Norm Whitman’s ‘Stories We Could Tell’ & ‘Detours’

I want to tip my virtual hat to Norm Whitman, a gentlemen I’ve only met a few times over the past 30 years, but whom has been an inspiration, a mentor and a friend. Norm hosted a ‘folk’ radio show on WYSO 91.3 FM Yellow Springs, OH up until his last show on September 27, 2014.

Norm Whitman

I first found when I entered Antioch College in fall 1987. I know I still have a number of cassettes of songs I found through his show. I met him at the station a few times, where I did a 2AM – 6AM show for a few months (before I realized that was ridiculous). It’s no accident I ended up hosting a folk radio show when I moved to Maine. Anyone who did a close comparison to my favorite artists, song selections, and song associations would realize that my show was just a pale imitation to the true art that was happening in the Miami Valley of SW Ohio. Certainly my choices of some more politically themed music, both old and new, were inspired by Norm’s shows and even a number of artists I hosted ‘house concerts’ with and now consider friends were first brought to my attention via Norm’s show.

To quote Mike Agranoff’s story ‘The Ballad of the Sandman’, where it’s narrator calls their hero and fellow DJ and says I listen to your show because it’s better far than mine.

Oh and, not that anyone from WYSO is likely ever going to see this, but I have believe they are making a mistake in letting Norm go off the air. If they had perhaps found another local host to do a show I think I’d feel better but they, once again, replaced his show with something produced ‘from away’; “Peabody Award-winning “Studio 360 from PRI and WNYC” is public radio’s smart and surprising guide to what’s happening in pop culture and the arts“. Oh yay! (sarcasm), a (syndicated) show about ‘pop culture’. Sorry WYSO, it’s been a great run but I’m tuning out and will focus my streaming exclusively to WERU

You can read a little bit more about Norm here

And WYSO has an interview with him posted on their site at

I started recording Norm’s shows in April 2010 and posting them in a ‘secret’ archive so I could podcast them. Later I mentioned to Norm that I had these recordings and I believe on a few occasions he’s used them to get copies of on the air interviews that were not recorded at the station.

This ‘secret’ archive is at and I know I’ll be listening to them for a long while as I hope others will too.

In Norm’s final playlist posting to FolkDJ-L he wrote “It was and always has been an honor to be at WYSO for these last 30 plus years”

Well Norm, to quote Tom Paxton’s song ‘The Honor of Your Company’;

So, thank you for the honor of your company;
The music was as sweet as the good red wine.
Thanks for the company,
And thanks for the harmony,
I’m here to say the honor was all mine.

Thanks again for all the music and jokes and .. well just everything. Best wishes on your new adventures, I’ll be following them closely on Facebook and if I’m ever in SW Ohio again I owe you at least a coffee if not a full meal and big hug for all you’ve done for me and the folk and roots music communities.

There are fires you have to keep tending

I had the honor of helping organize & attending a concert with Cosy Sheridan and TR Ritchie last night through a group of friends I organize concerts with as part of the Downeast Concert Collective. One song she sang particularly haunted me so I wanted to include the lyrics here. This is available on her Live At Cedarhouse recording at and you can listen to a clip (and order the CD) at


there is comfort you do not grow out of, shoes you cannot replace
birthdays you always look back on, goodbyes you cannot erase
there are memories you never go back to, and those where you always return
there are fires you have to keep tending, and those that just know how to burn
there’s a walk you wish never ended, a friendship you wish never changed
hopes you wish they’d hold onto, adjustments you just can’t arrange
there’s a summer perfect and golden, when the young and the foolish don’t know
there are torches you have to carry, and those that will follow wherever you go
but a life doesn’t go where you lead it, adventures don’t do what they’re told
and i don’t know the reason, why i push myself out in the cold
so find me an answer to the bump in the night, why some love won`t let you alone
some fires go out when you leave them, some keep burning all on their own
there are memories you never go back to, and those where you always return
there are fires you have to keep tending, and those that just know how to burn