March 2012
 
 

Hi friends,

Hope you're well. Spring's here. Evidently. My friend, climate scientist Tom Webb is keeping close track of the degree days above normal in Seekonk. Needless to say - it's off the charts. Interesting as a science experiment, but when you start feeding bees mid-February in Massachusetts, something's up.

picture by Debbie Block - from video shoot (see below)

I'm in the middle of the Spring Running Around Tour and have enjoyed meeting people in Montana, Michigan, Georgia, Maryland and Indiana - someone reading this e-mail, no doubt. I've especially enjoyed singing "High Dive" in the middle of the winter. I’m looking forward to seeing friends in CA – both in March and May – please look at the calendar to see if I’m coming close to you. And, if you are in New England I’ve got a show in Greenwich, CT and in Natick, MA with my buddy Keith Munslow.

 
High Dive
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We sent you notice, but it bears repeating that High Dive has now officially released and has been getting great reviews from everyone. (you can see some here and here and here). Since I recorded this myself and worked in a little cocoon, I'm still kind of shocked that people actually like it. I suppose it's a good thing that I'm surprised that people like my work. I feel like Sally Fields "OH, YOU REALLY LIKE ME!". Yeah, okay, I still feel like that.

You can download it at various places around the internet. We, of course, prefer that you get it from us, since it more clearly supports our endeavors at the Galactic Headquarters of Round River Records, right here.

And no matter where you bought it you can post a review somewhere else. So if you bought the CD from us, review it on Amazon. Downloaded from billharley.com, review it on itunes. Wherever you shop, leave a review. Thanks!

 
     

Block-Harley Family News

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In family news - which I haven't given in a while- Noah, our oldest is still working on a documentary about the lithium industry in Bolivia. He'll be going back to Bolivia in June, and perhaps interviewing Evo Morales for a third time. The film is going to be incredible. He's also going out on the road this spring with his VERY UNIQUE band Tik-Tok. You can check out his tour schedule here. Noah will be the one with the unmatched socks.

 

Dylan is happily employed at New Urban Arts in Providence, working as studio manager and mentor for high school students at this incredible, vibrant center. He's also writing some great songs.

 

Debbie, in addition to all the stuff she does to keep me out running around and seeing you and paying the bills, is officiating at two weddings this summer and headed towards further studies in being a celebrant. She's really good at it, and is only going to get better.

And I'm taking piano lessons again. Big fun.

 
     
Wash Your Hands – Lavate las manos  
 

Early in February, I worked with Rhode Island PBS (WSBE) to produce a video of my song "Wash Your Hands" to be aired on WSBE and hopefully the broader PBS network. Maria and Scott Saracen directed and shot the video over two days on location at Henry Barnard School and Paul Cuffee School in Providence. It was a blast. Edgar Viloria from Everett Dance Works taught the kids (and me) some dance moves and everyone had a great time. The video will have an official premiers on April 11th at PBS in partnership with the Rhode Island Department of Health – but you will be able to see it on PBS and on YouTube on April 14th. We’ll send you another notice. We love what Maria and Scott did, and hope it’s going to have a long life. Debbie took a lot of stills and has put together a slide show – it’s not the video, but you can watch the fun we had here.

 
     
Other Work A
 

I'm okay as long as I don't pay attention to how much is going on. Keith Munslow and I keep working on our recording, which we'll hope to have out his summer. We had a great song title contest online with support from Mindy on Kids Place Live at Sirius XM, and the winner was "It's Not Fair to Me". We're in hysterics writing the song, and having a blast doing the recording. We think we're funnier than we probably are, but then, we live in a parallel universe. Keith and I have a show upcoming at the Center for the Arts in Natick, Massachusetts.

 

I'm also working with Paul Phillips on our orchestral setting for Jack and the Beanstalk. It will have its premier on April 29 with the Allentown Symphony (PA), where I'll also be performing other pieces I've done with Paul. I am really excited about what Paul has done to my take on the story, and the way he's incorporating traditional American songs and fiddle tunes into the piece. We're hoping it will have a long life, and that other orchestras will be interested. And maybe we can figure a way to do a recording.

 

I just saw the final artwork for my new book with Peachtree Publishers, Lost and Found, which will be out in the fall. With out giving too much away, here's one illustration from Adam Gustafson's wonderful work.

 
     
School author visits  
  It’s spring, which means around here we have to think about the fall. With the release of my new picture book Lost and Found, I’m currently planning author visits to schools for the fall and coming school year. Trying to be smart about travel and time, I especially welcome interest from groups of schools or districts.

My visits to schools can include performances and workshops, and while storytelling, singing and songwriting play a part, there’s an emphasis on my work as an author. My hope is that students and teachers will spend some time with my books before the visit. Part of the assembly program will include a talk about how I do my work, and time for the students (and teachers) to ask about my books and writing process. I can tell you, there are few things more gratifying than seeing a nine year old clutching a book of yours to sign. It’s a personal connection that is significant and long-lasting. If you’re interested in exploring a visit to your school or system, contact Debbie: debbie@billharley.com.
 
     
Writers@Work
 
 

I'm delighted to have been invited to be a workshop leader at the Writers@Work conference in Alta, Utah June 6-10. My friend David Kranes has asked me to present there, and I'll be working with writers on the connection between the spoken and written word - in other words, having them tell stories. A bunch of other interesting presenters will be there, and you can check it out here. If you are a writer and would like to be a part of the conference please check out the details soon. I’d love to see you there.

 
     
Books
 

I've just finished reading a wonderful book, A Primate's Memoir, by Robert Sapolsky about his fieldwork studying baboons. It is absolutely hilarious and moving, too. Also really loved The Emperor by Ryszard Kapuscinski. Kapuscinski was a Polish journalist and one of the finest writers I've ever read. This book documents the fall of Hailie Selassie and reads like myth and tragedy, filled with unlikely characters and unbelievable events. It's really great. And I'm not just saying that.

Debbie's books:

Hi Folks! While I’m quilting more than reading these days, I do recommend Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks and Let’s Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell – a beautiful memoir to a beautiful friendship. And, if you don’t yet know about goodreads.com, do check it out...it’s a truly wonderful website for readers!!

Let us know what you're reading.

 
 
     
From the Office
 
 
  Night of the Spadefoot Toads in Paperback  
 

We're happy to announce that Night of the Spadefoot Toads is now available everywhere in paperback. It's got a spruced up cover and a lower price, but it's still the same great tale of moving, homework and toads!

"Harley's appealing story shows readers that adults and children can connect in meaningful friendships, and reminds them that conservation can begin in their own backyards." Kirkus

 
 
 
   
 
www.billharley.com & Round River Productions
301 Jacob St
Seekonk, Massachusetts 02771
800-682-9522 Michele@billharley.com