01 Nov

You’re invited…

Erik Balkey and Annie Donahue – The Copper Ponies
with special guest Brian Gundersdorf
Friday and Saturday November 2 and 3 at the Barrington Coffeehouse
hosted by the Trifeletti family – Trif, Donna and Trish
doors open at 7:30, show is at 8pm
$15 ticket, reservations recommended; call 856.573.7800 or
go to www.barringtoncoffeehouse.com and click “on-line advance tickets”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ November 1, 2012 ~

I was a mechanical engineer. I graduated in 1994 with honors and a 170 credit Architectural Engineering degree. Eleven years ago I decided that I wanted to leave engineering and on January 1, 2002 I got in my car and headed for Interstate 95. For six years I traveled and played music at open mics from Atlantic to Pacific, The Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.

During those six years, I learned the troubadour life and made friends of artists, travelers, misfits and dreamers. I won songwriting contests. In one, eight hundred writers entered and thirty-two finalists were chosen, including me. I had the chance to light up a small stage on a ranch in Texas among friends and strangers from the community I learned about as a traveling artist.

On that outdoor stage, for ten minutes, the winds and all but a couple birds got quiet. A few hundred people stilled. They were lined up in rows, knees to back, on benches under the cover of the tiny amphitheater keeping as cool as they could in the Texas Hill Country dust by the Guadalupe River. It was six years of traveling, writing and dreaming, and a ten-minute reward to validate my efforts.

Then, I listened with a few thousand later that night as they listed my name among the six winners of the contest from the main stage between sets by the headlining acts.

In the campground, we sang all night and I fell asleep in a sleeping bag, on the ground, in a tent. No sleep really as I laid down just as the sun came up in the part-Utopia, part-desert griddle makeshift village of campers that assemble every year for 18 days at this revered festival and test their ability to see the beauty among the basic life elements of dirt, heat, water, camaraderie and music.

I moved back to my home area in January 2008 an accomplished artist in a fringe community that exists below the radar of American society. Home is the wonderful Haddon Heights, NJ within earshot of Philadelphia and a half hour from my childhood home in Marlton, NJ. Southern New Jersey measures up to any place I’ve traveled as a place to live. It’s the place my family lives, and the place that suits my disposition like a glove. A glove, like my disposition, that is not always the most comfortable, but is undeniably who I am. “I’m from New Jersey, I don’t expect too much / If the world ended today, I would adjust.”

That first year back in town, I was the lost stranger in his own hometown before I came upon the Mom, Pop and Daughter coffeeshop that would serve as my kitchen, living room and muse. I did a show that November at The Barrington Coffeehouse as my first show back in South Jersey after a year-long performance hiatus

That performance in the corner coffeeshop of the rugged New Jersey small town became the first of annual performances. It is now the only hometown show I do each year with a full feature set as the local headliner.  In that room that I like to call “The Best Little Music Coffeehouse That Could” – each year it’s me headlining within the four walls containing forty chairs and endless supply of coffee, great food and heart.

It is with my music heart centered here in this local coffeeshop that I fell in love with music again. At first, I was the loner guy with the highway mileage, the catalogue of songs, the journals of notes, and a list of a dozen national songwriting honors. They were honors that nobody would recognize unless they were the traveling songwriter visiting my coffeeshop on a Friday night as a stop on the underground coast-to-coast troubadour path that I knew well. The coffeeshop is a short mile from my apartment in the bottom floor of a charming old red house among the sleepy tree-covered streets by the park.

I met my duo partner and musical soulmate at the coffeeshop just as we had arranged after meeting online, or just as had been arranged by some bigger plan that I can’t touch but can only believe. I can only count the coffeeshop, music and our duo The Copper Ponies, as some kind of divine blessing for which I cannot express the depth of my gratitude.

I play at the Barrington Coffeehouse with my duo partner tomorrow and Saturday night. My family will be there – my parents, my brother, my eight and a half month pregnant sister, my uncle. Come join us, if you want. But be sure to call them ahead of time to reserve your seat.

This kind of show isn’t for everyone. Really, it is for those of you who like art and who walk around with an open heart, ears and eyes willing to feel and be inspired. If a great book, a great movie or great music is something you consider more than temporary entertainment but something to be experienced and to carry inside you when it is over, this is a concert for you. We have a cup of coffee and a song waiting for you.

Best regards,
Erik Balkey

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Erik Balkey and Annie Donahue – The Copper Ponies
with special guest Brian Gundersdorf
Friday and Saturday November 2 and 3 at the Barrington Coffeehouse
hosted by the wonderful Trifeletti family – Trif, Donna and Trish
doors open at 7:30, show is at 8pm
$15 ticket, reservations recommended; call 856.573.7800 or
go to www.barringtoncoffeehouse.com and click “on-line advance tickets”

24 Oct

5th Annual Barrington Shows

Next weekend!
Annie Donahue and Brian Gundersdorf join me
The Barrington Coffeehouse
November 2 and 3.
It’s the 5th annual Hometown shows!
These shows will sell out, so call 856.573.7800 or order online at the coffeehouse website.

