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At around 1:00 on Sunday afternoon, clouds in the sky above the 2008 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival cast an ominous pall and the wind gathered strength. Wea€™ve never forgotten Phila€™s (and Jeffa€™s) buoyant spirit that day, coming hand-in-hand with his amazing voice and inspiring songs.
With the advent of his new album Robots and Romance (folkier than the title might suggest), ita€™s time to give the man his props. Phil was born in 1975 in Saranack Lake, New York, a part of the Adirondack mountain region. Phil sang in school choir from 3rd grade on and additionally, picked up trumpet study in the 6th grade. He describes himself at that time as a a€?closet writer.a€? Phil decided that, if he couldna€™t play songs on the radio, hea€™d write his own. After high school, Phil attended college at SUNY in Potsdam, New York, up near the Canadian border. After graduation, he taught chorus and a a€?general music classa€? at a middle school in Ticonderoga, New York. Back in New York someone had given him a tape by Martin Sexton, and later, in Burlington Vermont, he caught one of Martina€™s live shows.
The lyrics to a€?Open Range,a€? one of the favorites for this author, contain the album title. No mere navel-gazer, Phil shows on this CD that he can generate stories a€?from the ground up,a€? using outside stimuli. While Phil continues to follow a career as a performer, he is also very proud of the job he does as a teacher in the Vermont school system, instilling the love of music in his students. Wea€™re guessing that Phila€™s innovative approach continues to pay dividends in helping him to build on his already-considerable performance talents. The last few performers to play their showcases at the Acoustic Live booth gathered inside as rain fell. As hail, carried on a 70 mile-per-hour wind, buffeted our shelter, Phila€™s sideman, Jeff Kimball, sang a song about the Titanic. When the wind subsided, it was still raining, and Phil and Jeff announced that theya€™d play their set.
Since 2005, hea€™s been a valued performer in every Falcon Ridge and NERFA showcase wea€™ve held. He played trumpet through high school in both the jazz and marching bands, thereby achieving full band geekdom (as opposed to the author, who achieved geek status while throwing spitballs in study hall). Crane School of Music, a part of SUNY at that location, is certified for Music Education, and that became Phila€™s major. While there, hea€™d drive one-and-one-half hours each way once a week to play the open mics at Caffe Lena, in Saratoga. In 2005, he was selected as one of the 25 a€?Emerging Artistsa€? at Falcon Ridge, picked to play two songs at the Friday afternoon showcase. Around the campfires, into the wee hours of the morning, he soaked up the songs of players, many with hundreds more miles on their tire treads. While the themes deal with contemporary issues, theya€™re expressed with the traditional tools of acoustic guitar, banjo and mandolin.
The opening track, a€?Drive-ina€?(and cover art) is a call to remember the pleasures of a now-disappeared form of recreation. After a robbery occurred a few blocks from where he lives, he wrote a€?Hold Upa€? from the viewpoint of a desperate man needing to care for a sick wife.
Another fascinating song-profile is a€?Annie Hold On,a€? an ode to photographer Annie Liebovitz.
In my t-shirt, I was chilled to the bone, but I wasna€™t about to run out to the car for a sweatshirt.
At each showcase he played for us, in addition to his stellar voice, wea€™d invariably hear a melody that seemed ready for radio airplay, a cut above our average showcase performer.
There was instrument training, enabling students to teach different instruments and weekly vocal lessons. In Martin, he saw a€?folk music with a rock attitude.a€? After this, he began writing in earnest. Or a crash in a rented DeVille.a€? The central figure tells the listener to look for his demise in an old cowboy film on TV during a couch-potato Saturday afternoon.
Phil had noticed that the photo in the newspaper looked a lot like him (his co-workers did also, generating a lot of teasing). Almost a doo-wop number, ita€™s done a capella in harmony with hand claps as the only accompaniment. As he states: a€?One big thing that I offer my students that many schools dona€™t is that we put on a coffeehouse concert twice a year with my Middle School and High School chorus students. Or a crash in a rented DeVille.a€?A  The central figure tells the listener to look for his demise in an old cowboy film on TV during a couch-potato Saturday afternoon.
The performers played their songs under one canopy while the sparse audience spread out under that one and a second canopy tethered to the first.
Renown jazz pianist Dave Brubeck visited and played a new piece of music he had written, with the choir accompanying him. He spent time alone, a€?woodshedding.a€? Phil recorded each song he wrote into a tape recorder.


