Linda and I eventually found a way to be collaborators again, and in the summer of 1976 we played a pair of reunion concerts of which I still have vivid memories. In the mid-90’s we revived our musical partnership in earnest, and we’ve been appearing together regularly since then. We also issued a CD, ‘Naked Under the Moon’, produced by Craig Anderton (which you can learn more about at www.kac-cohen.com).
A couple of years ago, while writing about my experiences as a performing musician, I found myself more and more preoccupied with folk music and my involvement in it. As I began to think about how much fun it would be to get back to that, a voice very deep inside me said ‘Well, why don’t you?’
So I did. I bought a banjo, the first one I’ve owned since the late 60’s, and began practicing guitar again. Working to my advantage is the fact that the Minneapolis-St. Paul area has been a national center for folk music since before Bob Dylan first began performing around the University of Minnesota campus in the late 50’s. There’s a coffeehouse on practically every corner, and a seemingly inexhaustible supply of musical talent. I’m sure that this is not a coincidence: if you’ve ever lived through a Minnesota winter, you know there’s not much to do except stay indoors and play music!
On stage at the Ginkgo Coffee House in St. Paul, July, 2007. Photo by Carl Brookins.
In the fall of 2007, I joined a newly formed group called the Milltown Band, specializing in traditional American, British and Irish music, and we made our debut in January of 08. This was the fulfillment of a dream! In my early days as a folk performer what I wanted more than anything else was to be part of a group following the Weavers’ example, but I just couldn’t make it happen. Now, after many years, it has happened. Hallelujah! You can hear (and see) us at www.myspace.com/milltownband.
The Milltown Band. Left to right: Beth Woehrle, Tony Balzarini-Leonhart, Annie Woehrle, Michael Kac.
Around the time of the formation of the Milltown Band I began getting together regularly with Tim Fast [myspace.com/timfastmusic], a brilliant singer-songwriter whose work I greatly admire, and we’ve talked about trying to recruit some other people to form a group with a more contemporary emphasis. Can I manage being in two groups? The way I look at it, if I’m lucky I won’t have to make a choice, and if I’m really lucky I will. In addition to working with Tim I’ve made some outings with Laura Underwood, an up-and-coming vocalist with a great feel for blues and jazz.