Welcome

Welcome to the website for Rick Drost, a Singer/Songwriter based in Cambridge, MA.  Here you'll find
- Schedule information, 
- Recent tunes with lyrics,  
- Photos -both of performances that kind folks have contributed, and some that I try to collect whenever I go someplace to sing.
- There's Biographical information, Contact Information, A mailing list if you're interested.
- I'll try to post infrequent musings on various subjects in the blog.

Mostly, enjoy the tunes - i write slowly; hopefully the tunes reward repeated listening.
Thanks for dropping by.

For Valentine's Day - From Public Garden Swans to All Lovers 

A while ago the Boston Globe published a story on the swans in the Public Garden.  It turns out that the swans, known the world over as Romeo and Juliet,  are in fact two females, and even hetero swan couples trade off on the normal gender-related roles.   I went down to meet the swans, fell in love with their easy tranquility and their exquisite surroundings. I visited them morning, noon, and evening, (it was summer) and wrote them this valentine, Juli and Romy.

Here's the MP3 Turning the World, released last year.

Juli and Romy from "Turning the World"; John Shain production; Kaitlin Grady Cello

 Happy Valentine's day, all!

 

 

Dad Built us a Freezer 

My father Wilfred passed on on Feb 11 at 96, in a nursing home in Atlanta where he was well cared for.  Many of the family sang songs at his Memorial service, but there was more to this man than love of music. This note started in one of my "daily writings" a year ago; I'm hoping it captures some of Dad's character, his positive problem-solving character and love of life and family.

Dad Built us a Freezer 

What can you do in 1953 with Oak and Masonite and Aluminum Sheeting and Cork and Copper Tubing and an old used compressor and a lot of know-how? 
Build a freezer for your family in your basement. 

My father was an engineer, a  master of know-how. For work he designed and built equipment to implement chemical processes - processes as diverse as fabricating star sapphires and rubies to making little beads of treated clay that keep your refrigerator coolant dry and your double pane windows clear. Dad worked for Linde Air Products, which got its start cooling, liquefying  and separating air into its components. Freezers of all sizes abounded there, as well as good people to learn from. 

Since family came first, here's my guess about how this started in his mind. "Wow, this refrigeration equipment is actually pretty simple. Just an insulated box with cooling coils and a compressor. If I could build one in for the basement Mom could put up food from the garden and local orchards that we love in the summer, and we could buy food in bulk too and keep it in there, and have it all winter." 
So he built from scratch a home freezer (we called it a deep freeze) which ran in the basement from about 1954 until they moved to Alabama in 1968.  So for the forty days and forty nights of the snowy Buffalo winter we (Mom, Dad, Paul, Rickey, Martha, Barbie, and later Ellen) had strawberries, steaks, venison, quick frozen fish, green beens, even corn on the cob from that freezer. I have no idea what the people who bought the house thought of it. It certainly didn't look like anything Betty Furness would have advertised. 

It was a large box, in cubits, roughly 5 long by 3 high by 2.5 deep. (maybe 8' by 4.5' by 3.5' ), Masonite painted white on the outside on a frame of varnished oak. I remember him showing us when he placed the dark, creosote-y smelling cork blocks inside for insulation; he even let me put one in. Then it was lined with aluminum sheeting. Then copper cooling coils, all around inside, about halfway up, and a copper quick-freeze plate on the left end.  I don't remember where the coils were fabricated. He probably had a friend from the lab make them to spec in HIS home workshop; he might have done it all while we were sleeping, at least assembling it from parts.  He could handle all kinds of torches to at least do finish fitting on the coils. Rubber gaskets sealed it all around the frame at the top.  The top was the same composition as the box itself, Hinged, not spring loaded at all.   There was a big cast iron ring in the center of the top.  It took us two boys to open it - one would start lifting it with the ring, standing on the step of 2x8 that he'd built running the length of the box, the other caught it and lifted from the top of the basement steps to push the top to the back wall.   Same way back down. Always with care.  The compressor was a huge thing looking like it might have come from Carl von Linde's workshop.  It was outboard of the box under the back basement stairs, with a trap door cut in the top platform for maintenance access. I only remember one time we had to maintain that compressor.  They don't make anything like they used to. The steps of the stairs were also all hinged to make storage for all the kids' winter boots and skates. 

Elementary and Junior high summers, then, the boys had a popsicle business out of the freezer. Dad had found moulds, showed us how to mix Koolaid, cut and smooth sticks from dowels and tongue depressors. At peak times we'd set the alarm for 1am, go down there to wrap one batch and reload the moulds, getting up early so we could repeat the exercise before school. We sold them on our bikes around the neighborhood for 2c and 3c for the larger ones. Bought Koolaid and raw materials for sticks with the proceeds. Dad estimated what we would have to pay for the electric to get the freezing done, but I don't think we ever paid but once. Or made any real money. But the goodwill of the business might have kept us out of some neighborhood water balloon wars. 

