Old Man Kelly: Songs, Stories, Shanties and Shenanigans

Don’t Tell Darlings on CD Baby

The Don't Tell Darlings: Sugar for Sugar

Jugbusters on CD Baby


Fall 2014 News

They say idle hands are the devil’s playthings, so I suppose the devil has been keeping himself occupied elsewhere, because my hands have been working furiously.  In between playing tenor banjo with The Fat Tuesdays Band, slinging guitar with The Streetsweepers, bringing the Old Man Kelly one-man-band show on the road, and calling square and contra dances, I’ve still managed to harvest the garden, can peaches, take sixty pounds of honey off my beehives, and even squeeze in some river trips and a beach outing this summer.  Let it be said that I’ve tried not to waste a day.  And I’m getting ready to hit it even harder this fall.  Some of the highlights:

This Friday, I’ll be calling square dances at the Rockbridge festival in Buena Vista, VA, to the sweet sounds of band Sugar Pie.  This is one of my favorite dances of the year, and I’m honored and humbled to be calling for it.  Some of my square dance calling heroes have held that microphone over the years, so I’m super excited to have it handed to me for a night.

Speaking of square dances, I’ll be calling September 18 at Carnegie Hall in Lewisburg, WV, to the rocking tunes of the Little Stony Nighthawks.  “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”  “Practice.  Lots of practice.”

In early October, the Old Man Kelly show hits the road, with stops in Harrisonburg VA, Takoma Park MD, Canton NY, and couple of stops in Vermont.  Square dances, house concerts, and one-man-band mayhem!  See the schedule below for details.

On October 17, I’ll head back home to play a swing dance at Sapphire Ballroom in Christiansburg with The Streetsweepers.  When we played this dance last year, over 100 dancers packed into the room, and the dancing was nothing short of magical.  We can’t wait to do it again!

The next night, October 18, I’ll be calling squares again at the annual Glade Road Growing Harvest Ball.  If you think that a dinner and dance at a brilliantly working organic farm sounds like a good idea, you’re absolutely right.  Nobody parties like Glade Road farmers.

Other dates are on the schedule below – check ‘em out.  And get off my lawn.  And come out to a show!

  • 9/5, Fri – Rockbridge Festival Square Dance, Buena Vista, VA (dance calling with band Sugar Pie)
  • 9/6, Sat – Mountainview Park, Roanoke, VA (with the Fat Tuesdays band)
  • 9/12, Fri – Due South BBQ, Christiansburg, VA (with Bob Chew)
  • 9/13, Sat – Our Daily Bread, Blacksburg, VA
  • 9/18, Thu – Carnegie Hall Square Dance, Lewisburg, WV (dance calling with band Little Stony Nighthawks)
  • 10/3, Fri – Little Grill Collective, Harrisonburg, VA
  • 10/5, Sun – Electric Maid, Takoma Park, MD
  • 10/8, Wed – House Concert, Canton, NY
  • 10/10, Fri – The Bee’s Knees, Morrisville, VT
  • 10/11, Sat – American Legion Square Dance, Montpelier, VT (dance calling with band Kick ‘Em Jenny)
  • 10/12, Sun – The Skinny Pancake, Montpelier, VT
  • 10/16, Thu – Due South BBQ, Christiansburg, VA (with Bob Chew)
  • 10/17, Fri – Sapphire Ballroom, Christiansburg, VA (with The Streetsweepers)
  • 10/18, Sat – Glade Road Growing Harvest Ball, Blacksburg, VA (dance calling with band Farm Use Only)
  • 10/19, Sun – Sinkland Farms Pumpkin Festival, Riner, VA
  • 10/28, Tue – Town Pump Tavern, Black Mountain, NC


Summertime Is Funnertime!

Summertime is funnertime here in the mountains of Virginia, the garden is already a jungle, and my gig schedule is ramping up accordingly.  Here are a few of the highlights:

This Saturday, June 7, I’ll be calling the River City Barn Dance at Hardywood Brewery in Richmond, with tunes provided by my old friends from The Beer Ticks.  (These ticks don’t suck!)  On either side of that, I’ll be providing accompaniment for Alison Self — Friday night at the Hippodrome Theater in Richmond, and Sunday night at Marty’s Grill in Mechanicsville.  It will be a delicious square dance sandwich between two slices of classic country bread.  If you’re near RVA, come out and say hello.

On Wednesday, June 11, Old Man Kelly and the Streetsweepers will be bringing our unique blend of country swing dance music to Mingle At the Market in Blacksburg.  Local beer, local produce, and live dance music at an outdoor venue with an early enough start time to bring the family.  If you stay home for this one, you’re crazy.  Or boring.  Don’t be crazy or boring.

Sunday, June 15, I’ll be doing a solo set at the annual Father’s Day brunch put on by the Palisades Restaurant at the old schoolhouse in Eggleston, VA.  This was an amazing event last year, featuring a former White House chef, an alien visitation, and a whole day worth of bands in one of the prettiest parts of the state.  I’m very much looking forward to doing it again this year!

Speaking of the Palisades Restaurant, on Friday, June 27, I’m thrilled to announce a reunion show of The Don’t Tell Darlings.  This will be a one-night-stand, featuring the full four-piece band that captured the hearts of central Virginia a few years ago.  A couple of albums, a few marriages, and one and a half babies later, we’re getting back together for one night only.  If you miss this one, maybe we’ll see you again in three or four years.  Maybe.

And that’s just the highlights.  My full schedule for the next two months is below.  You know the rules: Get off my lawn.  Come out to a show.  And thanks for supporting non-corporate, home-grown music!

