Top 20 Songs on Acoustic Pie, August 2012

September 2, 2012

Tom Waits was voted in at no. 1, Paul Simon at no. 7 and Jackson Browne at no. 11.

I love these guys, especially Paul Simon, but I’m very curious: What are the demographics of the listeners voting for these older, more established songwriters? Is it people like me who loved them in their heydays 30-40 years ago? Younger music lovers open to and discovering writers from the previous generation? At any rate, it’s truly exciting to see the classic singer/songwriters being well-received as it is to see the brand new comers to the Pie getting some attention such as Carsie Blanton (no. 8), Liz Longley (no. 9) and Joshua Radin (no. 17).

San Diego songwriters are represented this month by Tom Waits (no. 1), Lee Tyler Post at no. 3 and The Donnis Trio at no. 12.

Thank you for reading and for listening ;)


Top 20 Songs on Acoustic Pie
August 2012

Artist ~ Song ~ Album

1. Tom Waits ~ Grapefruit Moon ~ Closing Time
2. William Fitzsimmons ~ You Still Hurt Me ~ Derivatives
3. Lee Tyler Post ~ Thunderclap ~ Emancipate
4. Joe Crookston ~ Caitlin at the Window ~ Darkling & The BlueBird Jubilee
5. Abbie Gardner and Anthony da Costa ~ Crazy in Love ~ Bad Nights / Better Days
6. Sun Kil Moon ~ Salvador Sanchez (Acoustic) ~ Ghosts Of The Great Highway Bonus Tracks
7. Paul Simon ~ Wartime Prayers ~ The Essential Paul Simon
8. Carsie Blanton ~ Every Punch You Throw ~ Buoy
9. Liz Longley ~ If You Want To ~ Hot Loose Wire
10. Justin Roth ~ She Dances ~ Shine
11. Jackson Browne ~ Sky Blue and Black ~ Solo Acoustic Vol. 2
12. The Donnis Trio ~ Tip of the Tongue ~ All Directions
13. Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer ~ Merlin’s Lament ~ Joy My Love
14. Tom Prasado-Rao ~ Peace Be Still ~ Goodnight Regret
15. Rosie and Me ~ Bonfires ~ Bird and Whale
16. Ray LaMontagne ~ Winter Birds ~ Gossip in the Grain
17. Joshua Radin ~ You Got Growin Up To Do (featuring Patty Griffin) ~ Simple Times
18. John Gorka ~ Writing in the Margins ~ Until You Come Home
19. Devon Sproule ~ Come Comet or Dove (Live) ~ Live in London
20. Christopher Dallman ~ Little Bit of Blue ~ Never Was

Newsletter: Sisters Folk Festival, Sept. 2010

September 21, 2010

This was my third visit to the Sisters Folk Festival and I’ve already emailed Julie at  Sisters Vacation Rentals about reserving a condo for next year.  Sisters Folk is THE perfect festival for acoustic music lovers who don’t like to camp.  It’s a weekend festival taking place from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon.  They run six outdoor (yet covered) stages in the middle of the tiny and charming city of Sisters, Oregon.  All of the venues are within 4-5 easily walkable blocks of each other.  The venues all have chairs, too.  I’m a big fan of chairs myself.

Add to that that the shows start on time and the sound at this festival is about the best I’ve heard anywhere.   Every word of every lyric and every pluck of the mandolin is as clear as a bell.   I have a theory that good sound has more to do with the sound guy than with the equipment.   It’s just a theory :)

And, oh yes, they have music, too!  Wonderful music.  Here’s the line-up from this year.  When I look over the list of performers now, I’m a little shocked at how many of them I didn’t see, even though I attended about 14 hours worth of shows in two days.  There’s a lot of music!

My first show of the festival was the Peter Mulvey “workshop” show on Saturday morning in the grassy grove at the new Sisters Coffee Stage.  He opened with a song about talking ravens on the roof of his hotel during an Alaskan tour. It was so beautiful that I was teary by the second verse.  His whole set was beautiful, interesting and moving.  I liked or loved every show I saw that weekend but I knew right at that moment that Peter Mulvey, my first show of the festival, was not going be topped.

