Hello friends,

It’s been a while since I’ve sent out a newsletter and I don’t have a good excuse. Today here at home, it got up to 60 degrees and you could almost sit and watch the grass getting greener.

 
   
 
A
Winter Travel
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I don’t usually travel much in the winter, but January, February and early March have been very hectic including a trip out to Los Angeles for the Grammys. As some of you may know, my recording The Best Candy in the Whole World was nominated for Best Spoken Word Recording for Children. And if you know that, you also probably know I lost to Julie Andrews. It was hard to be too upset. If you want to read more about it, you can check out my blog post here. I had a great time and met some really interesting people – wish you all could have been there with me.

I also had a great trip to the mountain West. I got some cross-country skis, threw them in the car, and traveled through Utah to Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado, skiing whenever I got the chance. I met some great people and have fond memories. 

 
   
A What I'm up to A
 

I’m working on a number of projects now, trying to juggle it all. These include:

1) recording of folks songs (halfway through)

2) kid’s novel (1/3 way through)

3) an orchestral setting of Jack and the Beanstalk

4) a bunch of new songs and stories for performance, including a sequel to “The Great Sled Race” – but this time about the high dive at the public swimming pool.

5) something else that I can’t think of

 
   
  Storytelling and Schools  
 

I have found myself spending more time talking to teachers and educators about the importance of story and song and it’s been very rewarding. In addition, I did some filming of my work with elementary school students on storytelling – I hope we can get that edited into some form and make it available. All of this is confirming and reinforcing my belief in the importance of story and storytelling. In the next year or so, I hope to do a lot more writing and speaking on that subject.

 

And then, sing and tell stories about underwear.

 
 
 
  Books  
 

I really liked Patti Smith’s book Just Kids about her coming of age as an artist and her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe. Also, thanks to my friend and mentor David Kranes, I enjoyed Sarah Orne Jewett’s book The Country of Pointed Firs. Debbie and I both loved Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. Mysteries have included The Private Patient by P.D. James and (again) The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammet. For those interested in the study of story, I highly recommend On the Origin of Stories by Brian Boyd – he argues that the ability to create and tell stories is actually a step in our evolutionary development. Pretty interesting (at least for me). And finally, I really enjoyed At Home in the World by Michael Jackson, about aboriginal folks in Australia.

Debbie's Books:

I've been on a roll this winter - for some reason reading more than quilting....hmmm. Anyway my favorites include: Cutting for Stone, The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, Room by Emma Donoghue, But This is Different by Mary Walker Baron (not at Amazon but I LOVED THIS BOOK!) Sarah's Key by Tatiana DeRosnay and for some light but funny reading I’m in the middle of As Husbands Go by Susan Isaacs and am listening to How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez. Enjoy!!

 
   
  Final Thoughts  
 

The events in Japan are very much on my mind right now, and I find myself thinking a lot about our place on the planet. Regardless of our particular feelings about nuclear power, or oil, or coal, it’s pretty safe to say we’ll all be better off if we try to reduce our energy use. I’m taking this very much to heart and thinking through about how much I go out the door, how much I get in the car, and how much I get on an airplane. I think about it every day. The long and short of it is it’s going to take all of us making some sacrifices, and it starts with me.

 
 
     
 
 
 
 
From the Office
 
   
  Going Digital  
 

While all of Bill's recordings are available for digital download through our site and other digital download outlets, like itunes, cd baby, and amazon, we've decided to offer two recordings as digital download only: There's a Pea on My Plate and Dinosaurs Never Say Please. Both of these CDs are great, but Bill has a HUGE catalog (29 titles at last count) and we have limited storage space. If you haven't downloaded from our website, give it a try and let us know how you like living in the digital world.

Dinosaurs Never Say Please  
   
  On Sale  
 

There's a Pea On My Plate

And to celebrate our new digital only recordings, you can get them for half off! Only want one song? Half off! Want the whole album? Half off! Visit our online store and check out There's a Pea On My Plate and Dinosaurs Never Say Please.

Sale ends April 30, 2011.

 
   
  Adult Concerts  
 

On occasion, Bill performs for adults. Grownups. People who drive and pay the bills. And we are never sure what to call these shows: "Adult Concert" sounds X rated and we often have to define what the show will be. So, we're asking you, Bill's fans, the ones who have seen him perform for the whole family (You're in Trouble, the Great Sled Race, The Best Candy in the Whole World) and who have seen him perform for…people with a little life experience (Call, Happy Pappy Day, Bats). Email us and let us know what you would call Bill's shows for people who are old enough to: have a mortgage, gone to college, have kids, find the funny from their most humiliating grade school moment and use the phrase "I remember when…" to complain about the cost of something.

Send your sugguestions to Michele@billharley.com and we will share your ideas on our website.

 
   
  Check the Calendar  
 
Don't forget to check Bill's calendar (and other social media outlets) to find out when he'll be in your area. Over the next few months, he'll be in the Albany area; Falmouth, MA; Dowagic, MI; Knoxville, TN; Salina, KS; Henrico & Glen Allen, VA; and Sutton, MA.
 
   
  April's Free Download  
 
Earth Day is April 22 and to celebrate our free download for April is "Keep It Green" from "Big Big World." Don't know the song? Now is the time to change that.

So visit the "Big Big World" product page in the store and don't forget to check out the other songs on the recording - "Pirate Song", "Pizza Shake", "Walk a Mile", "Turn the World Around" and "I Don't Wanna Wait". The whole album is full of great songs that you'll find yourself humming along.

If you have any problems or issues downloading the song please contact the office by calling 800-682-9522 or email Michele@billharley.com

Good until the end of April.