and a flock of wild turkeys. At one point I nearly ran into a young fawn—I turned a corner and the little guy ran right across the trail only inches away from me, a surprise for both of us! The trails in BSP are pretty typical of what you find in the Long Island Pine Barrens. I ran a couple miles of rolling, winding, pine needle covered single track, but mostly it's relatively flat sandy trails winding through pitch pine and scrub oak. The night before the Richmond Blueberry Fiddle Festival in New Hampshire we treated ourselves to dinner at The Newfane Cafe and Creamery and a night in a cool little bed and breakfast, Red Wing Farm, in Vermont. This was quite a treat for the road weary Homies. After driving 4,000 miles, eating lots of fast food, and staying in cookie cutter budget motels over the past 6 weeks, it was nice to get off the highway (through a covered bridge!) and enjoy the natural beauty and friendly folks in rural Vermont. The inn was just down the road from Townshend State Park. Before we hit the road for the festival, I ran down the dirt road to the State Forest Rd and into the park where I enjoyed a nice trail run up to the top of Bald Mountain. This was bit different than Long Island trail running. The 1.7 mile trail up the mountain was a rocky, rooty, twisting trail with one shallow stream crossing, fun, fun, fun! The festival was great, too. This festival is a fund raiser for The Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Richmond VT. The IHM school is run by a group of "fiddlin'" Catholic sisters, though the student body only numbers 35 they have plenty of talent that has been nurtured by the sisters. At various times during the festival I would say most of the student body appeared on stage, either performing with the BFF Fiddlers or playing a part in The New England Melodrama.

Next week we will be doing another day trip down to Somerset NJ for a free show at The Franklin Township Public Libray on Wednesday, August 25, at 7 pm.

We'll be closing out the month with a local performance at The Sayville Seafood, Crafts and Music Festival. Our set is at 1:20 on Saturday the 28th. Come early to see the opening set at 12 by our buddies, The Tobacco Roadies, and stay late to catch the closing act, Donna Jean Godchaux and Jeff Matson, at 4:20 pm.

Photo by Erica Jackofsky

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Richmond Blueberry Fiddle Festival

This weekend we head up to New Hampshire for the Richmond Blueberry Fiddle Festival. It's been a while since The Homegrown String Band last visited the Granite State and we are looking forward to meeting the fiddlin' sisters of The Immaculate Heart of Mary School. The festival takes place Saturday, August 14 at the Cheshire Fairgrounds in Swanzey NH. The music starts at 9 am! Our sets will be at 1:15 and 6:45 pm. Erica will also be leading a knitting circle starting at 5:45 pm.

Step back into the past with a one-of-a-kind, old-fashioned family festival: the eighth annual Blueberry Fiddle Festival, organized by Richmond’s Immaculate Heart of Mary School. Enjoy live music and delicious food, browse the craft vendors, participate in an original New England melodrama, and join us for a family contra dance.

Monday, August 2, 2010

On the Road Again

We've traveled 2,500 miles through five states in the past 2 weeks! Back out tomorrow (Tuesday, 8/3) for a day trip up to New Rochelle, NY, where we will be appearing at The Ossie Davis Theater, a 145 seat theater at The New Rochelle Library (7pm, 1 Library Plaza, New Rochelle, NY).  Friday night (8/6) we will be doing a show at The New Jersey Botanical Gardens, also a 7pm start time. The show will be out in the garden weather permitting, inside if it rains. Sunday (8/8) it's up to Redding, CT, for a dinner time concert on the green. Showtime is 6pm. Bring a picnic and your dancin' shoes!

