A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of performing at the home of a dear friend of myself and Mary Ellen, Kirk Woodward. Kirk is a prolific writer and director, as well as a life-long scholar of theater and music.
Among Kirk’s many endeavors is a band of musical brothers who christened themselves The Foggy Minded Boys. Isn’t that one of the best names you’ve ever heard for a band “of a certain age”? How to describe them? I’d say: The Smothers Brothers meets Mumford and Sons. Lending great vocal harmonies to a mix of bluegrass, country, folk and rock, including some original tunes, they emphasize up-tempo numbers and comedy.
While essentially a group of guys who enjoy playing music on the weekends, these particular guys are on a mission to give back to their community at the same time. Refusing compensation, they provide free entertainment to not-for-profit organizations. To date, they have given nearly a hundred performances for churches, hospitals, nursing homes, charitable fundraisers and other public events, including our own Pomona (NY) Music Festival.
The Foggies first got together at a coffeehouse at the Central Presbyterian Church in Montclair, New Jersey in 2003. Starting with four vocalists – Bob Bockstiegel (banjo), Neal Day, Bill Weeks and Kirk Woodward (keyboards and musical direction) – they later added Larry Frick (guitar) and McPaul Smith (bass), with frequent appearances by Bob Whiteley (bass) and Rick Van Horn (drums). In 2015 they also began working with Jane Alenbach, Martha Day, and Barbara Sabella, a vocal trio skilled in close harmonies and inevitably known as the Foggettes.
Most of the Foggies and Foggettes were in attendance the night of my house concert. So, singing along was a given with such an outgoing and talented group in the audience. When I took a break Kirk sat down at the piano, a banjo and guitar were quickly tuned, and The Foggy Minded Boys took over the living room with their hilarious original theme song penned by Kirk. (Listen here.) They followed up with the gospel tune “Dancing With the Angels” (watch a clip) and a spirited version of Ray Stevens’ “Would Jesus Wear a Rolex?”
This night epitomized what playing music is all about. Kirk’s family and household have always overflowed with creative energy. So, it was a particular joy to be part of this evening, singing and exchanging sets with such a warm and close-knit musical community. Play on, Foggies!