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

Gay Marshall and Cathy Grier perform together April 27th

UPDATE: Gay Marshall sent me a copy of one of the songs we wrote together called Heartbroken. Here is a link to download it for free as a fun little throwback to the '90's

Thank God It's Monday a cool Monday night series I am producing with Tony Powe, showcasing the best street and subway performers. at Bar Barramundi 67 Clinton St bet Rivington and Stanton St (Manhattan Lower East Side)

Gay Marshall and Cathy Grier at a recent Joe's Pub concert -Justin Sayre's tribute to Indigo Girls 

Gay Marshall and Cathy Grier at a recent Joe's Pub concert -Justin Sayre's tribute to Indigo Girls 

I met Gay in Paris where I was living in the early 1990's. We wrote music together. Gay went on to perform in some amazing one woman show's singing music of Brel and Piaf. She's performed in Cat's and toured with La Cage Aux Folles. I am so excited to be performing a few songs with Gay at the series Thank God It's Monday.  We'll be singing a few Phil Ochs songs (his music important now more than ever), and of course the Indigo Girls song Closer to Fine that we sang together at Joe's Pub recently. Mostly you have to come and hear Gay's amazing voice and stage presence.

Hope to see you there.  It's free!!

Amazing Grace live at Club Helsinki

I invited bassist Dan Kleederman to join me for the wonderful opportunity to support a great cause, a benefit concert for Habitat for Humanity in Hudson, NY at Club Helsinki. Dan and I were the opening act. It was a great night that featured great musicians who also call Hudson home: Tommy Stinson, Melora Creager, Meshell Ndegeocello, and Melissa Auf der Mauer. Hence the name for the benefit Home Bass: 4 Strings, 4 Hearts. It was fun performing with another musician on stage.

INTI and the Moon, Music Under NY

Performing in the Graybar corridor of Grand Central Staion, I discovered INTI and the Moon, a trio led by guitarist Geovanni Suquillo, with Fatih Tabboushe-percussion and Muammer Aryar-Guitar.  Geo has been with the Music Under NY program for many years and I am always thrilled to find him performing.  He has a way of collaborating with other musicians that makes his music sound fresh and organic.

"Keep Playing We're Rolling"

Taken during the shooting of a music video (1986) with my band "Student's Of Life" at Bradley Air Museum in CT.  My brother John found this picture recently and sent it to me-he's the one on the plane with the sadly ineffective smoke machine.  As we were shooting, two museum security guards were running towards us and shouting you can't be up there.  The director was shouting-keep playing we're rolling.  Needless to say it was a one take shot!  The clip is uploaded on my clips page-the song is "Breaking New Ground", which won an MTV Basement Tape Award in 1986.


Times Square Alliance Best Of Buskers series 45th @ B'way

I really enjoy this gig spot and find the tourists, locals, the street vendors and cops to be really supportive of my performances. Robert the Naked Cowboy came over to introduce himself and bought a disk (wondered where he was going to put it...). I've had a great time and do hope Times SQ Alliance gets a chance to continue this series (there’s talk that it won’t survive). Met Rachelle and Kathie from CA with the best color purple nails. They bought a CD and came back later and tipped me with the same color polish! That beats the 2 cans of Ensure or the bag of potato chips I’ve gotten in the past! A karate kid from Tennessee in his outfit and black belt, walked by, he had just finished being on an NBC show, the segment will be aired in a few weeks. He’s the youngest black belt. Soooooo cute and when I asked him what his friends say about it, he was cool and was coy. I also asked what was the best thing he’s learned about being a martial artist and he said the control. Smart kid. It took him 5 years to get the belt. I hope his folks send me the pictures they took too.
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Bryant Park

Walking through Bryant Park, grass being watered

The other day the entire green space covered with Fashion Week tents

Now it’s sod again park chairs and people awaiting the okay to climb on


Next there will be a skating rink, tomorrow a yoga class

Now that’s Adaptive Reuse in action

I pass Italian tourists furiously scribbling postcards while chatting without looking up

Does anyone write cards anymore except tourists?

The art of letter writing, the treasures stuffed away in boxes, drawers awaiting discovery

The smell of musty paper and faded ink

Ruth Reichl’s book about her mother a memoir put together from long forgotten letters awaiting the discovery and finally a kind of closure, a knowing.

Today we use with amazing ease an email message that can so easily get lost? Or in truth erased or due to new technology that won’t have the slightest clue how to open and convert-how disheartening to know it’s all there but can’t see it, feel it.  I love the digital age, but I am still in awe of the tactile act of holding a handwritten letter in my hands.

