By Carl Gage


With three behind him there was no reason that the latest FOLKTACULAR held August 31st at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica should be anything less than a great evening of folk music. Robert Morgan Fisher's twice a year bash once again featured a full (eight-hour) schedule filled to the brim with some of the most talented singer-songwriters from the Los Angeles area and beyond.

Robert opened the 2008 Labor Day showcase with a brief intro, a couple of his poignant songs and a jump into an aggressive schedule that attempted to bring another act to the stage every fifteen minutes.

The ever-present Dave Morrison, Chad Watson with wife Pam Loe, and Freebo were joined by repeat performers Severin Browne, Paul Zollo, Piper-Grey, Dale LaDuke and Mother Nature's Army. New additions this time around included Allan Comeau, Lee Domann, Manda (Mosher), "Banjo" Fred Starner, Garret Swayne, Tim Tedrow & Terry Vreeland, Joyce Woodson and headliner Dan Bern (

  Several of the performers were called upon to back eachother up, and others were utilized by several acts. Among others providingsupport, Dan McFeeley added his harp to Dave Morrison's backup which included Greg Krueger, D. Whitney Quinn and Dale LaDuke; Manda brought her band including Chuck Lee Bramlet, Ido Sasson and Ian Gothe; and Severin was aided by the sweetvoice of Jaynee Thorne. Greg and Garret provided backup for Dale, while Chadand Whitney did the same for Paul. Paul was somewhat upstaged by his 8-year oldson Josh who was just too cute singing and acting out "Bow & Arrow," while Tim & Terry's performance was significantly enhanced by the outstandingsinging of Terry's daughter Joey (Johanna).Dan Bern was a commanding presence on stage with a strongvoice and a very full-sounding guitar. Those, combined with his compositionsand arrangements, captivated a room full of songwriters for his hour-long set with multiple encores.

A prolific artist, novelist, poet and now filmmaker, as wellas a gifted songwriter, Dan produces works with incredibly imaginative lyricsthat, while at times causing some to cringe, paint pictures of life as big as murals in the minds of lovers of the lyric poem and songwriters craft. Hopefully, we will see more of him in concert around the L.A.area in the coming year when he returns from his current tour of Europe and Alaska.

All of this, in the terrific venue provided by The WritersBoot Camp Auditorium in Bergamot Station, accompanied by good parking andexcellent refreshments, made for a great evening of folk music and camaraderie. Congratulations to Robert and his great crew of helpers. The tradition will most certainly continue with next President's Day offering not only another Folktacular event, but a celebration for Robert and anyone else with a birthday within a day or three.

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