He finishes with, a€?I thought Ia€™d follow in the gunslingera€™s path, but theya€™re all in some Hollywood grave.
They get experience choosing a song, rehearsing it with guitar or piano players, using microphones, talking to an audience a€¦ These are skills I didna€™t learn until I was out of college, and ones that I use all the time.
One inch of ice in 3 days !!!It wasreal windy most of the day and I spent more time in the EskimoQuick Fish 3.The two holes in the shelter provided some steady action for perch and bluegills. We sang along to the Titanic song, laughing as the situation (we hoped) seemed like a miniature version of a sinking ship.
More often than not, his smiling face would be the first to greet us on day one, when we pulled into the parking lot at the festival, as he directed cars into the proper lane. Hea€™d practice on an acoustic guitar at home but would play an electric when he jammed with his friends.
Never a huge fan of classical music, Phil said he felt a€?out of place.a€? Nevertheless, Phil graduated with a degree in Music Education in 1997.
Phil came to my attention that year, as someone to watch, after he asked to play a showcase slot at the Acoustic Live booth at Falcon Ridge. Suddenly the rain turned to hail and the wind ferociously pushed and pulled at our shelter, threatening to yank it out of the ground. For his closer, in a clear, high tenor, Phil sang his song "WQRZ,a€? about a radio station in Hancock, Mississippi, devastated by Hurricane Katrina, manned by a DJ who stayed behind to give out needed information, while others fled. The death lull kicked in around1230 and fishing picked back up again at 3pm.I landed the usual residents of the lake-- a few trout, afew nice crappies, perch and gills.
It carried some resonance given our own (much less dire) situation and very typical of Phila€™s propensity to see larger societal issues and craft songs about them to sing in his clarion voice. Phil has played at every one of the Acoustic Live Falcon Ridge and NERFA guerilla showcases ever since. At 1:55, a blurry picture I took shows audience members gripping the struts of the canopy to keep our structure from blowing away.
Another photo, also marked 1:55, focussed outside shows other vendor booths totally closed, their sidewalls violently billowing and rippling in the wind. Another photo, also marked 1:55,A  focussed outside shows other vendor booths totally closed, their sidewalls violently billowing and rippling in the wind. Plenty ofpanfish with a few perch hitting the 9-inch mark and a crappie thatwas almost 10 inches.I caught trout sporadically throughout the day, ending with 9. Teddy told me the lake is completed covered and the ice might be about 1 inch orso.Teddy has patrolled and lived next toAntietam Lakealmostall his life and he knows the lake. There isplenty of rainfall predicted for that area.Most of the fish sitting in the estuary should be entering the river as I type this. Anglers tend to give you space, the scenery is beautiful and the Osprey's always put on a show. Wednesday was spent in the upper fly zone and wasslow in the morning but pretty consistent in the afternoon. Ialso landed a smallmouth bass, a few small brown trout, afew small rainbows (steelhead smolts ?), a fallfishand a baby AtlanticSalmon. The Mohawk egg pattern accounted for many smaller fish and the salmon sized Light Spruce fly produced a few hookups. Last years--One Day Trip-- hot fly,Olive bugger with White marabou tail and redcrystal flash also received plenty of attention and did account for 2 fish.
The guyI was fishing withused plenty of flies with smaller bucktail flies doing most of the damage. He didhook-up with a few fish while usingmy Death Stonefly, landing one nice Coho.I can tell you this---the next few weeks will provide some serious action.
There are fish in the system at this moment and with the water release at 1800 CFS and the rain. The pool we were fishing was loaded with suckers and chubs and I did see a few trout and a couple of nice sized smallmouth bass. Any questions as to what to tie, just shoot me an email or use the Contact 2Bonthewater page.
All that cold water coming from a quarry and the creek itself in that area is near lifeless.
The bridge is now being painted a Hunter Green color.Most of the creeks in the OleyValley are really low. Even with the rain, the creeks remain very low.A I have a trip scheduled to the Salmon River planned inlate September thanks to Jack. Without Jack's kindness and awesomeness, I would not be going salmon fishing.A I have startedtyingflies for the upcoming salmon trip. Zoe competed in a National Beauty pageant and won honorable mention in the beauty competition (FYI -- Zoe wears no make-up, fake hairor fake teethand she competes in the natural division--she is my little girl and I would never DRESS HER UP like all those crazy folks you see on TV).