Among the “loved!” shows were Chris Kokesh (I’m crazy about her new album “October Valentine”), Betty Soo, Ellis (adorable) and Martyn Joseph (what a presence).  I only caught part of two songs in Nathanial Talbot’s set on the Emerging Artists stage but was so engaged that I bought his $5 CD to screen for the Acoustic Pie stream.  We’ll see!

I also caught the end of Peter Mulvey’s show at Bronco Billy’s on Sunday (still a wow).  I realized after a bit that I was standing next to Slaid Cleaves at Peter’s show.  That was a bit disconcerting.  Only a few hours later I was struggling to get a non-blurry picture of Slade waaaay up on the Main Tent Stage from the back of a standing room only crowd.  How quickly things change.  And I was not successful in my quest either ~ all of my Slade pics are various shades of blur (I’ll post a link to the slideshow at the end of this).

If you join me at Sisters next year (that’s Sept. 9-11, 2011), here are some other things you also absolutely must do there:  Have a latte at Sisters Coffee Co., eat a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie from The Depot, and get peaches and Gravenstein apples from Richard’s Produce.

View the slideshow here!

Thanks for reading, everyone!


Happy Anniversary Newsletter!

July 18, 2010

Hi there and happy summer!

Acoustic Pie Radio is 8 years old this weekend!  Most of you know the outline of the story.  In 2002, I’d only recently discovered and fallen in love with Internet radio when, suddenly, my favorite Internet stations started shutting down.  It was the royalties scare of 2002.  Internet broadcasters were terrified of  new royalty rules about to be enacted which were written to be retroactive to 1998 and destined to cost even non-profit and hobby broadcasters thousands of dollars.

So I decided to start my own radio stream.  Partly because I refused to believe that such an egregious thing was going to happen.  Partly because, as a newcomer to the field, I wouldn’t have to worry about liability for any retroactive fees.  But I decided to post my stream with Live365 so as to have a sizable, profit-driven, politically proactive entity in between me and the unfathomable Copyright Panel rulings, now the equally unfathomable Copyright Royalty Board.  Even now, eight years later this issue still isn’t resolved.  “Temporary” rates were negotiated with the record companies that year and then renegotiated in 2007 as the board continues to issue rulings which require Internet radio to pay some types of royalties which aren’t even required of traditional radio stations and exponentially higher rates for other fees.

Acoustic Pie Radio began streaming on July 17, 2002 with four hours of songs.  It cost $4.95/month to run and when the new temporary royalties were negotiated, that was an additional $5/month.  Nowadays, Acoustic Pie streams 36 hours of music at twice the original bitrate.  If you have a hankering to run your own stream, Live365 still offers a “Personal Introduction” broadcast package for $5.95/month which gives you a 7 hour stream and up to three free listeners at a time.  There’s no limit on the number of subscribing listeners.  It’s a lot of fun. Seriously!

New stuff on the website!

Chris Pureka is the featured artist on the website right now.  She’s wonderful.  Please buy her music :)   Don’t forget that all past featured artists can be found in the archives!  These are all musicians whose songs I truly love.

Also new this month is a page offering free MP3s from favorite artists who are generously sharing their songs with Acoustic Pie fans.  Surf by the new Pie Samples page and download some songs.

Happy Anniversary to Acoustic Pie!

Thanks for reading and thanks for listening to the Pie, everyone!


Acoustic Pie Newsletter, June 2009

June 9, 2009

Hello and happy summer!

