Bill Harley - Genuine, Irreverent, Universal, Ridiculous, Original

Spring 2017


Dear Friends,


I hope spring is being kind to you – not too hot yet, and a lot of green flowering things around you (that don’t give you allergies).

flowers in front of the house


I got home from a very hectic trip last night and spent the first night sleeping outside on our sleeping porch. We put on an extra blanket, and I fashioned a breathing/sigh hole in the covers and fell asleep looking at the full moon.


Definition of lunatic.


I’m looking forward to seeing friends and fans (fans who are friends) in Montana this month, and have work in schools in Pennsylvania and New Jersey before I go to record the audio for the upcoming Charlie Bumpers book in Atlanta.


There’s really happy news on the family front this summer. Our son Dylan is getting married to a brilliant, delightful, lovely person and we’re looking forward to having Marken be part of our family. In fact, she pretty much already is, but this makes it official. Dylan and Marken have a great house in Providence, and Dylan is loving his work at the Montessori Community School.


Our other son, Noah, is busy with loads of translating work and music. He’s currently working on a documentary in Cuba and spent a couple of weeks in Bolivia doing screenings of his film Salero which you can see on Netfilx!


I say all this with some pre-nostalgia – already missing what I still have (there must be a word for that). While I’m planning on touring as long as I can stand up and talk, we’re also looking at cutting back on the craziness of it and choosing very carefully.


Like, I’m going to India next winter. That does not sound like cutting back.




I’m now working on the seventh, and final, Charlie Bumpers book (more pre-nostalgia), and looking forward to the sixth one, Charlie Bumpers vs. His Big Blabby Mouth, coming out in the fall. More on Charlie’s adventures below. While I’m sad to see Charlie go, I have a half dozen other writing projects that I want to give attention to.


Charlie visits the schools


I’ve had a blast in the past couple of months visiting schools that have used Charlie Bumpers books as their One School, One Book pick. At Varieur Elementary- a local school in Pawtucket, RI- I worked with third grade classes, did a family show, and then watched as an artist-in-residence worked with students to create a mural of a scene from the book. And the Gamm Theatre- a great local repertory company- adapted the book for a play put on by the school.

Charlie Bumpers falling; Artists painting 

In Houston Texas, my visit included reading the last chapter to all the students and a family show. The librarian, who doubles as a children’s photographer, documented the visit, which Michele made into a video.

For more information on how to use my books in your school, visit our One School, One Book page.


Father's Daze – a new show


Over the Father’s Day weekend, I’m joining forces with two very funny and  talented guys, Bil Lepp and Don White, to share stories and songs about the trials of trying to be a good dad, called "Father’s Daze." We performed the show in Ann Arbor in February and got a standing ovation - and had a blast. It’s booked for three shows in New England in June, and we’re taking bookings for the coming year. It’s a treat to be working with these guys and I’m looking forward to doing it more. Here are some clips from the Ann Arbor show:


Further Around the Bend – more stories and songs – and beyond


Town Around the Bend cover artI’ve finished recording a new batch of stories and songs about the Town Around the Bend. My good friend R.W. Alley, who did such a beautiful job with the first recording’s artwork, has agreed to do the artwork for the next recording – we’ll let you know as soon as it’s ready.  I have about four recording projects in mind, and will get to them tomorrow. Promise.


What I haven't done


I’m not going to tell you. A lot. But on my desk I have a postcard Pete Seeger sent me about twenty years ago. It shows a doodle of Pete (done by him), running with his banjo. Behind him are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

My list is not that bad. But it’s bad. We are all forgiven for what we don’t get to. Here’s one of my favorite quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson.


Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.


So there. This all has me thinking about the notion of Sabbath. A day when nothing is done and you only live, being open to the world around you. One day a week.


What we're reading


As hard as the traveling can be (just tiring and boring, really), it does leave me time to read. So here’s some of the books I’ve read and liked lately- A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, White Tears by Hari Kunzru (great book about black music and white people!), The Sellout by Paul Beatty, and The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben (really, really amazing!)


Debbie has been so busy with so many projects, my head is swimming, and her reading is on the back burner. Not the books, just the reading. Right now, she is out on the porch talking to her vegetable seedlings.


Speaking of Debbie


Debbie has been writing a weekly blog about speaking up for a saner more just country and world. She is still my manager, confidante (oh, right, and wife), and sounding board, but I can see where her energy is right now. You can, too, at her blog – I’m pretty active, but Debbie is, well, just amazing.


Have a great Spring. Take a walk outside. I’m going to do that right now.



From the Office
  Website Updates  

We are slowly but surely updating the website – cleaning and reorganizing. Thus far we've overhauled the store. There have been a few bumps, but we think we've got it all set. And now we've cleaned up the Lyrics pages. So go look around and let us know how it works for you. And if we've forgotten any songs!

  On Sale Now  

Need a gift for an upcoming holiday, like Mother's Day or Father's Day? Not sure what to give your favorite teacher for the last day of school? Not sure what to give your child's teacher to say "I'm sorry he hit you with his shoe"? Bill Harley CDs & Books are one size fits all! (The tee shirts come in a variety of sizes).

Whatever the occasion, you can save $5 off any order of $25 or more in the Bill Harley Store. Just use Promo Code Spring17Sale when you check out. It's good from now until Saturday June 17, 2017.

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