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Honesdale’s Roots & Rhythm: Who could ask for anything more?

Honesdale residents Richie Ardisson & Silvia Brandt danced the night away in support of the Roots & Rhythm fundraiser at the Narrowsburg Inn.

By Jonathan Fox
March 24, 2011

Before we know it, our parkas will be put away, we’ll be relaxing at our favorite swimmin’ holes and the lawnmowers will be humming. I’m already humming a different tune, having attended the annual Roots & Rhythm Arts and Music Festival kick-off party (and fund raiser) last week at the Narrowsburg Inn.

A nice crowd was on hand to lend their support and dig into their pockets while several great acts performed, whetting my appetite for the sixth annual music and arts festival, slated for June 18 in Honesdale, PA.

I met with director of fundraising Kelly Koch and director of Main Stage Music’s John Rocklin just as the show was tuning up, hoping to get a brief overview of what to expect, as they busily finalize plans for this years festivities. Both were excited to be at the inn, and the headliners that night served as a teaser for the upcoming summer spectacular.

Rocklin took me aside and shared that while some of the bookings are yet to be set in stone, a pre-party chord will strike on May 29 at the Blues & Brews Bar-B-Que (www.facebook.com/pages/Honesdale-Roots-and-Rhythm), featuring the Bobby Kyle Band (bobbykyle.com). As it happened, Kyle, with fill-in band, was in the house, and Rocklin introduced us while informing me that Bobby had dropped everything, called a few friends and joined in at the last moment, to lend a hand.

Even before strapping on his guitar and getting the crowd on its feet, I found Kyle engaging, entertaining and brimming over with enthusiasm about music, the Catskills and singin’ the blues. Both Rocklin and Kyle were animated while sharing the story of how the two met, filling in the details for each other as only old friends can. “You’re forgetting the best part!” Rocklin chimed in, as Kyle was getting ahead of himself while decribing the music scene in Memphis, TN, where the two originally hooked up.

“What’s even more important” intoned Kyle, “is that we are both still here, still making music and entertaining in the only way we know how.” Kyle has been touring the country since the 1970s, and has stories about his many associates in the industry. I could have listened for hours to his tales about them—and hope to have more opportunities to do so—but the Roots & Rhythm festival was at the forefront of the evening’s agenda, so I asked him about his connection to our region.