  • 6/06 Fri, 7pm: Hippodrome Theater, Richmond, VA (with Alison Self)
  • 6/07 Sat, 4pm: River City Barn Dance, Hardywood Brewery, Richmond, VA (Square Dance)
  • 6/08 Sun, 6pm: Marty’s Grill, Mechanicsville, VA (with Alison Self)
  • 6/11 Wed, 5pm: Mingle at the Market, Blacksburg, VA (Old Man Kelly and the Streetsweepers)
  • 6/13 Fri, 6pm: Due South BBQ, Christiansburg, VA (with Bob Chew)
  • 6/15 Sun, 11am: Palisades Father’s Day Brunch, Eggleston, VA (Old Man Kelly)
  • 6/19 Thu, 6pm: Due South BBQ, Christiansburg, VA (with Bob Chew)
  • 6/21 Sat, 9am: Blacksburg Farmer’s Market, Blacksburg, VA (Old Man Kelly)
  • 6/21 Sat, 7pm: Private Event, Mountain Lake, VA (Square Dance)
  • 6/27 Fri, 6pm: Palisades Restaurant, Eggleston, VA (with The Don’t Tell Darlings)
  • 6/28 Sat, 12pm: Private Event, Blacksburg, VA (with The Don’t Tell Darlings)
  • 7/04 Fri, 1pm: Independence Day Parade, Newport, VA (Old Man Kelly)
  • 7/11 Fri, 6pm: Due South BBQ, Christiansburg, VA (with Bob Chew)
  • 7/16 Wed, 7pm: Market Square Jam, Blacksburg, VA (with The Hoyt Street Hotshots)
  • 7/17 Thu, 7pm: Jake’s Place, Smith Mountain Lake, VA (with The Fat Tuesdays Band)
  • 7/26 Sat, 7pm: Roanoke Contra Dance, Kirk Ave YMCA, Roanoke, VA (Contra Dance)

Streetsweepers show in Radford CANCELLED

I’m sorry to say that due to the snow removal situation, the Streetsweepers show in Radford is cancelled for tonight.  We’ll reschedule for some time in the coming months!

February and March shows with Old Man Kelly

Winter blues got you down? Tired of staring at your living room walls waiting for the thaw? Have I got a deal for you!

In partnership with the Side Door crew, Old Man Kelly And The Streetsweepers will be bringing honky-tonk and country swing music to
Radford on Saturday, Feb. 15. Come with friends, bring a date, or come alone and leave with new friends. This is a BYOB, open to the public,
no-holds-barred winter-blues-busting throw-down. This ain’t no seated show: plenty of room to dance, or just socialize with your crew!

Venue: Grace Episcopal Church, 210 4th St., Radford, VA
Date: Saturday, Feb. 15
Time: Doors at 6:30; music at 7:00
Cost: $8/person

Also, mark your calendars for Mardi Gras, March 4. I’ll be joining the Fat Tuesdays Band on tenor banjo for not one, but two shows of great New Orleans jazz:

Venue: The Quarter, Roanoke, VA
Date: Tuesday, Mar. 4
Time: 8:00pm

Venue: Martin’s Downtown, Roanoke, VA
Date: Tuesday, Mar. 4
Time: 11:00pm


On March 29, I’ll be calling square dances with Farm Use Only at the Marginal Arts Festival, Roanoke’s premiere event of marginal and outsider art:


And those are just the highlights — check out the web site and Facebook page for the full February/March schedule. And get off my lawn! And come to a show!

New Year Love Letter to My Friends and Fans

As we put 2013 up on the shelf and dust off our shiny new 2014, I want to take the opportunity to say Thank You.

Thank you to all of my fans and friends who came out to support my music this year.  Since the last time we tore the calendar from the wall, I’ve done nearly 120 performances — about one every three days.  Thanks to my friends from Welcome to Hoonah, my friends from The Fat Tuesdays Band, my friends from The Streetsweepers, my friends from The Jugbusters, my friend Bob Chew, my friends from all of the dances that we’ve put on, the pies we’ve auctioned, and the shenanigans we’ve raised.  Thanks to everyone who has helped with booking and organizing all of these shows and events.  It’s been a hell of a ride.

This year saw me produce and release not one, but two new albums.  Thanks to everyone who helped to make Old Man Kelly’s Songs, Stories, Shanties and Shenanigans a success.  Thank you, Nancy Jurek for the photography; Chris Printz, Nathan Bowles, Mark Barbour, Hugh Crumley for the musical contributions; and all of the Blacksburg rabble for the shanty vocals (see liner notes for the complete list!)  Thank you to The Don’t Tell Darlings for Salt for Salt, the finest accidental album ever made in a beach house.  Not everybody gets to go on vacation with their best friends and make a record in between blender drinks and mini golf, but I do.  Thank you.

Of course, 2013 was just the warm-up.  The new year is looking pretty good.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • Saturday, January 4: Old Man Kelly and the Streetsweepers at Fatso Ballroom in Blacksburg.  Potluck starts at 6:30; dance starts at 8:00.  If you’ve been waiting for your chance to dance to honky-tonk and country swing in the New River Valley, wait no longer.
  • Saturday, January 25: Old Man Kelly and the Streetsweepers at Sapphire Ballroom in Christiansburg.  The dance studio staff will be teaching a swing dance lesson at 7:30, and the band will cut loose at 8:30.  Come alone, bring a date, or bring a group of 5 or more to get a group discount!
  • Thursday, January 30: Old Man Kelly solo set at Gillie’s in Blacksburg.  Haul away, Joe!

As ever, you’ll find the full schedule at http://oldmankelly.com.  And as ever:

You kids get off my lawn and come out to the show!