Photo by Doug Decker Neahwa Park, Oneonta, NY

Monday, July 26, 2010

Wild North Land

Photo from the Watkins Glen Old Time Fiddlers Gathering June 2010 

The Homegrown String Band is takin' the show on the road again. This week we will be in Boston, MA, Oneonta, NY, and Wellsville, NY.  The shows in Boston and Oneonta will be outdoor summer concerts. On Wednesday, July 28, we will be performing at Titus Sparrow Park in Boston; the show starts at 6:30. The Oneonta concert will be at Neahwa Park on Thursday, July 29, and starts at 7:00. The Wellsville show is Friday, July 30, at the Wellsville Creative Arts Center.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sweet Sunny South

Another mini road trip comin' up! This time we head south; making return performances at two venues in Virginia and one in Delaware. On Sunday, July 19th, at 5:00 pm we will be doing a house concert at Ford's Colony in Williamsburg, VA.  On Monday the 20th at 7:00 pm, it's Music on the Steps in historic Fredericksburg, VA. The final show is on Tuesday the 20th, 7:00 pm at Stango Park in the seaside resort town of Lewes, Delaware. We're looking forward to seeing our friends from the sweet sunny south at either the intimate house concert and or one of the outdoor shows. Hope everyone is having a great summer. Next week we'll try to beat the heat and head back north to Boston, MA, and upstate NY (Oneonta & Wellsville).

The Homegrown String Band 
  Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Fine!

Photo from the Watkins Glen Old Time Fiddlers Gathering June 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

New England Shows

Taking a quick trip up north this week. Two free shows in Massachusetts and Connecticut. 7 pm Wednesday, July 7th at the Jonathon Bourne Library in Bourne, MA and  6pm Thursday, July 8th at The Danbury Library in Danbury, CT.

Photo by Erica Jackofsky

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

21st Annual Old Time Fiddlers' Gathering

This weekend The Homegrown String Band will be part of The 21st Annual Old Time Fiddlers' Gathering presented by The Arts Council of The Southern Finger Lakes at Watkins Glen State Park. We'll be there on Sunday the 20th. The music starts at 1 pm, our set is at 2:30. In addition to our stage show Rick will be facilitating a beginning clawhammer banjo workshop (4:30 pm) and Erica will be presenting a fiddle workshop (1pm) that will focus on improvising in a band situation.

Come on out for a great day of eclectic acoustic music and hear some fine fiddling in a variety of musical contexts. For more info contact the Arts Council @ 607.962.5871

Sunday June 20th Stage Schedule

  • 1:00 PM - The Jesse Alexander Band
  • 2:30 PM - Homegrown String Band
  • 4:00 PM - Lux Bridge
  • 5:30 PM - Traonach

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Garlic Scape Harvest Time

This past week we harvested scapes off the 60 garlic plants that sprouted from the cloves I planted in the fall. The scape is the flower stalk and bud of the garlic plant. According to conventional wisdom, breaking off the stalk as soon as it starts to curl will encourage the development of bigger, tastier garlic bulbs. There is some debate on if and when the scapes should be removed. Some say that though the bulbs will be a bit smaller, they will store better if the scape is left on longer. We decided to go for bigger bulbs figuring we will use them quick enough. Another benefit to removing the scapes is they are quite tasty themselves. We roasted some scapes with olive oil, salt and pepper in our solar oven and they were delicious. The taste and texture was kind of like a cross between garlic and string beans.

Photo by Rick Jackofsky

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sag Harbor Sunday June 13

At 2 O'clock on Sunday afternoon June 13th we will be doing our thing upstairs at The John Jermain Memorial Library in Sag Harbor on Long Island's south fork. Come on out enjoy a day in this beautiful village and some beautiful music by Long Island's own Homegrown String Band.

John Jermain Memorial Library
201 Main Street
Sag Harbor, NY 11963
631 725.0049

This was a great show in a very cool room. If you were there, thanks for coming, you were an awesome audience.
If you missed it....... well, you missed it.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Edwards Farm Day

Another day on the farm for the Homegrown String Band. This weekend, Sunday, June 6th, we will once again be part of the Edwards Farm Day festivities. This is an historical restoration site on the grounds of the Sayville Historical Society. The restored farmhouse and museum will be open, and there will be lots of activities for the kids, including pony rides, petting zoo, homemade ice cream, fiber arts demonstrations, and a sound track provided by The Homegrown String Band. The event is rain or shine. If the weather doesn't cooperate, we will play two sets inside the museum. See ya there!

