Counter Culture


Counter Culture Ep.10

Join host Grover Silcox and tonight's Guests: Raymond Coleman, Irish Folksinger; Sue Serio, Weather Anchor at FOX Philadelphia; and Danny Beissel, Singer-Songwriter

AIRED: November 10, 2020 | 0:27:34

Welcome to Counter Culture, a talk show normally in a diner.

And joining me tonight, Irish folk musician Raymond Coleman.

- We're just be a bit more rough around the edges.

That's all.

- And my dear friend, meteorologist and weather

anchor at FOX Philadelphia, Sue Serio.

- During the days when I was driving

to work, I was waking up at 1:30 to get to work on time.


And now I get to sleep till two!

And singer songwriter and rocker Danny Beissel.

- South Street was big for me,

was where I basically started, you know, playing music.

And so I kind of just wanted to do a big shout out video.

♪ I got some thigs to say

♪ I want, I need, I know

- All right here on Counter Culture.

Welcome to Counter Culture.

We're coming to you from Lehigh Valley Public Media's Studio B

while we're waiting to return to our original site,

Daddy Pops Diner and Hatboro.

- ♪ Well, Angel Wings and the Devil sings. ♪

♪ The darkness dies when the day is born. ♪

- My first guest hails originally from County Tyrone

in Northern Ireland.

In 2009, he brought his beautiful Irish brogue, rich,

robust singing voice, music and personality to the States.

Here, he has touched audiences with his Irish folk

singing and storytelling. He has performed at festivals

and pubs and every venue in between

from here to the hills of South Armagh.

Please welcome Raymond Coleman. Raymond, how are you?

- Grover, I'm very well. How are you doing yourself?

- It's an exciting experience to see the man or at least

to be talking with him, whose voice I've enjoyed listening

to and your wonderful interpretation of some of the

great folk songs, Irish folk songs,

The Hills of South Armagh.

It's just beautiful.

It's a beautiful song to begin with.

But your interpretation is great.

- A beautiful song. - It is.

- I actually came along that song actually

when I lived in New York for the whole year

that I lived there.

My brother sent the song to me from this woman

from Armagh that sings it.

So I put on the album. as soon as I heard it,

I knew it had to go on there and she says, no problem,

but if you hit it big, I'm coming after you.

- Well, when you sing, you paint pictures so that

folks here in the States, many of Irish

descent like myself, almost feel like you're bringing

Ireland to them.

- You can take the kid out of Ireland but never Ireland

out of the kid. You know, I love the ballads,

I love singing the Irish ballads.

They're my favorite.

And telling the old stories, even though they're sad songs

like my friends always say there's the funeral singer

coming because I'm so depressing with all the songs

that I sing. I'm okay with that because it's the

depressing songs that are always the good ones, you know.

- Right. They're all laments in a way.

- I grew up listening to,

like, Finbar Furey, The Dubliners, all that stuff.

It's all great stuff, you know, and I still listen to it,

Christie Hennessy, they're all greats. All great.

- So what brought you to the States?

I know your brother is also a folk singer, right?

- He lives up in New York?

- I have a brother in New York.

But, yeah, he cut back a little bit on the music.

He owns a construction company up there.

So he works a lot and he does

an odd session here and there in New York.

I came out here 2009

for a vacation, and it was the

time of the recession and there was no

there was no work back at home. So I says, you know what?

I'm going to go to America for three months and we'll just see

how it goes, you know.

And then my wife now, I met her two weeks into my stay.

We hung out for the three months and then I decided

that I'm not going home.

Then that was pretty much it.

We've been together ever since.

Got married, kids.

That was that I broke my mother's heart,

told her I wasn't coming home.

I go home to visit once a year if I'm not going to get down

there twice a year.

But they'll come out for the kids' parties

and the Communions and stuff.

Whatever's going on in special events as well, we're

always home within six months of each other,

which is always good.

- Back in your homeland, the pub

is really the center of activity,

it's really a place to talk

and to socialize.

- I used to drink coke and eat bacon, fries and chips,

all day, you know, so you live on soda and coke all day

and chips all day.

Or crisps, we would call them, you know, you would sit

in the corner and you listen to these boys playing fiddles,

accordions, guitars and singing and just sitting in a corner,

just everybody singing along, for hours and hours.

You know, you get home and your eyes would be killing

you because you're full of smoke. There was

smoking and your eyes were popping out of your head

at that time, you got home reeking of smoke, which was a

normal thing back in the day, you know.

