2012 NERFA

(Northeast Regional Folk Alliance)

Conference Scrapbook

By Richard Cuccaro

Frank Tedesso’s First NERFA

This author was not the consummate professional NERFA attendee this year. There were a number of friends among the performers and I pursued them at the cost of missing a bunch of new faces. Chief among the old friends was Frank Tedesso. This was Frank’s first time here. Never the paragon of self-promotion and certainly not the 20-something flavor of the month, this icon of the Fast Folk movement of the ’80s and ’90s played to sparse audiences.

Frank was already a legend when I fell into the Fast Folk scene in the mid-’90s. He’d dropped out of sight for a while (gone back to Chicago) and everyone wondered where he was. When he showed up at a group concert in Greenwich Village, it was magical.

There is nobody else who sings with that big round tone and no one else writes lines like: God did not go crazy… no. He just had this nervous breakdown. They call it the twentieth century. Frank is my hero, the closest most of us will ever get to a living, breathing poet.

He said he had a great time, enjoying the party atmosphere and the chance to play. He emailed me afterward, saying: “You couldn’t lose, almost any way you turned up there. What with the sky and all the living, breathing symbols of the zodiac crowding the halls and elevators and showcase rooms…”

Those of us who knew what we were getting wanted to hear him every chance we got. Whatever the cost.

Jayne Gets Her Man

Jayne Toohey, our friend and ridiculously talented photographer, the creator of the Naked Folk Calendar, announced her engagement to John Lupton of WVUD-FM just before NERFA. She also invited us to her engagement party at the conference.

The robust nature of Jayne’s photographs says reams about her personality. She’s warm and joyous and fun to be around. We wish Jayne and John all the happiness in the world and many fun and fascinating years together.


Gordon Nash proves how smart he is by hanging out with lovely Carolann Solebello.

Marc Von Em and radio promoter Lisa Grey

Play it Again, Frank

Gene Shay brandishes a cocktail party treat.

Josh  Joffen and Viki Peterman

Jake Bush of Pesky J. Nixon with Jessica Smucker

Frank Tedesso swooped in for a photo op with presenter Karen Finkenberg and Boxcar Lily, Katie Clarke.

Photo: Jake Jacobson

Except where noted, all photographs by Richard Cuccaro


Greg Klyma told a road story of an overzealous state trooper and a “suspicious-looking” bag of cookies.

Heather Lloyd  of ilyAIMY proves that Metalheads have nothing on her in the hair-flailing department.

The Stray Birds knocked ‘em dead with  musical depth and virtuosic chops.

Honor Finnegan with guitarist (and husband ) Carl Money

Ariana Gillis, elegant in gingham and denim

Suzie Vinnick — vocals and guitar to die for

Formal Showcases