1. Should I read the entire FAQ?
Yes. You will be a better and more informed person for having done so. On the other hand, if you are pressed for time, or if you are multi-tasking, feel free to browse the FAQ, skim it, or skip some questions entirely. If you have gotten this far, you are no doubt blessed with the gift of natural curiosity. Good for you! If you would also like to read some entertaining quotes about music, you will just have to wait until we update that page.
2. What was the former, formal name of The Eddies? “The Sidney Bidwell Literary Society appearing as The Eddies (On The River).” We used to be a book club and meet monthly. (See book list below.) We always met in bars – often at Chang O’Hara’s, which is now the Happy Gnome. Then we became a singing group and we meet weekly. We found that we created more endorphins by singing than by talking. It has been said that we used to be a reading group with a singing problem and now we are a singing group with a drinking problem. But that is not true, of course. In case you did not catch this earlier, “eddies” are the currents on the river that run counter to the mainstream. Eddy is a relatively useful word in crossword puzzles. and yes, we have carefully researched it and the plural is Eddies.
3. What do The Eddies have in common? The Eddies are all guys, for starters. So we share all of the positive male attributes you can think of, and very few of the negative ones. We have all resided in the same zip code, at one time or another. The 55107 zip code is St. Paul’s West Side – just south of downtown St. Paul – across The Mississippi River. Now only 2 Eddies live east and west and south of the Mississippi – look on the map: it’s true! We all have families, including children. Baker (now retired) finally re-married so we all have wives too. We all have jobs, although Baker (who has now retired from The Eddies) and Cherokee seem to have more free time these days. At various times we have all sported beards and/or mustaches. Some of us still do. We are active in our community and we vote. We talk about our families. We can’t seem to avoid politics. Sometimes we even talk about books. Some evenings seem to be given over to subtle and devious prevarication. Not really – did you swallow that?
4. Are The Eddies “a Band?” The Eddies are not a typical band, if that is what you mean. We do not have 2 electric guitars, a bass guitar and drums. Rather, think of 4 male voices, often acapella, sometimes with backup that could be an acoustic guitar, an occasional accordion, or rhythm instruments. You can dance to our music if you are choreographically gifted. At one gig (on a paddle wheeler) the audience did a conga dance line while we sang a sea shanty. It was a Chamber of Commerce event. It is the only time we were stiffed for our fee. We do not wear uniforms.
5. What do The Eddies sing? We sing songs of Work, Love and Death, including Sea Shanties, River Songs, Ballads and Love Songs, Folk Songs, Popular (at some time and place with someone) Music, Sing-a-longs, and the like. We choose music that is well enough known that we remembered it and/or learned it because we like it and thought we could make it sound good. For a semi-exhaustive (and not quite up to date) list, please see the Songs We Sing section.
5.a Why did it take so long for The Eddies to make a CD? That has often been asked. This is a multi-part answer and frankly, we may not have enough bandwidth on our server to respond in toto. But we have started working on another.
6. What venues do The Eddies prefer? We like a combination of “big gigs” and neighborhood happenings. We have performed at the Two Harbors Folk Festival, the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old Time Music Association Big Summer Festival, Minnesota Folk Festival, the Minnesota Irish Fair, The Dubliner, various events at the Celtic Junction, The Hat Trick Lounge, the Celtic Connection at O’Shaughnessy Auditorium, on MPR’s (now defunct) Word of Mouth, on KTCA’s Almanac, Radio Heartland, KFAI, KBEM, for the St. Paul Bike Classic, Molly Quinn’s (also defunct), the Ginkgo Coffeehouse, Mill City Farmers Market, St. Paul Farmers Market, O’Gara’s Garage, etc. People often sing along. They always have a good time, because we do.
The Eddies also have appeared at Family Events, Community Events, Block Parties, Big Deal Fundraisers, Art Exhibit Openings, Bars, Festivals, etc. The Eddies perform every Memorial Day weekend (Sunday) at a free concert – sometimes by the Public Dock at Harriet Island on the banks of The Mississippi River across from beautiful downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. Some years we are successful in getting a permit. It has also taken place in Cherokee Park on St. Paul’s beautiful West Side.
Our alleged agent claims he is setting up a gig for us to sing for the Pope, but we are not holding our breath for that one. He really isn’t our agent and there have been two new Popes since then, so the “Concert for Frankie” has been postponed. Please see Where We’ve Been for a more detailed list.
6.b Where else do The Eddies want to sing? Click here for a pretty good list.
7. What are The Eddies Stage Names? According to recent rumors, the latest names are Curtis Belvedere, Wyoming Brown, Wabasha Levee, Cherokee Smith, and Baker Meadows (now retired). If you drive around the West Side, you will figure out the names, if you are observant.
8. What do most people say about The Eddies? “Hey! You guys are good!” (said with surprise). They also ask about our CD. See CD section. We finally made one and it is pretty good. See 5.a.
9. Over the course of The Eddies performing history, what act was the easiest to follow? Five poets. Or was it three poets?
9.b What was the hardest act to follow? A fantastically talented group from the Czech Republic.
10. What books did the Sidney Bidwell Literary Society read and discuss?
The Books of Guys by Garrison Keillor
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Chronicles of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Sayings and Doings by Wendell Berry
Waterland by Graham Swift
The Shipping News by Annie Proulx
Time and Again by Jack Finney
The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey
First Person Rural by Noel Perrin
Saint Mudd by Steven Thayer
Mystery Ride by Robert Boswell
The Quiet American by Graham Greene
Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
The Way West by A.B. Guthrie
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
The Big Rock Candy Mountain by Wallace Stegner
In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O’Brien
Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella
A River Sutra by Gita Mehta
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guderson
Longitude by Dava Sobel
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John LeCarre
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
And more …