Welcome

Welcome to the website for Rick Drost, a Singer/Songwriter based in Cambridge, MA.  Here you'll find
- Schedule information, 
- Recent tunes with lyrics,  
- Photos -both of performances that kind folks have contributed, and some that I try to collect whenever I go someplace to sing.
- There's Biographical information, Contact Information, A mailing list if you're interested.
- I'll try to post infrequent musings on various subjects in the blog.

Mostly, enjoy the tunes - i write slowly; hopefully the tunes reward repeated listening.
Thanks for dropping by.

For Valentine's Day - From Public Garden Swans to All Lovers 

A while ago the Boston Globe published a story on the swans in the Public Garden.  It turns out that the swans, known the world over as Romeo and Juliet,  are in fact two females, and even hetero swan couples trade off on the normal gender-related roles.   I went down to meet the swans, fell in love with their easy tranquility and their exquisite surroundings. I visited them morning, noon, and evening, (it was summer) and wrote them this valentine, Juli and Romy.

Here's the MP3 Turning the World, released last year.

Juli and Romy from "Turning the World"; John Shain production; Kaitlin Grady Cello

 Happy Valentine's day, all!

 

 

Dad Built us a Freezer 

My father Wilfred passed on on Feb 11 at 96, in a nursing home in Atlanta where he was well cared for.  Many of the family sang songs at his Memorial service, but there was more to this man than love of music. This note started in one of my "daily writings" a year ago; I'm hoping it captures some of Dad's character, his positive problem-solving character and love of life and family.

Dad Built us a Freezer 

What can you do in 1953 with Oak and Masonite and Aluminum Sheeting and Cork and Copper Tubing and an old used compressor and a lot of know-how? 
Build a freezer for your family in your basement. 

My father was an engineer, a  master of know-how. For work he designed and built equipment to implement chemical processes - processes as diverse as fabricating star sapphires and rubies to making little beads of treated clay that keep your refrigerator coolant dry and your double pane windows clear. Dad worked for Linde Air Products, which got its start cooling, liquefying  and separating air into its components. Freezers of all sizes abounded there, as well as good people to learn from. 

Since family came first, here's my guess about how this started in his mind. "Wow, this refrigeration equipment is actually pretty simple. Just an insulated box with cooling coils and a compressor. If I could build one in for the basement Mom could put up food from the garden and local orchards that we love in the summer, and we could buy food in bulk too and keep it in there, and have it all winter." 
So he built from scratch a home freezer (we called it a deep freeze) which ran in the basement from about 1954 until they moved to Alabama in 1968.  So for the forty days and forty nights of the snowy Buffalo winter we (Mom, Dad, Paul, Rickey, Martha, Barbie, and later Ellen) had strawberries, steaks, venison, quick frozen fish, green beens, even corn on the cob from that freezer. I have no idea what the people who bought the house thought of it. It certainly didn't look like anything Betty Furness would have advertised. 

It was a large box, in cubits, roughly 5 long by 3 high by 2.5 deep. (maybe 8' by 4.5' by 3.5' ), Masonite painted white on the outside on a frame of varnished oak. I remember him showing us when he placed the dark, creosote-y smelling cork blocks inside for insulation; he even let me put one in. Then it was lined with aluminum sheeting. Then copper cooling coils, all around inside, about halfway up, and a copper quick-freeze plate on the left end.  I don't remember where the coils were fabricated. He probably had a friend from the lab make them to spec in HIS home workshop; he might have done it all while we were sleeping, at least assembling it from parts.  He could handle all kinds of torches to at least do finish fitting on the coils. Rubber gaskets sealed it all around the frame at the top.  The top was the same composition as the box itself, Hinged, not spring loaded at all.   There was a big cast iron ring in the center of the top.  It took us two boys to open it - one would start lifting it with the ring, standing on the step of 2x8 that he'd built running the length of the box, the other caught it and lifted from the top of the basement steps to push the top to the back wall.   Same way back down. Always with care.  The compressor was a huge thing looking like it might have come from Carl von Linde's workshop.  It was outboard of the box under the back basement stairs, with a trap door cut in the top platform for maintenance access. I only remember one time we had to maintain that compressor.  They don't make anything like they used to. The steps of the stairs were also all hinged to make storage for all the kids' winter boots and skates. 

Elementary and Junior high summers, then, the boys had a popsicle business out of the freezer. Dad had found moulds, showed us how to mix Koolaid, cut and smooth sticks from dowels and tongue depressors. At peak times we'd set the alarm for 1am, go down there to wrap one batch and reload the moulds, getting up early so we could repeat the exercise before school. We sold them on our bikes around the neighborhood for 2c and 3c for the larger ones. Bought Koolaid and raw materials for sticks with the proceeds. Dad estimated what we would have to pay for the electric to get the freezing done, but I don't think we ever paid but once. Or made any real money. But the goodwill of the business might have kept us out of some neighborhood water balloon wars. 