The Sayville Historical Society is on the n/e corner 
of Collins Avenue and Edwards Street, 
one block south of the Sayville Library. 
Any questions call the Society at 563-0186.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Family Band on a Family Farm

We had a great time playing on the porch of the Benner's barn. It's really nice to see a family farm surviving on Long Island. The weather was great and a good time was had by all. We also enjoyed seeing our old friend WUSB Folk DJ Gerry Riemer. Big thanks to Bob and Jean Benner and the whole farmin' family for having our Homegrown family music down on the family farm.


Benner's Farm
56 Gnarled Hollow Road
E. Setauket NY  11733

"Posin' on the Porch"
Photo by Georgianne Jackofsky

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

May Day @ Benner's Farm

This Sunday will be our first outdoor show of 2010. We're very happy and excited to once again be part of The Homestead Arts May Day Celebration. We'll be doing three sets between 12 and 4pm. There will also be a Morris dance team appearing as well as a traditional Maypole celebration. Come on out, see a real working family farm, visit with farm animals, pick up some fresh eggs or honey and enjoy this traditional celebration of the rites of spring.

"Benner's Farm is a private fifteen-acre family homestead, first farmed in the 1700's. Each year the farm provides thousands of people a sense of what it was like to live on a small farm in years past. The Benner’s are the seventh family to farm this land. They have been farming organically since the late nineteen seventies in their family garden and fields of strawberries, and also raise a variety of farm animals for self-sufficient living."

Bring your family down to support an organic family farm and listen to
"A 100%  Organic Naturally Grown Family String Band"

Sunday, May 2, 2010 • 12-4pm 

56 Gnarled Hollow Road
E. Setauket NY  11733

Friday, March 26, 2010

Darlin' Corey Live!

Here's another vid from our March 20th performance at The Vanilla Bean Cafe.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Homegrown String Band Down at the Crossroads

We had a great time at a great venue this past Saturday night. The Vanilla Bean is a wonderful little restaurant/music venue located at a rural crossroads in northwestern Connecticut. Good food, good people, and good times. Thanks to Barry and Maria for having us back at The Bean, and Jen at Woolworks in Putnam, CT, and Alisa from Burgis Brook Alpacas in Canterbury, CT for helping to spread the word.

I recorded our second set with a little Flip video camera on the side of the stage. The recorder was behind the speakers and at a bit of an odd angle, but I'll post a few songs anyway. Here's the first:

Thanks to Everyone who came out to the Show 
The Homegrown String Band

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

HGSB Live at the Bean and the Rock

This weekend we will be doing two coffeehouse shows in New England. On Friday night March 19th we will be at The Dog Rock Coffeehouse in Walpole MA. This will be our first time performing at the Rock, it looks like a nice listening room venue and we are looking forward to the show and making some new friends. The music starts at 8 pm in Blackburn Hall located at 30 Stone Street.

On Saturday March 20th we will be returning for our second performance at The Vanilla Bean Cafe in Pomfret, CT. It has been a few years since we last played The Bean; as I recall it was a very nice restaurant with delicious and very reasonably priced food with a separate listening room for the music. Like The Homegrown String Band, The Vanilla Bean is a family business. The cafe opened in 1989 in a restored early 19th century barn and is owned and operated by the Jessurun Family—Barry, Brian, and Eileen. (Barry's wife is well known singer songwriter Maria Sangiolo.)

Knitting Circle
We had so much fun and got such a good response from the knitting circle we did at Cafe Lena in January that we decided to do it again at The Vanilla Bean. So come on down early, grab a bite to eat, and join the circle. The knitting, crocheting, and chatting starts at 7 pm, the music starts at 8:00. The Vanilla Bean is located at 450 Deerfield Rd (at the crossroads of Routes 44, 169, and 97) in Pomfret, CT.

