March 7, 2009

The Folk Brothers

The Folk Brothers
Partners in Crime


When two of America's best songwriters get together the result could be electric, but it is not. It is acoustic ... and it is touching ... and it is funny ... and it is clever ... and it is heart-warming ... and simply put - they put on a great show for us.

Jack Hardy and David Massengill have known each other since they both moved to New York City in the mid-seventies, Jack from Colorado, David from Tennessee. The Boston Globe has said, "Jack Hardy is one of the most influential figures today in defining the American Folk Song." The same could be said of David Massengill. In this era of pop-driven acoustic music, these two have dual-handedly kept the folk tradition alive in songwriting.

Jack and David have shared many a stage together at clubs and festivals, been members of the weekly songwriters workshop since its inception, and worked on the Fast Folk Magazine together. They have traveled together, boulevardiered together, played softball together, had the occasional adult beverage together. And now they have formed a duo: The Folk Brothers . . . move over Simon and Garfunkel and Don and Phil.

David brings the experience of six albums, nine bootlegs and nine books to the mix.
Jack brings the experience of fifteen albums and eight plays to the mix.
        Their new album together Partners in Crime is well mixed (up).


David's songs have been covered by such artists as Joan Baez, Dave Van Ronk, The Roches and Charlie King whereas Jack's songs have been covered by such artists as Steve Gillette & Cindy Mangsen, Lucy Kaplansky and Joel Rafael.

Their choice of material for their performances draws from their own greatest hits such as David's "On the Road to Fairfax County," "Rider on an Orphan Train" and "My Name Joe" to Jacks' "Tinkers Coin," "I Ought to Know" and "The Zephyr" to covering songs of their friends such as Dave Van Ronk, Paul Siebel and Utah Philips, as well as covering traditional songs. David plays the mountain dulcimer (Dave Van Ronk said that "Massengill took the *dull* out of dulcimer") as well as guitar. Jack plays guitar as well as mandolin. They are also noted as being great tellers of tales while introducing their songs.

Their first album as a duo, Partners in Crime, was released in July, with transcendent harmonies, and a great mix of history, tradition, politics and irreverence. Rumor has it there is an alternate name for The Folk Brothers: "The Baloney Brothers," but we have been unable to confirm this rumor.


Since last Summer in their appearances at concerts, they had been performing Jack's ode to W, but retired it after the election. Jack updated it for us to the extreme delight of our audience.
You can catch the original on YouTube:   Worst President Ever.

David also treated us to his scatological ode to eunochs.
That original, the "Eunuch Song", is also on YouTube at:   Video: at the Big Kahuna Café    

Jack Hardy and David Massengill are more relevant and irreverent today than ever, especially since Jack insists they each write at least one new clever humorous song a week!

We reveled in the opportunity to see them perform live(ly) under our giant cross ... a night to remember !!!

Praises by others for their performances:

  • "Jack Hardy was the first person I met who really worked at writing songs, who took it seriously and went after the songs rather than waiting around for them to show up."
        — John Gorka

  • David Massengiill is "a respected cult figure whose songs are serious and idiosyncratic and whose writing is ambitiously allegorical.""
        — The New York Times

  • "Jack Hardy is one of the most influential figures today in defining the American folk song."
        — The Boston Globe

  • "The same could be said about David Massengill"
        — The Uptown Coffeehouse

    Visit their web site:  

  Opening tonight were our featured open mike performers:

Our host tonight was Ira Perlman, and our open mike featured performances by:

  • Ira Perlman

  • John Taylor


  • Lois Morton

  • Hank Stone

  • Claude Margouleff

  • Larry Moser & Mary Nagin


  • Denise Romas

  • Lora Kendall & Ken Korb


  • Estelle Henrich

  • ...and Mike O'Kornfeld

  • If you weren't here tonight, you missed yet another of the very best programs of the year ...