UBC DAY 14: Joel Frye, Bard Extraordinaire

camslogo2When I met Joel Frye, he had stopped in to check out the CAMS Coffeehouse, the hang-out I ran for musicians, poets, artists, and other ne’er-do wells.

He came in late by our standards, too late to get a set in prime time. So he sat and listened to amateur poets shuffling their newly written poems, and more experienced wordsmiths who knew how to deliver their words. He listened to loudmouth wannabees who talked over the musicians. He listened to the musicians brave enough to take the stage, some who deserved an audience, some who just pretended to.

Finally, when we were almost out of time and audience, it was Joel’s turn at bat.

UBC14_JoelFryeHe brought Guinevere up on stage with him. Guinevere is Joel’s guitar, and she makes a joyful noise under his expert fingers.

Joel played like his very soul was lodged in his fingertips. And his voice? Oh. My. God. (Yes, he’s recorded a CD.)

I can count the fingers of 1.5 hands the number of performers who came to CAMS and did to a room what Joel did. Shana Smith. Myriad (OK, they’re a group. Still.) Bill Haughey. Ken Keller.

We were lucky at CAMS: Joel became a regular. He had a day job, and “played out” on the weekends.

He made friends with me, and BFF Bob, and Paul, and eventually he collaborated with Bob on a CD called “Warehouse.” Poetry by Bob, instrumentals by Joel.

It was a beautiful piece of work, and we turned it into a concept video that made it to the top five finalists in the national CableACE awards. We lost to … Joel Grey. Yes. Of “Cabaret” fame. Man, that was a heartbreaker.

Time passed. Joel revealed himself to be a more than decent poet. He joined BFF Bob, Paul, and me for occasional gigs and poetry open mics.

Life intervened. CAMS closed. We all got busy with work, relationships, other interests.

And then one day on Facebook, Joel posted something about a poetry site where he’d been sharing his written work. It’s called “Hello, Poetry.”

He’s a damn rock star on the poetry circuit!

And here’s why: Hello, Poetry. (Yes, he has a book out!)

I have such talented friends. Cherish them all!

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About Billie Noakes

The writer you want for crisp, clean copy.
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