The Dog Rock Coffeehouse                  
Blackburn Hall
30 Stone St
Walpole, MA

The Vanilla Bean Cafe
450 Deerfield Road
Pomfret, CT

Monday, March 15, 2010

37 Hours on the Road

Maps, Shubb capos & Blue Chip guitar picks: "Tools of the Trade"
This weekend we made a quick trip to New Jersey and Maryland. We were only gone for 37 hrs, but we covered over 700 miles! Driving through a couple of disaster areas, over flooded waterways, through driving rain, power outages, and hurricane force winds. Here's how we spent our 37 hrs on the road. 14 hrs driving, 5 hrs setting up/breaking down, 8 hrs sleeping, 6 hrs visiting our friends Joe and Dottie in Bethlehem, PA, 1 hr lost to the spring ahead time change, and 3 hrs of playing music. All in all a pretty typical two days on the road. Those three hours of playing and our visit were great. Two good sized and attentive audiences, despite the nasty weather, in Chester, NJ, and Hagerstown, MD.

Next weekend it's another quick road trip. This time we will be heading north to Walpole, MA, and Pomfret, CT. Friday night we will be at The Dog Rock Coffeehouse in Walpole and Saturday night at The Vanilla Bean Cafe in Pomfret. Try and catch a show and say hey to the Travelin' Homies if you can. This weekend will close out a month that saw The Homegrown String Band visit 6 states: NY, NJ, CT, PA, MA, and MD.

Road tip of the day: Shubb Capos, Blue Chip Picks, and Rand McNally Atlas—don't leave home with out 'em!

Photo by Rick Jackofsky

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Celebrate Your Unikewity

Unikewity is a word that originated in the mind of "The Amazing Annalee." It has come into such common use that it has become an accepted part of The Homegrown String Band lexicon.

Unikewity - (yoo nuh kyoo uh tee) n. [Annalee-ism.] The special quality that makes you, you, the part of you that is extraordinary, one of a kind, unique.

While our "unikew" sound can be attributed, in part, to our unique instrumentation and quirky personalities, it is also the result of the constant  balancing act necessary to keep varied audiences (and ourselves) interested and entertained. We try to keep our music fresh but still rooted in the sounds of traditional American roots music. Our influences include all the indigenous American musics (blues, jazz, bluegrass, rock n' roll) as well as the traditional folk musics of Europe and Africa that combined to give birth to American music. Sometimes our eclecticness (I think that's another new word) can surprise and confuse people (see my "Hard to Describe" blog), but it is really just a continuation of an American tradition; people from different backgrounds and cultures each adding something of their own to the melting pot of American culture.

Old, New, Borrowed, Unikew
The Homegrown String Band - Something Else!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hometown Homegrown FREE Long Island Show

Help us lose those mean old winter blues!
We will be doing a FREE show at the

2pm Sunday February 28th
100 Thompson Street
Port Jefferson, NY 11777

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Diggin' the Snow

Took a Break From Shoveling to Take a Few Photos
Play a Few Tunes

Life is Hard, But It's Good!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Hard to Describe

Post modern, neo traditional, psychedelic, acoustic, oldtime, family style, high energy, string band music?

The music of The Homegrown String Band doesn't fit neatly into any radio station format or record store bin. While we play traditional music and instruments, our music is not frozen in some bygone time. The tradition of American roots music is a tradition of change and we are carrying on that American tradition by using the tools at hand and borrowing from various musical genres to create something new and unique. Newsday reporter Paul Vitello once described our music as "hard to describe." Hard to describe is one label that we are more than happy to wear. We certainly are a "Unikew" bunch that stands out in a crowd. Sometimes it is hard to convince promoters who book specific genres to take a chance on something a little different, but when they do The Homegrown String Band's high energy original and eclectic sound is always enthusiastically received by folk, blues, and bluegrass audiences around the country.

Photo by Rick Jackofsky

Friday, February 5, 2010

Interview with Erica Jackofsky

HGSB fiddler, Erica, is the featured designer on today's Knit Picks Knitting Community Blog. In the interview she discusses how her approach to knitting is influenced by her musical background.

