The Flagpole Radio Café Orchestra
Jim Allyn (Musical Director) produces music that roams the landscape of American Roots, Rock, country, blues and Celtic music. A "mandolinist extraordinaire" according to the Danbury News-Times, he has performed with Arlo Guthrie, Bela Fleck, Chris Hillman of the Byrds, Newgrass Revival, Vassar Clements, and many others. His song The Colors won first place in the Acoustic Alternative category of the 2008 International Acoustic Music Awards. Another original, We Got The Mo (written for The Rockabelles), has garnered rave reviews and tens of thousands of views on YouTube. He is featured on recordings by many artists, including Grammy-winning dobro player Stacy Phillips and singer/songwriter Terence Martin. He is also prominently featured on the 2008 album Steel and Stone by the CT-based band Goldrush. He also performs throughout New England as a member of folk legend Jonathan Edwards' band.
Rick Brodsky (bass) is a multi-instrumentalist and live event production manager who has played within numerous musical genres over the past 30+ years. He grew up in NYC playing rock, blues and folk on guitar and bass. He later studied and performed acoustic finger-style blues and slide guitar before becoming hooked on bluegrass and devoting himself to upright bass. He has appeared at festivals and venues around the Northeast and in clubs in Greenwich Village. As a production manager and event coordinator, Rick has over 20 years of experience with the Clearwater Festival in Croton, NY and has produced many independent concerts. He currently makes his home in Newtown, CT and is a regular on the bluegrass and roots music scene. Rick also plays bass for previous Flagpole Radio Café headliner Jonathan Edwards and enjoys tour dates with Jonathan's band throughout the East Coast. Rick loves being a member of The Flagpole Radio Café because of the community connection and the broad range of musical styles presented on the show.
Howie Bujese (fiddle, harmonica) first became interested in traditional American fiddling in the late '60 and began attending the fiddle conventions in Galax, Virginia and Union Grove, North Carolina eventually relocating to the area to immerse himself in the music culture. He would continue this method of musical immersion by traveling to Ireland, to learn the fiddle styles of West Clare, Co Sligo and Co Cork. As he progressed on his instrument he renewed an earlier interest in improvisation that led to Jazz, Blues and eventually to the high velocity Gypsy Jazz.
Howie performs regularly with his wife, Pam, performing the Great American Songbook with their quartet Cool Struttin' and with the legendary gypsy jazz guitarist Larry Urbon and their band Swing du Jour.
Dick Neal (guitar, banjo, vocals) works as a record producer, recording engineer, studio/touring/performing musician, songwriter, recording artist, and teacher. As a Studio Pro (engineer, producer, session musician) his work has appeared in dozens of recordings. He plays stringed instruments (guitars, banjo, mandolin) ina variety of musical settings with many acts. As a songwriter he has released two volumes of original material (soon to be three...) under his own name and had his songs covered by other artists. He teaches both privately and at the college level.
Francine Wheeler (vocals) is a performer with over twenty years experience on stage, and in jingle and voice work for commercials and films. Current project is as a member of The Dream Jam Band, playing eclectic original rock for kids, whose first album was released in November of 2007 and was featured as one of the Top 10 Children's Records of 2007 by National Public Radio and features songs currently on the national charts on XM / Sirius Satellite Radio. Teaches voice, piano and guitar privately here in Newtown.