Welcome to my music webpage!

My love of folk music began with my playing music with the Seeger family when I went to their summer camp in Vermont as a child. From there, I began to expand my repertoire, and added songs from Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Hank Williams, Kate Wolf and many others too numerous to name. After playing many venues New York, I relocated to the West Coast for several years and continued my passion for performing there. I recently moved back to my hometown of NYC, and am enjoying reconnecting with my folk roots here.

Thank you for visiting my page and I hope you enjoy it!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

"Waltz For You"

Another one of my favorites written by Sarah Elizabeth Campbell. When I sing this, I always think of being on the Eastern side of the Sierras, as the song says, "all alone, me and the stars", one magical night in the high desert when the Perseid showers seemed close enough to reach out and touch in the night sky.....

Friday, December 30, 2011

"Bristlecone Pine"

Methuselah Tree (11000 feet)

High in the White Mountains of California, above 10,000 feet, grow the oldest living trees on earth. Many of the ancient Bristlecone Pines here have lived more than 40 centuries. The Bristlecone Pines in this forest started as seedlings when the pyramids of Egypt were being built. They only grow in six states of the Western USA, and the oldest of them are in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest of the White Mountains of California, where this shot was taken of me when I visited.

These Bristlecone Pines thrive in the harshest of conditions in the highest altitudes, between 10,000 and 11,000 feet. These trees live longer than any other living tree in the world. Some of the downed wood, like what you see in this shot I took in the White Mountains of California, date back to the last ice age. The average age of these trees is 1,000 years old. But there are a few still living that have been around for over 4,000 years.

This is the Patriarch Grove, which is named after the oldest living tree that resides unmarked in this area. The "Methuselah" tree is somewhere in this grove at the White Mountains, and is over 4,767 years old. It is not marked due to fears of vandalism. The Methuselah Tree is the oldest living organism that is known and documented, with an estimated germination of 2832 BC.

They don't tell you exactly where it is when you visit these trees in the White Mountains. It's identity is a closely-guarded secret.

More here

I recorded a song about the Bristlecones, the live recording of "Bristlecone Pine" (from 2001). It was written by Hugh Prestwood) and is my only duet with a Raven who wanted to sing along....

Sunday, October 9, 2011

"There But For Fortune"

I had the privilege of organizing local moms and dads from Santa Cruz California for the Million Mom March in 2000. I met many families who had lost their children to gun violence. It was an incredibly moving experience that has stayed with me vividly.

The shot is from the Million Mom March in DC in 2000. It was the largest audience I had ever played for (over 100,00). In this shot of my performance in DC, I have a poster that is leaning against my legs with the faces of some of the local Santa Cruz Ca youths who had died from gun violence in the small Central Coast community where I was living in at the time. I was invited to perform a song that was originally penned by Phil Ochs, with updated lyrics by me.

Sadly, they still apply.

My brother Jon took this shot. It was the last time we were all together: my brother, my sister-in-law, my nephew, my mom and me.

"There But For Fortune" original words/music by Phil Ochs

updated lyrics written by Beth Kotkin

"Show me a playground, show me a park
Show me the classroom wall where the bullets made their mark
And I’ll show you a young child, with so many reasons why
There But For Fortune may go you or I

Show me a woman who leaves on the run
Show me an angry man who is grabbing for his gun
And I’ll show you a young wife with so many reasons why
There But For Fortune may go you or I

Show me a veteran who knows no one cares
Show me the trembling hands pull the trigger in despair
And I’ll show you a young man with so many reasons why
There But For Fortune may go you or I

Show me a country where guns are in style
Show me the families who have lost their dearest child
And I’ll show you some young lives with so many reasons why
There But For Fortune may go you or I"

The MP3 posted below is a studio version that was made with the help of many great musicians who donated their time to have this appear on the CD that was put out shortly after this event. Unfortunately, it never made the CD. I was bumped to allow Emmylou Harris contribute a song. That's show business folks!

But luckily I can share it with you here..... ( I want to thank Ray Frank for all his work on this project: this was his arrangement, and he rounded up all the musicians and the studio all of whom donated their time and creativity, including the wonderful Patrice Haan, on harmony vocals....)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"Ain't No Cure for Love"

I have loved Leonard Cohen since I bought his first LP in 1968. I have been a fan ever since then of his poetry and his music. This song is one of his rare, more "upbeat" tunes, at least for him that is :).


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"The Diming of the Day"

Here I am doing another sad song. This one is written by the talented Richard Thompson. It was originally sung by his then-wife, Linda Thompson. I know it gets covered a lot, and for good reason. It is a wonderful song.

This is my take on it. I have the guitar tuned to dropped D tuning, for those who are into this kind of thing.

Monday, October 3, 2011

"Across the Great Divide"

Kate Wolf died the year I discovered her music, over 20 years ago now. I never got to see her perform in person, but I listened to her music and learned many of her songs that I later went on to perform myself in concerts. I have been told that I sound like her, which I consider the highest of praise.

I am posting a video of me singing her song "Across The Great Divide" that I recently recorded.

(For all you tech nerds and geeks out there: I recorded this in my garage on my Mac desktop. I used IMoveHD, with a Shure8900 microphone plugged into an imic that was plugged into my Mac. Combine this with my isight that has the light attachment, and it worked like a dream!)

"Tomorrow is a Long Time"

I learned this finger picking arrangement, in dropped D, when I was a teenager. If it ain't broke, then don't fix it I say. When I learned it, Dylan had not put this out on record (remember those?), but it was available on bootleg and cover versions.

I still love the simplicity of this piece.