Thursday, January 15, 2009

I Can See Alaskan Poet/Fiddler From the Front Row

Ken Waldman, poet, storyteller and fiddler, comes to Middletown for a weekend of music and words. The former college professor is billed as "Alaska's Fiddling poet" and he tours throughout the lower 48. Since the turn of the millennium, he has published 6 books and 7 CDs, blending his love for Appalachian fiddle tunes, personal observation and the desire to create social commentary. A critic has wisely compared Waldman to the late John Hartford in his love for traditional music and ability to convey that love in performance.

This Friday evening (1/16), Waldman will perform at 7:30 p.m. in The Buttonwood Tree. Joining him will be fiddler/writer Brian F. Slattery and several guest musicians. On Saturday, Waldman returns to The Buttonwood for 2 shows. At 10 a.m., he'll play a show for younger children ( and their families) ages 2-7., At 11:30 a.m., he'll put on another show for ages 7 and older.

Waldman will sign books and CDs and will be happy to talk to all about his adopted home state. For more information about the shows, call 347-4957. To learn more about Ken Waldman and listen to selected from his CDs, go to

Saturday evening at 7 p.m., The Buttonwood welcomes John Sheirer for a reading and book signing. Sheirer, a resident of Northhampton, Massachusetts, and recent winner of The Russell Library Paton Storytelling Contest (in the "under 50" category) has written a book called "Loop Year", in which he relates his adventures walking the same trail in Somers, CT, every day for one year. There is an entry for every day and it's a compelling look at the change of seasons, discussions of hard weather, the author's undying love for the outdoors, and learning more about one's self.

To find out more about the author and his book (as well as to read his prize-winning essay), go to You'll also learn more Scheirer's efforts to help the environment and his work as an educator.

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