Copyright © 2008-11 Flagpole Productions.

The Flagpole Radio Café

   is a lively variety show presented by Flagpole Productions™
in association with the Newtown Cultural Arts Commission

Flagpole Radio Café  Press Release


September 6, 2010





Newtown, CT - the Newtown Cultural Arts Commission is pleased to announce that tickets and subscriptions for the third season of The Flagpole Radio Café are now on sale.  The performance dates are September 25, November 6,  December 4, February 5, March 19 and May 21 in the Edmond Town Hall Theatre at 7pm.  Ticket prices are $18 for adults,  $15 for students and senior citizens.  A subscription for all six shows can be purchased for $90 for adults; $72 for students and senior citizens.  Tickets and subscriptions can be purchased online at The Flagpole Radio Café.

 Executive Producer Martin Blanco notes, “We are beginning our third season still thrilled from our finale from season two where guest artist Pete Yarrow performed to a full audience and had such a wonderful time that he remarked ‘This was the best thing I’ve done in years.  I wish I could bottle this show as it is, and take it on the road.’  Building on the success of this show, we have engaged a number of acclaimed musicians to appear this season beginning with the incomparable Ramblin’ Jack Elliot  on September 25th.”

  In addition to blues and country music legend Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, The Flagpole Radio Café will feature singer-songwriter Tom Chapin on November 6, Betheny Yarrow, daughter of Peter Yarrow, on February 5 and singer-songwriter-story teller Christine Lavin on March 19.   Guest artists for the December 4 and May 21 performances will be announced shortly.

One of the last true links to the great folk traditions of this country, with over 40 albums under his belt, Ramblin' Jack Elliott is considered one of the country's legendary foundations of folk music.  In the tradition of roving troubadours Ramblin’ Jack  has carried the seeds and pollens of story and song for decades from one place to another, from one generation to the next. They are timeless songs that outlast whatever current musical fashion strikes today's fancy.  

            Ramblin’ Jack Elliot ran away from his Brooklyn home at fourteen to join the rodeo and learned is guitar from a cowboy.  In 1950, he met Woody Guthrie, moved in with the Guthrie family and traveled with Woody to California and Florida, from the redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters. Jack became so enthralled with the life and composer of This Land Is Your Land, The Dust Bowl Ballads, and a wealth of children's songs that he completely absorbed the inflections and mannerisms, leading Guthrie to remark, "Jack sounds more like me than I do."

            In 1954, along with folksinging pals Frank Robinson and Guy Carawan, Jack journeyed south through Appalachia, Nashville and to New Orleans to hear authentic American country music.  He later made this the basis for his talking song, 912 Greens.  In 1955 Jack married and traveled to Europe, bringing his genuine American folk, cowboy and blues repertoire and his guitar virtuosity, inspiring a new generation of budding British rockers, from Mick Jagger to Eric Clapton. When he returned to America in 1961, he met another young folksinger, Bob Dylan at Woody Guthrie's bedside, and mentored Bob. Jack has continued as an inspiration for every roots-inspired performer since. 

            Along the way he learned the blues first-hand from Leadbelly, Mississippi John Hurt, the Reverend Gary Davis, Big Bill Broonzy, Brownie Mcghee and Sonny Terry, Jesse Fuller and Champion Jack Dupree. 

            He has recorded forty albums; wrote one of the first trucking songs, Cup of Coffee, recorded by Johnny Cash; championed the works of new singer-songwriters, from Bob Dylan and Kris Kristofferson to Tim Hardin; became a founding member of Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue; and continued the life of the traveling troubadour influencing Jerry Jeff Walker, Guy Clark, Tom Russell The Grateful Dead and countless others.

            In 1995, Ramblin' Jack Elliot received his first of four Grammy Award nominations and the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album, for South Coast (Red House Records). 
In 1998, President Bill Clinton awarded Jack the National Medal of the Arts, proclaiming, "In giving new life to our most valuable musical traditions, Ramblin' Jack has himself become an American treasure."

For those not acquainted with The Flagpole Radio Café, it is an engaging variety show created by Jim Allyn, Martin Blanco and Barbara Gaines in conjunction with the Newtown Cultural Arts Commission. It features music by Jim Allyn and the Flagpole Radio Café Orchestra, a dynamic ensemble created for the show, and radio style comedy sketches by the hyperbolically named Flagpole Shakespeare Repertory Theatre. The Flagpole Radio Cafe is hosted by musician and radio personality Chris Teskey, who also broadcasts the show on his celebrated program on WPKN radio. Each show features a musical guest artist such as Peter Yarrow, Vanesse Thomas, Phil Bowler and Yale’s internationally acclaimed male choir The Whiffenpoofs.