My new life in Sturgeon Bay, WI

If you have found my site because you want to know more about busking in NYC, take a look around the pages as there is a lot of helpful information. On this site I also have a vast collection of videos I created called The Inspiration Project. Created from my years filming people in stations and asking them a simple yet complex question. Follow links within this site for videos and stories.

If you have come here because you are interested in knowing more about me and what I am doing now, and yes I am in Sturgeon Bay, WI (a lovely place to now call home), please visit my site

There are many things that I am doing in Sturgeon Bay and in Wisconsin. I currently host a Writers Night with pAt mAdonald. Here is an article about it written by Alyssa Skiba and photo by Len Villano.

image by Len Villano_Cathy Grier_Pulse Paper

I'd love to hear from you, feel free to reach out through this site or find me at

Happy Thanksgiving! Thankful for Spontaneous Sharing in The Underground.

I am filled with joyful and warm memories from The Underground as we approach Thanksgiving through this wet and snowy day. Without fail, each time I venture out to one of my busking gigs, I meet someone who fills me with inspiration and happiness. Asking them "What Inspires You?" is often on the tail of a spontaneous and inspirational interaction that we have just shared. Such was the case with Rose, a traveler I spotted in LIRR station with a mandolin case. It turned out she was up for a little jam session and broke out her mandolin for me as a crowd formed around us. It's hard to be a part of the spontaneous action and film the action, but no matter the frame, the composition is all there. Check her out below in a playlist of similar moments. I am so very thankful for moments like these and I carry you all in my heart as we remember to be grateful on Thanksgiving. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

NYC Subway Girl

Gallery of clips co-edited by Ian James MacRae Jackson 

See more inspirations from my Inspiration Project and Video Gallery.  I have 100's of clips featuring the amazing people I meet.

New Museum music + art

I'll be returning to the New Museum today the last day of February, performing from 11am-2:30 PM.  Since February 12th there have been daily performances of live NYC street musicians. We take turns performing in the lobby as people come in.  The sound is not only carried throughout that floor, seeping into the book store and live music in the cafe, but it is also being amplified into the 3rd floor exhibition.

It's been so bitter cold out, and today is no exception (I believe it's 9 degrees outside).  For a busker a warm gig like this is a welcome relief.  I stand performing as the large double sided elevator one with bright green walls and reflective doors open and close in a kind of fun house way. When the doors open if the other side is closed I see myself reflected back to me.  Other times people are also entering at the same time. It's strangely amusing to me.  I can also look to my left through the vast floor to ceiling windowpane with the view of Bowery and all the activity there.

Come on by.  Bring a gently worn or new men's coat for free admission. The coats are donated to neighbors The Bowery Mission.


first Times Square Alliance booking @ 45th and Broadway

Taking the train to NYC tomorrow to perform in Times Square. I had planned on being away from the hot sticky, and smelly city, in exchange for the country air 2 hours north of Manhattan. Back in Spring I auditioned for the Times Square Alliance and they now have the permits necessary to let an amplified performer like me play. Apparently the city afraid of the “noise” doesn’t want performers amplified, but as a more acoustic type performer, even I can’t sing and play 3 hours un-amplified without losing my voice, or breaking picks and strings.

My first gig with Music Under New York in 1999, I had a quite romantic view of busking and did perform purely acoustically. That was in the lower level of Grand Central Station, and the one and only time I ever performed without a small portable amp.

I do hope that the city can come to some sort of agreement regarding the amplified issue. At this point the Naked Cowboy gets the work-he only needs to be seen not heard!

It will be interesting performing above ground. Now that the city has closed off the portion of Broadway to vehicular traffic, it should be interesting to be in the midst of summertime pedestrian chaos (also matinee day), and part of the ongoing experiment that is now a Times Square strolling park. In a strange way my perception today is that I feel safer and more insulated in the underground. After tomorrow that perception might be different.


The Subways

Performing: in NYC subway system is not a placeholder to better things, performing underground transcends career ambition.  The act is the soundtrack to a continuous story played out in the eyes and ears of the thousands who pass by. Music underground transcends the musical taste of the listener, because it’s momentary, it either masks other underground sounds or is drowned out by screeching wheels, closing door chimes, public announcements on distorted speakers and the multiplied sounds of people moving about carrying, dragging noisy items. 

I change my playlist to what I see and hear.  At any moment a woman’s clicking heels, a man’s cane, a child’s stare, an old man’s gait-all act as catalysts to my performance. Like a conductor with an orchestra playing a score, I watch attentively conducting, watching an unfolding movie on a screen.

A major key sounds minor, a dance groove sounds bluesier, a note held shorter, longer, all changes at an instant, instant reaction cause and effect, and affect! And is so pleasurable to me.  This is not a concert, this is a musical installation that metamorphoses.  It’s upside down and inside out.  It’s not waiting for a response-it is the response.  It does not work the same with a sitting audience, it exists in the flow of commuter traffic and energy.  It’s improv, it’s jazz, it’s bebop, it’s free, nothing pleases me more.  No stage lights that blind, giving inhibitions a chance to hide, no your side, my side or the performance game, we’re all in this together.