The Splinter Group
Sunday, June 22, 2014, 3:45pm - 4:30pm
Pete Seeger Room - Room #107
Fredi Bloom, Gail Caulfield and Peter Tracy found each other at the Marin Folk Music Club, about 25 years ago, where they sang harmonies, like they'd been singing together all their lives. Along with Noah Hammond and Linda Marantz, they became the Splinter Group. Life happened over the course of many years, and the five became three, but the love of harmony, has kept these musicians together, from time to time, calling on their friends to add extra spice to their blend.
Seasoned by over 20 years making music together, Fredi, Gail, and Peter have simmered their harmonies into delicate and savory blends on familiar standards, contemporary and traditional folk tunes, and occasional silly songs. Accompanied by the soulful sounds of Peter's acoustic guitar, everything The Splinter Group does finds a heart-string or a funny-bone.
Fredi Bloom - Vocals, Flute, Percussion, Kazoo
Fredi Bloom never remembers a time when she didn't sing, honing her phenomenal talent for harmonizing to any kind of music, while doing dishes at the kitchen sink with her two brothers. During her school years, she sang in synagogue choir and school choruses, adding madrigals and anything else with a good harmony, She learned how to pick out tunes on the flute and to accompany her singing on the guitar. She also acted in musical theatre in school; playing the comic roles, drawn to the whimsy and story-telling which eventually spilled over into her own music.
Fredi has a long history of singing in Hebrew and Yiddish. She has been the cantorial soloist at her synagogue for over thirty years, and she has been entertaining seniors with her Jewish folk music in many venues in Sonoma, Marin and far beyond for all her adult life.
Discovering the Marin Folk Music Club in the eighties, she immediately started harmonizing with everyone who showed up, including the four members who evolved into The Splinter Group. She has spent the last 30 years as a Probation Officer singing to recalcitrant adults.
Fredi got married for the first time at the tender age of 65. At her wedding, with the Splinter Group backing her up, she shone as the star entertainer with her indomitable sense of humor and flair for the dramatic.
Gail Caulfield - Vocals, Guitar, Kazoo, Percussion.
Gail Caulfield grew up in a home with music. Her mother had played the piano for silent movies in her youth, and as a parent, played for all her children's elementary school musicals. As the family sang show tunes around the piano, her mother's warm alto harmonies enriched some of her favorite childhood memories.
Singing in church choirs throughout childhood and adolescence fed her love for music. Her first experience performing for others apart from a choir was at a party at age 12 in a duet of "You Are My Sunshine". Performing publicly lay dormant until the eighties when she joined The Lighthouse Singers of Marin led by Helen Stephens, a choir of mostly white people singing in the black gospel music tradition. Her voice rang out with this vibrant music for five years.
About the same time she started going to The Marin Folk Club which became her musical home for many years. It was a place where she could learn to lead songs, sing harmonies, and play along with her guitar, among others with the same love of folk music. Out of that experience came the formation of The Splinter Group in its first incarnation, a group of five who all loved harmony. Over the 25 years or so that the (now) three of them have been together, their musical "family" has kept the sound alive.
Peter Tracy - Guitars, Dobro, Mandolin, Vocals.
Peter Tracy was glued to the radio from about age 4 or 5 on, which turned out to be a good thing for an introverted child in a family of non-musicians. He tried learning the clarinet and sax, but it wasn't until he picked up an acoustic guitar at age 11 that he found his instrument. Again, the radio was instrumental as he taught himself how to play along with the songs of the day. In high school Peter played rock and roll for weddings, parties, and back yard barbeques making just enough money to keep supplied with equipment.
After high school Peter was drafted and sent off to Vietnam with acoustic guitar in hand. After his return he was left struggling with PTSD and had lost the desire to play music for others, though he did keep playing for himself. It was at the Marin Folk Club in the mid-eighties where he began singing and harmonizing, that the spark came back. There he found others who loved harmony as much as he did. One of the members, Noah Hammond, invited Peter and three other harmony-loving members to form a band called The Splinter Group.
In 2004 Peter joined Veterans for Peace. Shortly thereafter, he took a bus ride along with other vets across the US to Washington, DC. On that trip, he started writing songs for the first time. The vets loved his songs with their antiwar messages and other socio/political themes peppered with biting humor. With their encouragement he kept making them up for the liberal media events along the way. (link to cd baby). Some of his originals are on The Splinter Group recordings.
Peter plays with two other acoustic trios; Hophead ( with Kim Richards and Jim Tepperman), and The Underdogs(with Noah Hammond and Tom Cline). He still performs his original songs at Veterans for Peace events. Peter also collaborated with his dear friend, the late singer-songwriter David Woeller.
Now that Peter is retiring from his mental health job, he looks forward to spending his "golden years" coaxing many more of those soulful sounds from all his favorite guitars.