I love the summer.  I love outdoor concerts.  I’ll tell you about a wonderful new outdoor music festival if you keep reading.  Here’s the agenda…

1.  Even When I’m Very Lazy

2.  LA Acoustic Music Festival

3.  For San Diegans Only


1.  Even When I’m Very Lazy

… and I don’t write newsletters for a bit, I still post the Top 20 songs from Acoustic Pie Radio on the first of every month.   You’ll find them in the Acoustic Pie Blog.  I even made a new category for them, “Top 20”, to make them easier to find.  Here they are:  Top 20 Songs on Acoustic Pie

And I update the Featured Artist on the website periodically as well!  This month, David Wilcox will jump out at you from the Acoustic Pie home page.

2.  The LA Acoustic Music Festival

What a glorious place to listen to music.   A brand new outdoor festival took place on June 6-7 on the Santa Monica Pier with fresh air, sunshine and amazing views in every direction.  Perfect weather graced the first ever LA Acoustic Music Festival.  I went all day Sunday and I thought it was fabulous.  It was lightly attended but the organization, the sound, the atmosphere and the performances were top rate!  I surprised myself by how much I enjoyed the traveling Woody Guthrie Tribute show “The Ribbon of Highway” with Jimmy LaFave, Joel Raphael, Sarah Lee Guthrie, Eliza Gilkyson and Slaid Cleaves among others.  It’s a beautifully organized tribute combining Guthrie songs with readings from his other writings.  I think I may just have to buy the album.

I took WAY too many pictures which is my excuse for why they are not yet posted on the website.  It’s going to take me a while to weed through them all!  But I hope to have a new album up by next week.  Hopefully.

3.  For San Diegans Only

I’ve added a few shows to the Acoustic Pie Picks Calendar and I wanted to especially recommend Girlyman at LeStat’s on Saturday, June 20.  I just love that trio.  It will be a huge treat to hear them on one of my favorite coffeehouse stages.

Ok, thanks for reading, everybody!


Acoustic Pie Newsletter, March 2009

March 9, 2009


Here’s what’s new and different at Acoustic Pie right now…

1.  New Featured Artist: Nathan Welden

2.  For San Diegans Only:  New Highly Recommended Shows Calendar


1. New Featured Artist:  Nathan Welden

Pop over to the Acoustic Pie home page to see the new featured artist Nathan Welden.  Nathan is a San Diego singer/songwriter whom Indie Edge describes as “a fresh fusion of James Taylor and Jim Croce”.  All I can say is, ohmygosh, what a beautiful voice.  There are bunches of songs to listen to on his webpage and his MySpace page.  And his new album Live Your Song is a lovely concoction of acoustic simplicity.  Listen to samples from it and buy it at my favorite online CD store CD Baby.

2. For San Diegans Only:  New Highly Recommended Shows Calendar

Although I’m not maintaining the full singer/songwriter show calendar any more (big whew on that one), I am going to do a mini-calendar of highly recommended shows and continue to do “Pick of the Month” shows when there’s something really special going on.  Right now there are three special upcoming shows on the Highly Recommended Shows calendar so check it out!

In particular, my friend Carole will be hosting a house concert for the Arkansas contemporary folkgrass duo Still on the Hill on this Thursday, March 12!  Also very dear friends of mine, Kelly & Donna just had a #1 album Ozark on the Folk DJs listserv and Carole’s house concert will be the kick-off for their California tour.  It will be a very exciting show!  I’ll be making peanut butter cookies!  More information and RSVP details are on the web flyer here.

And… this month’s Featured Artist Nathan Welden will be releasing his new album Live Your Song on March 21.  I will definitely be there!  Hope to see you, too!

Thanks for reading, everybody!


Acoustic Pie Newsletter, January 2009

January 14, 2009

Hello, lovers of original, contemporary, genre-free songs performed by the songwriter in primarily acoustic arrangements!  Here’s what’s on my mind today :)

1. What’s a Singer/Songwriter?

2. Ellis Paul (continued)

3. What’s New!


1.  What’s a Singer/Songwriter?

Speaking of that salutation/definition way back at the beginning of this newsletter, it took me a long time before I figured out how to describe the music I love most. I knew there was some commonality that linked Don McLean and Girlyman. Jim Croce with Anais Mitchell. Paul Simon and Teitur. I knew my favorite music crossed the genres that defined radio stations. I knew that the personality of the artist was stamped somehow on the songs themselves, not just the performance, with the clarity of a signature.  It’s kind of wordy but that introductory greeting pretty much sums it up for me:  Original, contemporary, genre-free songs performed by the songwriter in primarily acoustic arrangements