We dressed as fishermen, answered a question about each other and then Zoe did some fly casting on stage. Zoe was crowned Little Queen when she won the Pennsylvania state pageant back in 2006 while competing in a Sunburst pageant.
There are plenty of out of the way smaller streams that are teeming with Smallmouths, Carp and a variety of Panfish. Perkiomen Creek -- air temp 89 degrees, checked the temperature at two spots, temps were 70 and 69 degrees -- Taken between 415-425 pmA Manatawny Creek -- air temp was 88 degrees, checked the temperature at three spots, temps were 76 degrees at Red Covered Bridge, 74 degrees above TIKI bar and 76 degrees below the Rt.


This heatwave has made most ofthe local trout streams too warm to fishfor the catch and release angler.
Maiden Creek below Ontelaunee Lake should provide anglers with some fishthat are willing to bite.
You can find Carp, Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bassand a wide assortment of panfish to keep you busy. Take some cold water with you !!!Your best way to keep the water cool is to freeze a bottle or two of water the night before you head out.
As the day heats up, the water bottles will slowly melt, leaving you with nice cold waterto drink throughout the day.
I fished for 30-minutes on Manatawny and landed 2 wild browns on a tan caddis dry fly in the area where the water temp was 68 degrees.
Temperature wise, if it is 90 degrees outside, pretty sure most, if not all of the local trout waters will be at 70 degrees or higher. We don't wantto kill the trout.The trout that survive through the summer will offerus great fishing in the fall. I have not made a trip to the Schuylkill River as of yet, but I'd bet the house that the smallie action should be pretty darn good. You can also takeyour watercraft outbefore Epler atCross Keys Road or at Muhlenburg Township park which is below the PFBC Epler Access.
There is little room to fish, unless you don't mind walking the shoreline that is covered with all types of vegetation, including Poison Ivy.
Pleny of fish to be caught in this body of water, that is if you can get to them.A Manatawny Creek fished OK. This stretch used to provide some very nice smallmouth action, but the last few trips here have been poor. Switched to a spent spinner pattern and hooked up twice--snapped one off and landed a nice stocker brown.
The water is up from recent rains inthe valley, but the stream was clear and in perfect condition. The Schuylkill River and a few tribs shouldprovide any cat or carp angler with a few bites each nite.
Channel catfish prefer dead baits andsmaller live bait, while the Flatheads prefer larger live bait. Carp will eatsmaller live bait including minnows andcrayfish along with the standard fare of homemade MUSH bait or whole kernel corn.The bottom line is--It doesn't really matter what bait you areusing.
But, by now it was pitch black and it was raining pretty good and thelightning made it look like the 4th of July came early.I managed to land 2 fish on my emerger pattern androll 2 other trout. Started out at the mouth of Sacony Creek but there was some serious bridge work going on, so I left after a few casts. Caught some nice bluegills, onebrown trout, pumpkinseeds, green sunfish, agolden shiner and I almost hooked into a very nice largemouth bass. Kids and water mean plenty of noise,lots of splashing and lots offun.Normally, 750pm is about the timethe sulphurs start popping off. I saw some Iso's and huge stoneflies coming off and flying around.I caught a trophy Bluegill, no kidding check out the picture, almost 9 inches. I left my headlamp in the truck so I had to walkout before it got too dark and miss the potential spinner fall.
I then drove to another stretch of the crick and hooked up a few times fishing a brown spent spinner.
I lost them at the bank.A Fish the mornings with a brown or white spent spinner and you might get a few takes on the surface.
My favorite is a "John's Spring Creek Pupa" tied in size 18 and 20 (Trout Flies of The East--page 93). I caught two brookies on a CDC sulphur dry fly and the rest of the fish were caught with nymphs. What an amazing fish, especially on a 2 wt bamboo fly rod with a fly reel that is dated to the 1930's or 1940's. What a specimen.He looked like a submarine swimming in the water !!My first impression of the leviathan is that it was a wild fish.
Tonights fishing provided a mixed bag of fish, a few smallwild brown trout, along with a few stocker browns, stockerrainbows and the brook trout. I topped it all off with a visit to Ted's house to show off the bamboo fly rod and talk shop. It was about 40 degrees and raining.I didroll a larger fish on a midge, but aside from that, it was a very slow night. Cast down and across and hop the flies upoff the bottom with quick upward lifts of the fly rod.The fish would really strike hard. I still have not figured out whyone day I will catch all browns, one day I will catch all rainbows and some days, you will catch a little of everything.



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