Saturday, April 17, 2010


Not so long ago, I thought I likely wouldn't be busking again, since last year's project was very much an enjoyable one-off, and I was thinking that it wouldn't be the same if I went back over old ground.

Then I got an email from Rebecca Huval, a journalism grad student at Columbia, who's doing a radio piece on busking for a class assignment and wanted to talk to me about my experiences.

We met for a chat and despite being a bit reticent initially, I agreed to go out on the subway with her yesterday, with the idea of giving her some ambient sound for her piece and maybe bumping into some of the performers I'd met before.

So I played for a while at the 72nd Street station - since I remembered that the acoustics there were pretty good, there's a decent amount of time between trains, and the crowd is usually good-natured. I played a couple of songs I hadn't for a while (like this one - now I can't get it out of my head..)

Then we headed downtown, first to 42nd, then 34th, and then to 14th Streets. There was no-one playing at the first two, but at the mezzanine at Union Square, we met Victor and David, two young guitar players who told us it was their first time playing underground.

They were warming up for a show Saturday night at the UC Lounge in Ludlow Street, and definitely had a nice, mellow groove going.

As I told Rebecca after we watched them for a while, bumping into guys like this was exactly what I enjoyed the most about busking last year - you meet folks who are into the music and are doing it for the love of playing. It's what makes the city's subway musicians a real treasure.

So who knows, maybe I might end up playing underground again here and there this summer.

(By the way, I made $8 at 72nd Street before Rebecca showed up. I ended up giving most of it away to other buskers and beggars on the train home)


Today is Record Store Day, so if you can, support your local vinyl retailer. I'll be dropping by my local here in Brooklyn, which inside is like a treasure trove of musical history, and remembering the record stores I went to as a kid, including Good Vibrations in Belfast, which did so much to encourage the city's music scene in the late 70s and early 80s.

My favorite record store in New York is Bleecker Street Records in the Village, partly because I can usually combine going there with a visit to Matt Umanov Guitars on the same street.


  1. hey Steve! Victor here. Thanks for uploading the video man and for the nice inspiring words.

    We have our show tonight at UC Lounge, 87 Ludlow St at 7pm
    If you can, consider yourself invited or spread the word.

    I hope our paths will cross again in the beats below New York


  2. Thanks Victor. No problem - good to meet you guys. I'm out of town tonight, but definitely email me next time. Enjoy the gig!

  3. I loved the video!
    They are very good.

  4. Hey Steve! i hope everything is going well with you. It is great to see this video. Gets me all excited.

    This time I post here to invite you to the concerts David and I will be having this weekend and also to ask you to please spread the word around your circle of friends who you believe might like it.

    Here is the link to the facebook event.


  5. Excellent, Victor, thanks. I'll spread the word and will try to make it to one of the weekend shows. Good luck!

  6. Hey Steve. I wanted to let you know: the show on saturday was cancelled. Now we only have show on sunday at 7:30pm at The National Underground. For some reason I had to post this here for second time. I thought I had the post and now I realized it wasn't.