And then I stumbled onto the genre label singer/songwriter. That was a big deal.  A revelation really. A lot of artists now prefer the term “performing songwriter”. But as a lover of language (oh yes, there are blogs that confirm this ~ “What’s in a Rhyme” and Limp Lyrics), I’m enamored of the sing-song alliteration of singer/songwriter. The Wikipedia article on singer/songwriters is pretty good if you want a more in-depth definition and a nice list of the most prominent singer/songwriters.

Woody Guthrie’s picture is used as the graphic for the Wikipedia article. I always forget that  Woody Guthrie is considered one of the first American singer/songwriters.  His songs are so much a part of the American folk culture that I forget that he wrote them.  I added Arlo Guthrie’s new version of Pastures of Plenty to Acoustic Pie Radio recently.  It is the second of only two songs in the rotation that are not sung by the original songwriter.  Do you know the other?

2.  Ellis Paul (continued)

When I last wrote to you, I was on a train going to hear Ellis Paul at Russ & Julie’s House Concert series in Oak Park, CA.  Ellis Paul is the personification of the Boston school of urban, literate, individualistic singer/songwriters. The show was as wonderful as expected.  A great introduction to Ellis Paul is his new live album recorded at Eddie’s Attic in Atlanta A Summer Night in Georgia.  I just added several songs from it to the rotation on Acoustic Pie Radio including my favorite new Ellis Paul song “Hurricane Angel”. I listened to the song so much in my car that I now know all of the lyrics and sing a really, really bad harmony line in the chorus.

3. What’s New!

There’s a new photo gallery up on the website featuring local artists at Carol Branch’s house concert series in University City here in San Diego.  Carol hosts shows almost monthly in her home.  Just another passionate and tireless fan promoting the music and artists she loves.  I love that!

The Top 20 Songs on Acoustic Pie Radio for December have been tallied and posted.  Read all about it in the Jan. 3 blog.  Don’t forget that you can vote for your favorite songs while you’re listening to The Pie by clicking the Thumbs Up button on your player.

Thanks for reading!  As always, I love to hear from you!


Acoustic Pie Newsletter, November 2008

November 7, 2008

Hi, everybody!


I’m writing this from an Amtrack train on my way from Del Mar to Carpinteria.  My mom and I are going to hear Ellis Paul tonight at Russ & Julie’s famous house concert series.  Ellis Paul at a house concert.  Yes, I am very excited.   I’ve seen him at venues ten times as big as Russ and Julie’s house and it’s partly because they have such generous supporters who will underwrite an artist of this caliber that makes this possible for the rest of us.  Acoustic music fans are the best.  House concerts are the best.  I’ll let you know in the next newsletter just how wonderful it was.  And here’s what else is on my mind today!


  1. What’s New
  2. New Blog:  “Music Lessons ~ Killing the Joy”
  3. Jimmy Webb
  4. Show Blurb:  The Swell Season


1.      What’s New


I have a new Featured Artist at Acoustic Pie ~ Jakob Dylan.  I just loved his new album “Seeing Things”.  You can read a bit more, get links and photos, and view my two different favorite YouTube videos of Jakob on my MySpace page and at Acoustic Pie. 


Have you noticed the new “What’s New” corner of the Acoustic Pie home page?  Over on the left-hand side?  I’m trying to put a little note and link there whenever something new goes up on the website.  For example, I always place a link there when the new Top 20 for the month is posted.  