- What are some of your favorite songs to sing?

- I listen to Luke Kelly and some of the stuff he does.

I come across a song Phil Coulter wrote.

Luke Kelly made it huge.

It's about his disabled son.

And it hit a wee

a wee spot with me, because my youngest child

is autistic. So when I heard the song

I related right away, it's such a great song.

That's my favorite song.

I'm working on the new album, hoping

to get it out by St. Patrick's Day

by next year.

We're recording it in Philly

with great musicians.

So if I get it out, I'll put that one on there.

But some of my tunes will be...

Luke Kelly, Phil Coulter.

Another one is by Christie Hennessy.

- ♪ I would say I love you so. ♪

♪ I'd love to play one more.

♪ For all you young lovers.

- Christie Hennessy wrote this song about trying to make it as

a musician

and being turned down and nobody being interested.

It's a great song. Christie couldn't read or write

but he wrote these songs, you know what I mean?

He wouldn't know how to write them down.

But he wrote all this good music and a lot of famous

people in Ireland, his songs were the top songs that made

careers explode, you know.

But that one was not a popular one

over here either.

So I started singing it and it'll probably

be on the new album as well.

But there's another one, Dan O'Hara, Finbar Furey

did a great cover.

There's just so many to go through, to be honest.

You could be here all day!

- Right. I loved your North And South Of The River.

- ♪ I want to see.

♪ I want to hear.

♪ To understand your fears.

♪ For north and south.

♪ Of the river.

Christy Moore and Bono wrote that.

They wrote it for...

There was a bomb in Tyrone back in the day.

It was the Omagh bombing. And they wrote that song

for "it's time for peace and harmony

and stop the violence, you know," and shortly after

It all did end. So that's a good thing.

But it is good.

- Yeah, that song kind of was in response to one of the last

the last bombings which led to the peace.

- Good Friday agreement and all

that, and it's been great ever since.

A lot of people are hesitant to go up to the north.

You know, when I talk to them, they're like, the north, I've

never been. And you need to get up.

I go, it's just as good as the south.

We're just be a bit more rough

around the edges. That's all.

- I was able to download some of your singles.

- They're on iTunes and Spotify and Amazon music.

You can get on there, listen to the streams and you can buy

the album on CD or download it on iTunes as well.

- I want to thank you for joining us and keep bringing

a little bit of the old country to America.

- We love it. - I love it..

And I love sharing the music and love the American people.

They're all good people.

They treated me well through the years.

Hopefully still will for however many years.

I'm going to stay here the rest of my life anyway, so it's all

good and thanks for having me on the show and appreciate it.

I hope to maybe see you at one of my gigs, some good night,

maybe a pint of Guinness when all these bars open up properly

and it'll be a good time.

- There you go. That's a date. We'll see you there.

Raymond Coleman, a folk singer whose ballads and music tell

of life's journey and transports the green hills of

Ireland to wherever he performs.

- 35 is our current actual temperature in Philadelphia.

It's 30.

- I can't tell you how much I like my next guest.

Actually, I can and will.

She is one of the most beloved personalities on Good Day, Fox

Philadelphia's popular morning show.

She's a staple in Philly television and radio.

I worked with her during my stint on Good Day

a few moons ago.

Her smile and her laugh are contagious in a good way.

Please welcome the woman who warns folks about good and bad

weather, all with her sunny personality.

Please welcome my dear friend Sue Serio.

How are you?

- Great!

- Coming to you from your current weather set, right?

- That's right, yeah.

They sent us home to work from home at the end of March,

and so I decided to call...

I've set up in front of my fireplace, although when it was

warm in the summer, I went outside on my porch.

But I called this the studio.

- You have been there so long. How long now?

- 1997.

- So that'll be about 23 ish. - Right.

- Maybe my 24th year.

I never in a million years dreamed.

- Yeah, that's a long time.

- But people might think it's all fun and games, but what

would you like people to know about doing the weather?

Because you could take a lot of heat, no pun intended,

if the predictions aren't exactly on target.

- That is true. That is true.

I will say, first of all, it seems to be a real point of

fascination for some people

how early we wake up in the morning to do this program,

because Good Day Philadelphia,

for those who don't know, starts at 4:00 a.m..

So during the days when I was driving to work, I was waking

up at 1:30 to get to work on time.

- Wow. - And now I get to sleep

till 2:00 because I commute is down the stairs!