23 Oct

This Weekend

This weekend…
The Copper Ponies
Thurs, open mic at the Christopher Street Coffeehouse, New York City
Fri, hosted by the legendary Fred Gillen, Jr at the Peekskill Coffeehouse.
Sat, we with Joe Crookston and Will Russell in Ithaca, NY at Wilburland Studios.
Sun, we will be joining Gene Shay on WXPN to sing our songs.
Mon, I paint in Mount Laurel, NJ and Annie teaches special ed kids in Somers Point, NJ (not open to the public).

08 Oct

5th Annual Hometown show!

The big yearly hometown weekend of shows is coming up!

Erik Balkey and The Copper Ponies
Featuring Annie Donahue
And guest Brian Gundersdorf from We’re About 9
Friday and Saturday November 2 and 3
At the Barrington Coffeehouse, Barrington, NJ
Reserved tickets required; Call 856.273.7800

06 Oct

Duo song….

I’m really excited about the latest song from my duo, The Copper Ponies. It’s called “It’s A New Year Now,” and it will be on the seasonal compilation CD “Hudson Harding Happy Holidays, Vol. 7!”
Peace, love and music,
23 Jan

what I’m working on…

Hey there:

This is what I’m up to…

- I’m taking guitar lessons from the fabulous Rolly Brown.  I want to be able to improvise and arrange songs with fingerstyle guitar work like some of my favorite songwriter-guitar players: Chris Smither, Bill Morrissey, Amos Lee.

- I’m in the process of finishing touches, and final mixes, for my 2012 recording “Everything is Great” with my producer and songwriter friend Joe Crookston.

- I’m learning new songs with Annie Donahue for “The Annie Show” at Barrington Coffeehouse on March 31.  I’ll open the show, and accompany Annie.

- I’m writing two custom songs for “Custom Songs by Erik” that will be done this Spring.  I’ll record them with Annie Donahue and Jimmy Heffernan.

Stay tuned for more about music, shows and recordings…
Best regards,

06 Jan

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

the latest news….

I’m in the mixing stage of my latest recording.  The CD title will be “Everything Is Great” — that’s a song I wrote with Annie Donahue.  I hope to get it mastered, then do the artwork and duplication soon… and have the CDs in hand by Summer.  Here’s where you help: Buy my music on iTunes or CDBaby, or over here at ItsAboutMusic, my favorite place for you to get my music… aside from a show.

Speaking of…
- Sat., March 31: “The Annie Show, with that guy Erik opening” — at the Barrington Coffeehouse, Barrington, NJ
- Sat., April 21: Erik Balkey & Annie Donahue duo show — Philadelphia Folksong Society House concert, Warminster, PA
- Fall: House Concert (date and location TBA) in the Philadelphia area.
- Fri and Sat., November 2 & 3: “The Annual Double Header” — hometown show at Barrington Coffeehouse.

New recorded music soon.
Stay warm,
Peace, love and music,

21 Dec

Happy Holidays…

Annie and I had fun doing our show at Luloo’s in Oaklyn, NJ for the holidays.  Would you like to have some of our holiday recordings?  Just ask.

Next show is for Valentine’s Day and is on Sunday, Feb. 12.

Also coming up is “The Annie Show” featuring my partner Annie Donahue at The Barrington Coffeehouse on Saturday, March 31.

Peace, Love, Joy
And music,

13 Dec

Show for the holidays…

Hello friends…

Annie Donahue and I will be doing a show this Sunday, Decmeber 18.  It is at the NEW Studio Luloo space at 215 W. Clinton Ave, Oaklyn, NJ.

We’ll be doing some 1/3 original songs that we wrote, 1/3 covers like “Kathy’s Song” (Paul Simon), and NEW 1/3 Seasonal Songs… some original, a bunch of covers.

Admission is $15 and you can call 856.428.4444 to reserve.  It’s a nice venue, not too big, holds 60 comfortably.  We’ll only be selling 60 tickets, so call in advance if you want to come.

Peace, Love and Joy,

20 Nov

Show on Thurs., Dec. 1

I’m doing an opening set with Annie Donahue at the Landsdowne Folk Club on Decmeber 1. David Jacob-Strain and Bob Beach are headlining.

Concerts take place in Lansdowne’s 20th Century Club, 84 S. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne, PA 19050. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. and start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance $18 at the door. Home baked goodies and hot drinks are sold downstairs in our Cafe.

Contact: lfc.org@rcn.com or bob@bobbeach.net or 610.622.7250

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