Visit Erica's knitting website

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Family & Friends Plan

In the past week we've had some musical guests visit the old home place. This past Sunday, and then again on Wednesday, we were graced by the presence of two fine young musicians who joined us for dinner and an evening of jamming.  Annalee's friend Tim sat in on bass while Erica's pal Chris got us rockin' with some awesome percussive patterns. Sounded pretty good. Starting to think that maybe some Homegrown Family & Friends shows could be happening in the not too distant future. You never know.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Buttonwood Tree

Thanks to all the good folks who came up to Saratoga Springs and made our Saturday night show at Caffe Lena a huge success! We will be following it up with a quick trip to the Nutmeg State. On Friday night January 29th the family that plays together will will be making our premier appearance at The Buttonwood Tree. From what I can gather this looks like a very cool place to relax and enjoy an evening of acoustic music. Located in a refurbished century-old hotel lobby on Main Street in downtown Middletown, CT. The Buttonwood Tree is  a non-profit cultural arts center with an intimate living-room atmosphere. Coffee and Cocoa are always available, as well as a" highly-multifarious" used-book store. Come on out and let The Homegrown String Band take you on "a rollicking ride through the sounds of American music."  We will be performing two sets of high energy, original, and traditional American roots music, using at least ten acoustic instruments, as well as an exciting demonstration of Appalachian flatfoot dancing. Between sets there will be a free drawing for a gift basket containing, among other things, a Homegrown String Band CD and a pound of Deans Beans organic fair trade coffee beans. Vote for real acoustic music! Support The Buttonwood Tree and your favorite Homegrown String Band!

605 Main Street, PO Box 71 Middletown, CT 06457

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Carl Smith 1927 - 2010

Carl Smith, country music legend and father of Carlene Carter, passed away this past Saturday at his home in Franklin TN. Carl was 82 years old and had enjoyed a music career that spanned five decades. "Mister Country" tore up the country charts during the 1950s and 60s and hosted 190 episodes of the popular Canadian TV country music  show: Carl Smith's Country Music Hall. The former Grand Ole Opry member was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2003. R.I.P.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Caffe Lena

Established in 1960, Caffe Lena is the oldest continuously operating coffeehouse in the United States. It is an internationally renowned cultural center and an American treasure. Every roots music enthusiast owes it to themselves to make a pilgrimage to this world renowned folk music landmark. Upon entering the building, the history is palpable. As you climb the narrow staircase that leads to the cafe listen closely and you just might hear 50 years of folk music echoing from the walls. The history is also visible, as those same walls are adorned with photos of the legendary musicians, from Bob Dylan to Ani DiFranco, who have performed at the Lena's during the last half century. Join us next Saturday night and become part of a musical tradition as we make our fourth appearance at this legendary folk music venue. The music starts at 8pm, but come early and join the knitting circle led by Erica "Fiddleknits" Jackofsky or just hang out, have a cup of organic coffee or tea, and enjoy a homemade dessert. The knitting circle starts at 7:00. We've also got some great knitting (and non knitting) giveaways planned. All in all this promises to be a great night and a good way to lose the blues and cure your cabin fever. So come on out to Caffe Lena on Saturday January 23rd and support this wonderful non profit listening room and your favorite Homegrown String Band.

For more info on the knitting circle and giveaways  check out the post below

Friday, January 15, 2010

Homegrown Yarn Band?

We're really looking forward to our show at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, NY, next weekend. I'll be writing more about that next week. But I want to share some of the happenings leading up to the big show. While arranging details for the show with Caffe manager Sarah Craig, Georgianne mentioned that Erica had written the cover story for the October issue of Yarn Forward magazine. When Sarah heard that Erica was a rising star in the knitting world, she suggested having a knitting circle before the show. We thought that was a great idea! To give the knitters an extra incentive to come out to the show, Georgianne and Erica came up with the idea of, at sometime during the evening, having a drawing for a knitter's basket. The basket will be filled with goodies, including a brand new, original, Fiddleknits hat pattern along with the Knit Picks yarn, and set of handcrafted pewter buttons, (made by me!) needed to complete the project. We didn't want the non-knitters to feel left out so we thought we should also give away a non-knitting basket. The second basket will include, among other things, some Homegrown String Band merchandise and a sample bag of our favorite organic fair trade coffee. A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about fair trade coffee from Dean's Beans; I can't say enough about the good people who run this great company! When we called to order the coffee, the good folks at Dean's kindly offered to donate a full pound of freshly roasted, shade grown, fair trade, organic coffee beans. We received the coffee today. So the lucky winner will get The Homegrown String Band CD "Ragged but Right" featuring our almost hit song "The Man Who Dressed in Black" and a pound of "Ring of Fire" coffee: "A dark, smokin' blend of high mountain beans from the active volcanic soils of Indonesia, Timor, and Papua-New Guinea. Eye-opening!" So come see us at Caffe Lena on Saturday, January 23rd, and enjoy a great evening of knitting and acoustic roots music at America's longest continuously operating coffeehouse.