2.      New Blog:  “Music Lessons ~ Killing the Joy”


At an election party on Thursday night a man was telling me about his beautiful grand piano that sits in his living room and never gets played.  Ever.  He loves music.  He studied classical piano as a child.  He felt he should own a piano.  He believes he should play it.  But he isn’t drawn to play the difficult classical repertoire that he eventually came to appreciate, if not love, as a young person.  Don’t you hear this story all the time?  I find it so sad and so frustrating.  And that’s what my latest blog is about ~ teaching music to people in a way that will give them the tools for a lifelong connection to music.  I post all blogs at both MySpace and here at the Pie blog site in case you have a preference.


3.      Jimmy Webb


I don’t have the patience to note the time/date/radio frequency of specific radio shows and then try and remember to listen to them.  So I listen to Internet radio and XM satellite radio and just catch what comes.  Last night, I caught the most amazing show on XM’s The Loft.  The Mixed Bag Radio show was interviewing Jimmy Webb and Glen Campbell.  I’m a huge fan of Jimmy Webb’s songwriting and I even wrote a blog about his songwriting book Tunesmith which I called “What Jimmy Says”.  I think “Wichita Lineman” is about as pretty as a song gets and I can still be moved by the images and soaring chorus melody in “Galveston”.  Jimmy was giving his rather typically lengthy metaphysical descriptions of his processes while Glen kept saying very earnestly how he mostly focused on “trying to sing in tune”.  And then, without any introduction, they started playing “Wichita Lineman” live, right there in the studio.  Glen was singing and it was definitely Jimmy on the piano and I think Glen was playing the electric guitar leads.   It was beautiful and powerful and I felt like I was eavesdropping on a historic event.  And I felt so lucky to have caught that musical moment.  That’s what radio is all about.


4.      Show Blurb:  The Swell Season


My concert buddy Jimmy and I caught The Swell Season duo at the SDSU Open Air Theatre last month.  A very fun show!  Despite the concrete bleacher seats!   And House of Blues police-state management!  The Swell Season is Glen Hansard and Marketa Iglova of the movie “Once” fame.  They wrote and performed all of the songs for the very charming movie and played many of them along with some new works at the concert.  I can barely sit still for a full show with opening act any more but we even stayed for the encores and I was glad we did. 


Thanks for reading!  If you want to talk, you email me directly at or leave a public comment here on the blog!   



November 2008  


Acoustic Pie Newsletter, August 2008

August 25, 2008

Hi, Everybody!

I have such a good reason for having put off the newsletter these last few weeks! You see, I was planning to write this brilliant blog about music lessons. It would have been really enlightening as well as entertaining. And I decided to wait to send out this newsletter so that I could be sure and mention the blog to you. Yes, ok, so I never got around to writing the blog. Maybe next month?

Here’s what’s on my mind today:

1. New Featured Artist: Jonathan Byrd
2. Acoustic Pie Radio Turns 6 Years Old
3. Top 30 Songs for July
4. For Locals Only ~ Some San Diego Stuff

1. New Featured Artist: Jonathan Byrd

There’s a new featured artist on Acoustic Pie this month. On my first day at the Sisters Folk Festival last year, I kept noticing this handsome, lanky man in a cowboy hat wandering the streets of Sisters, OR. It turned out that Jonathan Byrd and I were on the same mission that afternoon ~ trying to find Sisters’ only coffee house (it’s a good one). And his first show at the Bronco Billy’s stage was a pure delight. I’m very happy that he’ll be performing at the festival again in a few weeks and I’m so looking forward to hearing him. This festival is logistically magical (if there is such a concept). It’s beautifully run and beautifully situated.

If you want more samples, there’s another Jonathan Byrd song and video posted on my MySpace page this month.

2. Acoustic Pie Radio Turns 6 Years Old

Yes, Acoustic Pie Radio celebrated its sixth birthday last month. The stream went live on July 17th, 2002. I started the radio stream because my two favorite Internet stations had gone off the air, the broadcasters were worried about increased fees from the new digital copyright laws. I started the station so that I could listen to my favorite singer/songwriters at work but what a treat it was to see that other people were soon beginning to listen as well. One of my very first fan letters came from Japan. I dug it up to share with you:

Hellow I love this station. I like this kind of
music. but also country & these days bluegrass
too. Send us more good music. Take care.
by Gonzo.