There were other do-it-yourself projects that yielded things that kept us kids occupied and amused - the little boats for the boys made from 50 gallon oil drum cut in half. The pump and pump house down by the creek, with buried lines with which we kept the garden and the flowers watered, the Cable Car strung down the hill between the big oaks, which let us send rocks and other materials down the hill to the creek and garden level in a wheelbarrow harness, and gave us rides sometimes, the tow rope hanging from the big oak down by the creek which we could swing on, the archery butt against the hill behind the house. 

All these things he showed us gave us confidence we could figure out how to do things and find help getting them done that could improve our lives.  Dad didn't do it expecting praise. He never stood on a hilltop saying "I built a freezer", "I made star sapphires", "I can play Claire de Lune". He just continued producing things of utility and beauty to improve the lives of people around him, and  enjoying every moment of it all that he could take in.

Turning the World: CD
  • Turning the World: CD
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$15.00

Turning the World, Rick Drost's debut solo album, represents a lifetime of Rick's songwriting and storytelling. The songs deal with jilted lovers, an iconic swan couple in Boston's Public Garden, leftover lobsters, home & family, and hope.

Produced by Jon Shain and engineered by FJ Ventre, (Durham, NC) who add guitars and basses to Rick's fingerpicked guitar and vocals on most tracks; Guest musicians include Kaitlin Grady (cello), Ed Butler (percussion), pianist and composer Doug Hammer (piano), Chris Frank (accordion,soprano sax) and Bill Newton (harmonica) Turning the World - Tracks

(Rick: Guitar and Vocals, all tracks; FJ Ventre Basses, all tracks) 1. Don't Remember Train (3:37) - started in a dream; Rick hasn't awakened yet; percussion; 2. Turning the World (4:52) - Starts in the Australian outback, comes around the world and back home; a song for peace, and listening to each other; cello. 3. Old Player Piano (4:26) - dedication to playing music; nostalgia and beyond. Piano, Accordion 4. Wyethstown (4:39) - from the standpoint of a woman coming of age in the Boston valley area of Western New York, ca. 1850; cello 5. Got a Little Corner (3:35) - faux-country song from a jilted lover to his rival. Harmonica; FJ and Jon Vocal backup 6. Pictures on the Wall (4:37) - a song of letting go, or not. guitars, bass, piano 7. Revendon (4:30) - an ode to misspent youth; bowed bass, piano 8. Lucky Lobster Rag (4:00) - Celebration of Whole Foods' (imagined) treatment of live lobsters they decided it was immoral to sell. Soprano Sax; percussion; Jon and FJ the "lobster chorus" 9. Juli and Romy (4:37) - Valentine to the pair of female swans in the Boston Public Garden, known the world over as Romeo and Juliet. cello; accordion 10. Still Point (5:01) - an ode to meditation - where it comes from, how it starts, how useful it is. Piano, Bass 11. Buffalo (3:01) - semiautobiographical rocker, with Jon: Guitar, Doug:Piano; Ed: percussion 12. Seasons Search 5:38 - Rick's Saga Song; Jon: mood guitar, Kaitlin: cello; FJ: bass and keyboards

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Previous events

ITR at New Morning Market Series

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New Morning Market, 129 Main St N, Woodbury, CT

Summer songs friend Mitch Katz has invited me to be one of four songwriters In the Round at this popular Woodbury CT series. I will sing with Lui Collins, Jim Pospisil, and Teri Scheinzeit.

Hoping to see some Summies and CT friends there.

Check these folks out- Looking forward to an interesting evening of music jimpospisil.wordpress.com (Hudson Valley) luicollins.com (Western MA) terisongs.com (Schenectady, NY)

Set at VOP- Fresh Roasted Poetry

Snowy Owl Coffee Roasters, 2624 Main St (6A), Brewster, MA

Neil Silberblatt has invited me to sing at a Voices of Poetry Event at the Snowy Owl in Brewster, MA

Featured poets are: Marita Davis Alice Kociemba Tzynya L. Pinchback Lynn Spigelmire Viti

I'll sing a set of songs as the featured musician.

Suggested donation $15

Mar5

Rick Drost feature at Groton Songwriter ShowCase & Open Mic

Groton Congregational Church, 162 Monument St, Groton, CT

Thanks Bill Pere for inviting me back to feature at this open mike down the street from the monument/old fort overlooking the Thames River. Program begins at 7pm, show up early around 6.30) My 20-30 min set is around 8:15

Feb23

Open for Linda Marks At 19 Carter

19 Carter Community center, 19 Carter, Berlin, MA

Opening for Linda Marks and company in this beautiful community center in Berlin. I'll do a 30 minute set and Linda and her band will entertain with A 75 minute set, for a full evening of music.