P.S. Here's a link to Erica's latest post on her Fiddleknits blog: 

Photo by Rick Jackofsky

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Praying for Haiti

Our prayers and well wishes go out to the people of Haiti suffering from the effects of a massive earthquake. This catastrophe deals yet another blow to the people of one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere. Hopefully the U.S. and other neighboring countries will hasten to their aid; extending a helping hand to the people of Haiti in their time of need.

Donate to the

Photo by Rick Jackofsky

Monday, January 11, 2010

Praying For Spring

Baby it's cold outside! If this keeps up we're
gonna get a ton of snow this year! This early winter weather reminds me of the year I wrote "Praying  for Spring." It was getting pretty deep into a particularly hard winter, cabin fever had set in and I was dreaming about summer festivals and homegrown tomatoes. With the downturn in the economy, this song has taken on a new significance, offering hope to people who have been struggling through hard times. In response to these hard times we, The Homegrown String Band, have slashed prices on all our CDs. The new recession busting price is just $10 each!

To hear "Praying For Spring" and other HGSB streaming music
click here
To download a FREE Mp3 version of "Praying for Spring"
click here
Sleeping Gnome photo by Rick Jackofsky

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Goin' to Mt. Laurel With My Banjo Pickin' Girl!

Free Show!
Sunday January 10th 2pm 

The Homegrown String Band Live at the

"The Family That Plays Together"

This show will mark the band's 13th anniversary!
Our first public performance as a family was on
January 10th 1997

Mount Laurel Public Library
100 Walt Whitman Avenue
Mount Laurel, NJ  08054
Sunday January 10, 2010 @ 2pm
Band Photo by Wade Turpin

Friday, January 1, 2010

Support Live Acoustic Music in 2010

So much of the world today is contrived, manipulated, digitally altered, and cliched. Seeing acoustic music performed live in a listening room environment is a timeless experience that should be cherished. These days so much recorded music is overdubbed, computer generated, auto tuned, looped, sampled, and enhanced; good old live acoustic music played by human beings is often viewed as quaint and obsolete. When recording technology first came on the scene 100 years ago, the goal was to recreate a live music experience. In recent years the tables have turned and more and more listeners expect live musicians to recreate the sounds manufactured in the studio. It's not uncommon to see live musicians utilizing synthesizers, drum machines, tape loops, and backing tracks. For some, the computer has become the instrument of choice. But lovers of real organic music need not despair. There are still bastions of traditional music out there, musicians and presenters who are keeping the flame burning by performing and presenting bluegrass, celtic, blues, and various forms of modern and traditional  acoustic music. But acoustic musicians and venues need your help! Get out and see some live acoustic music in 2010. A good start may be going to The Homegrown String Band's January 23rd appearance at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, NY, or perhaps our January 29th show at The Buttonwood Tree in Middletown CT. Nonprofit venues around the country, like Caffe Lena and The Buttonwood Tree, are struggling to keep their doors open and need the help of dedicated acoustic music fans who still value the art of handmade music.

"Caffè Lena is widely recognized as the oldest continuously operating coffeehouse in the United States. It is an internationally renowned cultural center and an American treasure. Opened in 1960, the café has helped to launch many of America's best loved songwriters, including Bob Dylan, Arlo Guthrie, Ani DiFranco and many more."

"The Buttonwood Tree is a community-based nonprofit arts organization serving central Connecticut with music events, bookstore and the performing arts."