Michael Smith writes:

Hi folks. Here's what I'm doing lately [spring 2004]:

I bought a Tascam 2488, which is a 24 track digital recorder, and I'm constantly working with it--my hope is to put out a record that I've made by myself at home.  I have a few things I'm satisfied with. They're of a humorous nature--for some reason when I think of a song as humorous I get better fidelity on the recording.  It's the most absorbing thing.

I've been listening to a lot of different records.  I got some outside stuff from Folk Era (www.folkera.com) in Naperville, IL.  They started out as a clearinghouse for Kingston Trio recordings and boy, have they diversified.  I got Jonathan and Darlene Edwards, who are a major joy, the Kingston Trio's first eight albums, and Bud and Travis's Latin album.  Also lately I've been listening to a lot of John Williams (classical guitar) and Brian Wilson.

Traveling as usual--last year I went about 25,000 miles.

Still working on the musical of Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen.  The production's been pushed ahead to 2005-2006, which is fine with me.  Frank Galati will direct. He directed The Grapes of Wrath, and is a very talented man.

Weavermania! (www.artistsofnote.com/weavermania) just did a few dates with our new guitarist/singer Christopher Walz, who teaches at the Old Town School of Folk Music (www.oldtownschool.org).

FourTold (www.appleseedrec.com/fourtold) is doing a few gigs this summer, Shawano and Kerrville.

Very good friends have written me letters that it's taken me years to answer--life goes by in a blur and there never seems to be enough time, and I am more aware than ever of the things I need to work on artistically and personally.  Wincing at the newspapers, aren't you?

My wife Barbara Barrow continues to perform with her ensemble the expanded Grapes of Wrath  music, and folks have been very receptive.

Jamie O'Reilly (www.jamieoreilly.com) and I did the music for Homefront: Silenced Voices of War by poet Patricia Monahan at the DePaul Humanities Center.

Anne Hills (www.annehills.com) is doing a recording this summer of my settings of Opal Whitely's diary entries.

I've got several songs on the new Pete Special recording for Alligator (www.alligator.com).

John McDermott (www.johnmcdermott.com), who has recorded "The Dutchman" and "Crazy Mary", has invited me to do a recording in Toronto with him.

Last week I lost my wallet in New Jersey and this wonderful lady in Oldwick found it and gave it to my friends the Campbells who sent it back to me.  What a great life.  Don't forget to read:  Atonement  by Ian McEwan.

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