MusicDish e-Journal - August 17, 2018
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Spook Handy
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Spook Handy spent most of the first six years of this particular lifetime growing up on a dead-end road in Montclair, New Jersey. At the end of the road were the Railroad Tracks proscribing Spook’s domain of childhood play. Spook’s mom used to warn him that the tracks meant trouble and there would be severe consequences for playing there! Beyond the tracks lay a whole world to wonder about - a world to someday be explored and conquered. Spook used to make up all kinds of stories about what was going on on the other side of the tracks. So, in his formative years, he learned that his imagination and creativity thrived on the other side of trouble.

Naturally, when Mom wasn’t looking, Spook wandered up to the edge of the tracks and one day took a walk to the other side. At the young age of six he knew that his life was meant to be lived in the world or creativity and imagination. And for him, the only way to get there was through trouble. Also, naturally, when Spook graduated from college Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in math and business, when it was now his time to decide his own destiny, he turned down several lucrative job offers in the actuarial field and bought his first guitar – a $50 used Yamaha acoustic.

Within weeks, Howard Schwartz, banjo player in the legendary bluegrass/country rock band Wood N Strings serendipitously moved next door and days after that Spook was working as sound technician and manager of the band. By summer’s end, Spook had formed his first duo called the K-9’s and started an open mic at the college pub. He now runs New Jersey’s longest running open mic – The Spook Handy Show – with over 840 nights under its belt. In 1986, Spook co-founded his first full band, the widely acclaimed Love Project and in 1989 formed a separate project Be Here Now. 1989 was also Spook’s first professional solo performance and by 1991 Spook went solo and did his first tour – a 5-month sojourn through most of the 50 states. Since then, Spook has acquired a reputation for making his performances intimate experiences for audiences to long remember. That coupled with the lively interplay of Spook’s singing, acoustic guitar picking and harmonica playing have brought him much recognition:

Finalist: Music to Life Contest - Kerrville Folk Festival, 2001
Feature performer and MC at New Jersey Folk Festival, 2001
Feature performer and MC at New Jersey Folk Festival, 1998
Top Ten Folk Album, 1996, East Coast Rocker
Best Folk Artist, 1993, Aquarian Weekly

People laugh and cry during his performance and they leave feeling good about life and about themselves. His songs have been described as "a message of hope, peace and survival". Here’s what others say:

"a master of wit within words ... worth listening to again and again." ... Naomi de Bruyn, Rambles Magazine

"Spook Handy has produced an album that should finally raise him from obscurity ... Breakfast at Bill's combines solid songcraft with excellent production in a package sure to win many new fans" ... Peter Spencer - Star Ledger

"Exceedingly pleasant and fun to hear ..." Grant Hogarth, KRCL, Salt Lake City

"Phenomenal! It will take many hours of listening to this CD to discover everything that hides in the subtle complexities of the instrumental backings and lyrics ..." Keith Metzger ... Songwriter

"Spook Handy is a wonderfully inventive guitar picker, with a gentle and easy voice ..." Matt Smith... FolkWeb

"Freedom Is Your Destiny is one of the most listenable and imperative albums I’ve heard in a long time." ... Robert Makin ... East Coast Rocker

"Anyone who’s hungry for soul-satisfying music should get a copy" ... Lydia Carole DeFretos ... Aquarian Weekly

# 732-418-1340 or 609-918-1954

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