There were other do-it-yourself projects that yielded things that kept us kids occupied and amused - the little boats for the boys made from 50 gallon oil drum cut in half. The pump and pump house down by the creek, with buried lines with which we kept the garden and the flowers watered, the Cable Car strung down the hill between the big oaks, which let us send rocks and other materials down the hill to the creek and garden level in a wheelbarrow harness, and gave us rides sometimes, the tow rope hanging from the big oak down by the creek which we could swing on, the archery butt against the hill behind the house. 

All these things he showed us gave us confidence we could figure out how to do things and find help getting them done that could improve our lives.  Dad didn't do it expecting praise. He never stood on a hilltop saying "I built a freezer", "I made star sapphires", "I can play Claire de Lune". He just continued producing things of utility and beauty to improve the lives of people around him, and  enjoying every moment of it all that he could take in.

Turning the World: CD
  • Turning the World: CD
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$15.00

Turning the World, Rick Drost's debut solo album, represents a lifetime of Rick's songwriting and storytelling. The songs deal with jilted lovers, an iconic swan couple in Boston's Public Garden, leftover lobsters, home & family, and hope.

Produced by Jon Shain and engineered by FJ Ventre, (Durham, NC) who add guitars and basses to Rick's fingerpicked guitar and vocals on most tracks; Guest musicians include Kaitlin Grady (cello), Ed Butler (percussion), pianist and composer Doug Hammer (piano), Chris Frank (accordion,soprano sax) and Bill Newton (harmonica) Turning the World - Tracks

(Rick: Guitar and Vocals, all tracks; FJ Ventre Basses, all tracks) 1. Don't Remember Train (3:37) - started in a dream; Rick hasn't awakened yet; percussion; 2. Turning the World (4:52) - Starts in the Australian outback, comes around the world and back home; a song for peace, and listening to each other; cello. 3. Old Player Piano (4:26) - dedication to playing music; nostalgia and beyond. Piano, Accordion 4. Wyethstown (4:39) - from the standpoint of a woman coming of age in the Boston valley area of Western New York, ca. 1850; cello 5. Got a Little Corner (3:35) - faux-country song from a jilted lover to his rival. Harmonica; FJ and Jon Vocal backup 6. Pictures on the Wall (4:37) - a song of letting go, or not. guitars, bass, piano 7. Revendon (4:30) - an ode to misspent youth; bowed bass, piano 8. Lucky Lobster Rag (4:00) - Celebration of Whole Foods' (imagined) treatment of live lobsters they decided it was immoral to sell. Soprano Sax; percussion; Jon and FJ the "lobster chorus" 9. Juli and Romy (4:37) - Valentine to the pair of female swans in the Boston Public Garden, known the world over as Romeo and Juliet. cello; accordion 10. Still Point (5:01) - an ode to meditation - where it comes from, how it starts, how useful it is. Piano, Bass 11. Buffalo (3:01) - semiautobiographical rocker, with Jon: Guitar, Doug:Piano; Ed: percussion 12. Seasons Search 5:38 - Rick's Saga Song; Jon: mood guitar, Kaitlin: cello; FJ: bass and keyboards

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Previous events

Aug12

Song School

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Planet Bluegrass, Hwy 36, Lyons, Co

Happy to be returning to Song School for a a week in the canyon of the St Vrain - workshops, song circles, and fellowship. planetbluegrass.com

Jul31

Feature at Burren Open Mic

Burren, 247 Elm St, Somerville, MA

I'll be the feature at this popular open mic this night in Davis Square, hosted by Aaron Yang. Starts at 7 and goes into the wee hours. My set will start around 9. Advanced signups at FB Burren Open Mic Tuesdays, There are already some advanced signups. Read the details about advanced signups at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e044aadae29a0fd0-online. Come on Down!

Jul22

Summersongs

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Stony Point Center, Crickettown Rd, Stony Point NY

A week with "the Summies" - songwriting friends and mentors at a multidenominational conference center. This was a terrific week last year. songwriting workshops, instrumental workshops, delicious local food, song circles, fellowship in an idyllic environment. Many fond memories visiting Stony Point each summer, my mother's hometown.

summersongs.com

Jul15

Open Mic Feature at Hearing Room

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The Hearing Room, 119 Chelmsford St, Lowell, MA

Aaron Tornberg is running a new open mike at the Hearing Room in Lowell, one of my fave rooms to play north of town. This runs 2-5; signup online is being worked out. Half hour feature at 3 PM. Come sing and listen in the wonderful community listening room Mark and Caelin have assembled.

