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Sing Out! The Folk Song Magazine,
Fall 2005
by Fran Landt

Wow! This album begins with an extended stroke of guitar lightening by Johnny Hiland that is likely to make your heart jump. You'll rarely hear a more head-turning beginning. While nothing else on the album could compare to it, that lick provides a justly powerful introduction to this collection of the music with which Dave Fromer has been entertaining small audiences for many years. The album is a loving bringing together of folk-revival style songs
to warm the heart and spirit.

A musician and guitar teacher for many years, Dave Fromer has been known primarily as a soccer coach in the San Francisco Bay Area. But, he is not new to the folk scene. With his brother and a friend, he toured with the Henry Mancini Orchestra, and the trio later shared billing with groups including The Beach Boys, The Lovin' Spoonful, John Denver, Roger Miller and Phil Ochs.

Cuts including "It Could Be a Wonderful World," and "A New Friend" bring the spirit of the mid-'60s to contemporary times; the songs espouse the need for ecology and sharing as fellow citizens of a small planet, the value of friendship, and the pleasure of making new friends. Fromer's sense of silliness and fun are also reflected, as in his "Nonsense Song" and "Would You Believe Me?."

Fromer's arrangements are wonderfully spare and clean, with David Grisman's mandolin, Bill Evan's banjo, Chris Kranvyak's fiddle, Johnny Hiland's guitar, and others adding tastefully to the mix on various numbers. Hiland and Kranyvak especially stand out on "Bucket of Bright Red Paint." "Machines and Things that Go," in the tradition of Paxton's "Marvelous Toy," is sparked both by Hiland's guitar and nicely integrated sound effects.

Reflecting the gentle, humanistic values and styles of the early-'60s, Shake a Hand is no less relevant today. Most important, fine music like this knows no season. 

© 2005 Sing Out Corporation © 2005 Gale Group



"The 'Shake A Hand' CD has already given me priceless memories of watching my sons dance, humm and crack-up to the lyrics. This is the first time ever that I have seen a music CD grab their interest so intently. The songs are full of wonderful surprises and they can't wait to hear what comes next.
I marvel at how the positive nature of this CD affects us all. After
listening to just a few songs, they become more caring, cheerful and
patient, and so do I. As I watch them focus in on the words - trying to
remember each one so they can sing along - I feel so thankful for the loving messages contained on the CD. Many thanks to Dave and his team."
Susan Schneider
Marin County, CA



Marin Independent Journal
Friday, December 10, 2004

Soccer Coach Kicks on CD for Kids

Mill Valley’s David Fromer, best known in Marin for his youth soccer camps, has also been entertaining kids for decades as a singer and guitarist.

He realizes a long-held dream with a new CD, “Shake a Hand,” a superbly produced and performed collection of 14 songs for little people.

“When I sing for kids, I feel I have a great opportunity to share my sense
of humor and values with them,” Fromer says. “I also feel like a kid myself,
like I’m one of the gang.”

It’s become a cliché to say a record for kids can be enjoyed by adults, but
in this case it’s actually true. Much of that is due to the quality of the songs, nine of which were penned by Fromer’s talented brother, Jon, who produced a series of Bay Area shows for children on local TV in the 70’s and 80’s that featured his music.

Fromer, who recorded a major label album with a folk trio in the ‘60’s, is
an accomplished musician and guitar teacher from a musical family that
includes his singer and keyboard player son, Reed, who performs on the
record and wrote the liner notes.

You won’t find many albums for kids that can boast this many name musicians, among them mandolinist David Grisman, guitarist Tal Morris, bassist Mel Graves, drummer Paul Revelli, multi-instrumentalist Joe Kraven, percussionist Marquinho Brazil, reed virtuoso Jim Rothermel and the
sensational young guitarist Johnny Hiland.

Fromer and guest musicians perform songs from the album as well as holiday music from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday at the 142 Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley. Tickets are $5; $3 for kids. The CD, with whimsical art work by Mill Valley artist Ellen Blonder, is available online at www.davefromermusic.com

Paul Liberatore