Photos are the same.  How much history are we losing by not keeping some things in “hard copy” form.



Back after a summer break

Yesterday was my first day back underground after a summer break.  Union Square couldn’t have been more vibrant, colorful and noisy.  It took a bit of getting used to the frenetic energy and still manage to find my composure (and my pitch!). I admittedly am a bit rusty after being in the countryside, there I dodged Lyme disease from ticks and the occasional mosquito.  Underground, it’s commuters racing recklessly too close to my spot, the gate alarm, waves of people merging directly in front of me, and did I mention the gate alarm?  Soon that too will not appear to be more than a note in the right key and I’ll adapt my tempo to it to be more collaborative with my setting.

I found the city full of love yesterday, or at least at Union Square anyway.  Lots of public display of affection, teenagers kissing, couples hugging Hi and Bye.  It felt strangely pre September 11, it felt optimistic as if life in the city has finally found a rhythm free from the usual stress of potential fear, real or imagined.  Maybe it was just something in my perspective after being away.  No matter what the reason, it was good to be home underground performing.

I counted 14 bikes, 2 skateboards (one without wheels), a man dressed all in white picking into a garbage bin, 2 double bass, 2 little dogs, the usual undercover cops stopping turnstyle jumpers (appearing to give only warnings-a nice change!) and fashion has clearly gone back to the ‘80’s-big glasses, tops and tight jeans/leggings. A generous teen in jeans set fashionably below the butt with colorful boxers and mostly wearing a fantastic smile, tipped me before I even started! My little Guassmeter that measures electric magnetic fields, found Union Square relatively clear of EMF’s (more on that in another blog).

Today I’m at one of the few locations  where I perform on the actual platform near the tracks at Astor Place. 12-3.




I'm reflecting on the events of this day 8 years ago. Loss and tragedy have a way of etching into our fiber personally and collectively.  Like a cross section of an oak, we can see what years brought amazing growth and which ones presented intense hardship.  The ring that describes September 11th in my soul is clear in it's grief and amazement that such an event could happen, right here, in our city, in our country. Yet new rings encircle it now, each with their own reaction to the preceding years.

Today I remember Sergio Villanueva fireman from ladder 132 engine 4 and cousin of a friend of mine.  Singing at his memorial gave me the opportunity to express my incomprehensible fear and grief over the events of September 11.  I will forever be humbled by being allowed to be a part of his family for such an intimate sharing of their tragedy.  

My nephew Alex was only 10 at the time, today he is a recent member of the Coast Guard after serving as a firefighter in his hometown in NJ.  It's that pure and simple, the events of September 11th and of the heroism of people like Sergio inspired Alex to want to make a difference saving peoples lives.  

Today I am remembering.

History has a way of smoothing over jagged edges. We may not necessarily be healed, but the tragedy absorbs into life into something completely new.

May we never forget.

Healthcare? Why should I care?.... We should all care!

The day after Obama’s healthcare speech and after Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) screamed out "You lie!" here are my comments sent along with my signature of a petition created by (yes that one-you now know my lefty leanings, if you didn’t already) asking Congress to move ahead with a healthcare bill. Me: Please do the right thing for all Americans. We cannot afford to be passive. Too many
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South Ferry new station opening

Monday, March 16, 2009 at 8:29am

I'm off to South Ferry today, it's a new station with amazing art installations from brothers Doug and Mike Starn who were commissioned by the MTA and Arts for Transit. I had a chance to perform for the private artist viewing of the spot-it was great. Today is the public opening, so it will be fun to just perform for people trying to get from one place to another, and possibly others coming our of curiosity. When was the last time a new station opened? There have been delays and complaints, but what I can see so far is that it's accessible-elevators and escalators (most stations have none or are difficult to find, disgustingly gross, or out of service). Here's a chance to give people beautiful art to look at (and fun music too).


The picture is from the opening party I performed at March 3rd by photographer Rob Wilson and sent to me from MUNY as a reminder of where to set up today (not against the elevator bank!). Funny

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 7:49am

the station opened without any ceremony, although I sat on a train held up because of a water main problem. I didn't realize until I got to the station that the main break affected the 1 line and so no one was using the new station-it was crazy. I set up where another performer Sean (a great cellist) was playing, and it worked out fine. By 4pm the station opened and so I moved. It was beautiful being inside by the art, but no one was walking by really, so that part was frustrating. It was great overhearing comments from people walking by "gorgeous", "beautiful", "wow". There were workmen there happy to see the station finally open.

Will be happy to go back.....