Jul8

ITR at Virtual House Concert Live

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Studio, Plymouth MA

Bob Crownfield mounts a fine video setup to tape songwriters in the round for a 45 minute show - he shows run more like an hour. I'll be sharing the stage with the entertaining Grant Maloy Smith. Facebook group is "Virtual House Concerts Live"

Jul2

Set at BBC Acoustic Lounge Folk n Roots

British Beer Club, 6 Middle Street, Plymouth, MA

Hollis Greene Gathers Three songwriters every monday night at British Beer Club in Plymouth. These have all been interesting events with a mix of local and touring songwriters. Happy to be asked to do a set. Show at 7; Sets include yours truly, David L. Parker Trio (Mr. Burrito, and Mr. Heal me!) and Jayden Westland from the Cape.

Jul1

Feature at Songwriter's Open Mic

Byrnes Pub, 16 Station Ave, Brunswick, ME

I'll Play the feature set this night at Jud Caswell's Songwriter's open mic in Brunswick, ME at Byrnes pub. Always make new friends here. Byrnes has great food as well.

6pm signup, 6.30 music starts. feature set around 8.

byrnesirishpub.com

Jun27

Open Mike feature

Red Parrot, 1 Hull shore dr, Hull, Ma

Sherman Whipple runs this popular open mike Wednesday nights. It could even be a beach day. Great food, and it's always good to see So shore friends. Signup 7.30 Music 8 . Feature at 9. Windows onto the bay and great food.

Jun24

Brunch sets at Serendipity Maynard

Serendipity Cafe, 1 Nason St, Maynard, MA

Delighted to play Brunch sets 11-1 at one of my favorite locations- rescheduled from early this month. Been there for many open mics and songwriter sessions, but this will be my first brunch. I love the room with the big windows out on Nason and Main; This should be even nicer during the day. Laura and Johnny make up great food, pastries, and coffee from early morning.

serendipitycafemaynard.com

Jun23

Set at Worldwide Music Day 2

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Area 58, 96 N Main St, , Carver, MA

Colette O'Connor has organized a second event for WorldWide music day; a taping for community access TV in Carver, MA. Happy to participate sing a set, and catch up with all these fine folks.

from Colette O'Connor: This event will outlive us all because it will be World Wide Music Day, the Overflow Show, recorded for cable access television! Featured performers will be Catherine King, Eric "The Snake" Gulliksen, Rick Drost, Mike Doyle, David Jackson, and host, Colette O'Connor. Each artist will present music and raise awareness for Musicians Without Borders, an international organization that heals war, with music.

Thanks Coletteoconnor.net !

Jun16

Open Mic Feature at Coffee Coffee

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Coffee Coffee, 326 S Broadway, Salem NH

Singing the feature set at this open mic. Coffee Coffee has great coffee and food, (even house-smoked BBQ on Saturdays) . Barry presents local musicians at brunches, evening performances including this open mic. I'll do the feature set this night. Barry has also asked me to host. Signup at 6PM or after until the list fills up. Three songs. Come on out and share some tunes.

Coffeeroastersnh.com

Jun10

Rick Drost sings Brunch at Coffee Coffee

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Coffee Coffee, 326 S Broadway, Salem, NH

Returning to this popular place with great coffee and food to sing some long sets at Brunch. Had a great time here in March.

coffeeroastersnh.com

Jun3

Brunch performance at Serendipity Cafe

Serendipity Cafe, 1 Nason St, Maynard, MA

Delighted to play Brunch sets 11-1 at one of my favorite locations. Been there for many open mics and songwriter sessions, but this will be my first brunch. I love the room with the big windows out on Nason and Main; This should be even nicer during the day.

serendipitycafemaynard.com

May28

Set at Acoustic Lounge - postponed to Jul 2

British Beer Club, 6 Middle St, Plymouth MA

BBC decided to close on Memorial day. Hope everybody has a good holiday.

We're working on another date.

Hollis Greene Gathers Three songwriters every monday night at British Beer Club in Plymouth. Happy to be asked to do a set. Details TBD.

May16

SERFA

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Montreat retreat center, Montreat NC

I'll return to SERFA (SouthEast Regional Folk Alliance) Conference again in the beautiful interdenominational retreat center near Black Mountain, NC. SERFA Guerilla showcases: Wed Night 1-1:30 am Access Film - Assembly 1 (Belk) ITR w Isabel Taylor, Leah Kaufman Sat Night 12.20 am Texas Sugarbaby -218 ITR w Antonio Andrade, Todd Burge