I've enjoyed playing open mic here and am thrilled to be playing a longer set.

Lindamarksmusic.com

Feb19

Opening for Gina Forsyth at Keene Valley CC

Keene Valley Congregational Church, 179 NY 73, Keene Valley, NY

Nancy Emrich is presenting New Orleans- based Musician Gina Forsyth (one of my Folk Alliance Favorites!) at Keene Valley Congregational Church in the Adirondacks. Pleased to be doing an opening set for her in this picturesque Adirondack Church.

Thanks Nancy, and KVCC for this opportunity.

$15 suggested donation. http://ginaforsyth.bpt.me for advance tickets www.GinaForsyth.com for Gina's website. www.lilfest.com for Other Lilfest events

Feb13

Sets at Folk Alliance Montreal

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Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, Montreal, PQ

Coming to FAI Montreal this year, will help Nancy Emrich Freeman run her Private Showcase Room and sing some longer sets: Wed 2AM 30 min 319 (Lilfest) Parenthese

Thu 11pm 25 min 553 Access Film/Rocky Mt

Fri 1.30 AM 30 min 319 (Lilfest) Parentheses

Sat 2AM 25min 553 Access Film/Rocky Mt.

Feb11

Feature at Roslindale Open Mic

ROM - Boston school of English, 814 South St , Roslindale MA

Happy to be featuring at this venerable Open Mic which I have attended many times over the years. Thanks Neal Braverman for inviting me to this volunteer community event. Some Details: Doors 6PM. Random Drawing for slots 6:40. Music starts at 7. Feature about 8.30. further details at http://www.roslindaleopenmike.org/details.html

Come listen and share a song!

Note Location Change (it's actually been moved for a while)

Jan21

Feature at Cantab Open Mic

Cantab Lounge, 738 Mass Ave, Cambridge Ma

Featuring at Geoff Bartley's long-running open mic at the Cantab. Been there a few times recently to hear friends, make new ones, and sing some tunes; now's my chance to sing a full set to you all. 45 minute set at 9.30

Signup 7.30. Fills up Fast. Music 8. Geoff will give firsttimers an early slot. $3 in the money hat, your name in the signup hat. Hope to See You!

Loop at the Armory

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Cafe at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA

I'll be one of five songwriters featuring at John Marks' Loop for the month of December. Cafe is cozy with drinks and sandwiches and coffee, free parking out back. Always a good time. Max Kennedy Roberta Lamb Bill Dwyer Haley Chic

Dec8

Set at Festival of Trees, Wolfeboro NH

Wright Museum, 77 Center Street, Wolfeboro, NH

I'll sing an hour set at 1 PM at this community festival in the Wright Museum. A Christmas tradition, now, for me. Local groups decorate trees around the museum; Lew and Linda Williams invite local musicians during open hours to sing in the big hall. Proceeds given to local charities. Proud to be invited again. festival open Sat 10-3 and Sun 10-2 dec 8-9, 15, 16 see website for details

wolfeborofestivaloftrees.com

Dec2

Set at Thanks for the Giving IV

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UU Chatham, Chatham, MA

Neil Silberblatt and Edmund Robinson, pastor of UU Chatham are inviting poets, songwriters, musicians to a celebration of the season. So glad to be among so many fine friends on the Cape this time of year.

Nov24

Feature at Expresso Yourself Open Mic

Expresso Yourself - First Parish UU, 26 North St, Medfield, MA

Grateful to be featuring at this Open Mic in First Parish UU, Medfield. The Theme chosen for the evening is "Gratitude".

Poets, storytellers, musicians, singer/songwriters all welcome for 6 minute open Mic slots. Doors at 7 PM. I'll sing a longish set of originals after the open mic. The evening finishes at 9.

Come on out a share some performance art, or just relax and listen.

Nov18

Songwriter showcase at Armory Cafe

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Cafe at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA

Happy to join the Arndt Family Singers and Audrey Rose to the Armory Cafe for an Afternoon show in a favorite nearby venue. We'll each do half hour sets.

We promise you a mellow afternoon of music. audreyrosemusic.com businesslessonsfromrock.com

Here's some bio for the Arndt Family Singers:

The Arndt Family Singers are 15-year old Abigail Arndt, mother Margaret, and god-father John O’Leary. Abigail and her mom have been singing at parties forever and, joined by slide guitarist John, have been in demand for PorchFests, house concerts, and restaurants in recent years. Abigail and Margaret also sing in the Boston-based Family Folk Chorale, while John has been a singer/songwriter/bandleader for decades, opening for R&R Hall of Fame acts. Together they perform an eclectic repertoire of rootsy songs by Stephen Foster, Boudleaux Bryant, Stephen Sondheim, Karla Bonoff. Richard Thompson, Kirtana, and Warren Zevon.