Well, it was pretty exciting at the time :) And I still love to hear from listeners and am always discovering new artists thanks to your recommendations.

3. Top 30 Songs for July

And speaking of your recommendations! Thanks to everybody who kept insisting I should watch the movie “Once”. You were right! I loved it and I loved the songs. I bought the Collector’s Edition of the album and added four songs to Acoustic Pie. And, as you can see, “If You Want Me” made it into the Top 20 for the month of July.

4. For Locals Only ~ Some San Diego Stuff

And speaking of the movie “Once”! The songwriting duo is coming to San Diego as The Swell Season on Friday, Oct. 3. Anybody wanna come with? I’m expecting it to be a wonderful show and am planning on making it the Pick of the Month.

Also, you may have noticed that I won’t be maintaining the local show calendar any more? There are now so many good resources for finding shows that I’m hoping you’ll hardly miss it.

If you’re still with me, thanks for reading! Let me know how you’re doing! You may write to me directly via email or post a public comment on the blog.


Acoustic Pie Newsletter, June 2008

June 28, 2008

Hi, Everybody!

We had enough new subscribers this month that I had this idea that, hm… maybe I should actually write a newsletter?

So here’s what’s on my mind today:

1. A Bit of Housekeeping
2. The Teitur and Helgi Hrafn Jonsson Show

1. A Bit of Housekeeping

A bit of housekeeping news: I sent last month’s blog as an emailed newsletter and I’ll be posting future newsletters here as blog entries. If you’d prefer to receive the newsletters as emails, you can subscribe here.

The Top 20 Songs are always posted each month on the website radio page: and you can now find the previous months’ Top 20 on this blog as well as in the MySpace blog at:

2. The Teitur and Helgi Hrafn Jonsson Show

I’ve been a fan of Teitur’s (a singer/songwriter hailing from the Faroe Islands) since his first show here in San Diego in Aug. 2004 [the new Google SEARCH button on the website is really handy for looking up stuff like that. Is anybody else using it?] Teitur’s May show at the Brick by Brick was my third time to hear him live. He had a fun and talented band with him ~ horns and backup singers and some occasional instruments I couldn’t exactly name :) The electric bass and drum set were too heavily and conventionally employed for my taste (Not to worry! I’m not going into that rant again. If you want to hear it again, you may read the latest rendition in last month’s post here ).

I’m a little disappointed in the direction Teitur is heading. The newest songs have an avant-garde feel, heavy on repetition, light on melody and not quite original enough to capture the imagination. His new album The Singer is in the same vein. I prefer the big melodies, simple arrangements, and thoughtful lyrics of his earlier work. But I do think it’s so important, especially for a young artist, to experiment and explore and follow his latest passions and curiosities where they lead. And I predict an assimilation of the best of the earlier and later writing in the future work of this bright and talented songwriter.

But! The highlight of the show was the last minute addition of a set from Teitur’s trombone playing back-up singer Helgi Jonsson, an Iceland native. Oh my gosh! He sings like an angel and he opened his set with an angelic, a capella, folk-tinged song that brought the noisy bar to a hush such as I’ve never heard there before. For the rest of his set he mostly played solo, accompanying himself with his acoustic guitar, and it was equally compelling.

is the best place to try out his songs; I recommend
Ashes Away” (a somewhat operatic, piano-based song), “Dry Run” (a simple and appealing acoustic guitar based song) and “Goandi” (soaring melody and some dramatic string arrangements; kind of reminds me a bit of Andrew Lloyd Webber). And there are a few videos on YouTube that can give you a sense of his charisma and stage presence here.

If Helgi actually had a CD available or a solo tour scheduled, I believe I’d place him on the home page as the Featured Artist. Maybe some day!

Thanks for reading! I always love to hear from you! You can leave a comment to share with everyone or email me at