Yesterday morning we took our children Peter & Kay to a family concert at the famed Club Passim listening room in Harvard Square. It was a special occasion as Passim is a place I’ve seen dozens of folk music artists perform (I was even a volunteer there for many shows in the late 90’s/early 00’s). It was also special because Wayne is a familiar face who played at Peter’s preschool and at birthday parties and special events. Surprisingly, Wayne genuinely remembered Peter from his preschool days. Peter once brought in his ukulele to jam with Wayne.
It was great to see Wayne with a full band as opposed to just playing on his own as it added a new dynamic. The banjoist Paul Sedgwick was particularly charming as he gave out hints to the kids to guess what the next song would be about. Wayne’s teenage son also performed on keyboards.
The first song “Clap Your Hands” and the entire show were dedicated to the memory of Pete Seeger, appropriately as Wayne Potash is from the Guthrie/Seeger school of children’s folk music. The band also recognized the upcoming holiday on February 2nd with a song about a Groundhog. Some old favorites like “I Like Trucks,” “Juba,” and “Shy Shark” were fun to sing along with. The song “Allis Chalmers” about an old tractor from Wayne’s childhood farm in Pennsylvania was a pleasant new discovery.
The only thing that marred the performance was an unfortunate incident when a dancing child knocked over one of the bands’ amps, but fortunately, no one was hurt. With participation by singing, dancing, and jumping at such a premium, it might be better if Club Passim would move the tables out of the way to clear up more open space for the kids. On the other hand they do need to have the room ready for lunchtime at Veggie Planet, so I can understand why they didn’t do that.
We did stay for lunch and got to speak with Wayne some more. It’s a great thing about folk music and venues like Passim that the artists are so approachable and that everyone can be involved in some way. It’s a nice part of the folk tradition to pass on to our children.
Set List (Songs I remember being performed in this show, in alphabetical order)