- Oh, my gosh. Yeah, it has its pluses and minuses working at

home, but that is one of the pluses.

- Definitely. - Yeah. Yeah.

But the hours are still early.

But I think that the hardest time I think for weather is

when there is snow in in the forecast.

People go crazy

with snow in the forecast.

And I always say that I have to call in early to let everybody

else know that they can stay

home when we have a big snowstorm.

Yeah, my favorite comment and, you know, social media really

brings them out is, well, I wish I had a job like yours

where I could be wrong most of the time.

Yeah, so, you know, that's just not nice and we're not wrong

most of the time, by the way.

- Right, right.

Is it partly sunny or partly cloudy? What is it?

- Oh, yeah, that's something that doesn't come

naturally to your brain. Partly sunny actually means

that there are more clouds than there is sunshine

because it's partly sunny.

But when you hear the word sunny, you think that it's a

lot of sunshine, but partly

sunny means a lot of cloud cover.

And then partly cloudy actually means more sun than cloud cover

because it's just partly cloudy.

- Yeah. - And not entirely.

Yeah. So, so, yeah, that's something that I was surprised

to learn when I studied meteorology myself.

And the only thing I got right on quiz!

- Well, I didn't know. Thank you for informing us.

So how did it all start? Was it started on radio.

You're originally from Maryland.

- Yes, I grew up in Baltimore and when I was in college, I

went to Towson University just outside of Baltimore.

I started working at the school radio station.

And very soon after that, I got a part time job at a television

station in Baltimore. And they also had a radio

station in the basement and I worked

weekends there all through college.

I will tell you that when I started in television, it was

in Wilmington, Delaware at WHYY.


We had a Wilmington, Delaware newscast back then every night

at five 30.

So I got that job and then I learned meteorology.

I studied furiously kind of on the job and I bring

it up because that's also where I met my husband, Bill,

because he was a sportscaster there.

- Oh, how about that?

You landed a gig at WMGK in Philly, right?

- I did. And I was working that gig while I was working part

time at WHYY. For about five years

I worked two jobs, one in radio and one in television, but I

thought it would pay off one day, and still waiting.

I got fired from the job and I thought, well, maybe it's time

to start looking into this TV thing full time.

So I went from WHYY to Buffalo, New York.

I had also done a little bit of part time work at Channel

29 in Philadelphia. You remember them.

The news director remembered me

and hired me when?

About a year after they started this wonderful program called

Good Day Philadelphia. I was freelance for about a minute

and then the weather guy left and suddenly there was a full

time opening at Good Day, Philadelphia.

And I remember before I was on the show full time thinking

to myself, I would love to work on that show.

It looks like so much fun.

I've had a great relationship with the viewers.

Technology has changed so much in surviving all of that.

And now this whole new world

where we're able to work from home

honestly, if you had told me a year ago that I would be able

to do this job right now with a laptop and a phone, I never

would imagine. It's just crazy.

So honestly, I'm just so grateful because I've loved

this job all along. I like the personality.

And that's maybe the one thing I miss the most about not

being in the studio at this time is that camaraderie

with everybody else.

We're making the best of a bad situation.

We actually had a lot of fun when quarantine first started.

We did a Friday night happy hour where we all did sort

of a dance party.

Bob Kelly was the deejay from his house.

I made sangria at my house and everybody did something.

And we had an on the air party on a Friday evening.

We did that for a couple of weeks.

I think it's just really a make the best of it situation

because you can't control a lot of what's going on here.

So you have to find your fun where you can.

- Well, I want to thank you for joining

me on Counter Culture.

And I felt like the old days there for just a moment,

which I love.

And you make me laugh.

I feel inspired to joke when I'm with you and have a good

time because you're all about having fun and getting

the weather out on time.

- That's right.

- Miss you, miss you, miss you.

Sue Serio, Good Day Philadelphia's remedy for a

cloudy day. You know her. You love her.

You can't enjoy the weather without her.

- ♪ When the night falls down on me ♪

♪ And the shadows set me free

♪ I wander through the streets. ♪

- Coming to the counter, a rock vocalist

musician who as a kid saw the king of rock and roll,

Elvis Presley, loved his music and his stage presence and

said, that's what I want to do.

He picked up a guitar and never put it down. Since then, he's

written, played and sung everything from old time

rock and roll and classic rock to current pop music style.

He's worked with some of rock's best musicians, including

collaborating with singer songwriter Carly Simon.

He now leads his band, Featherborn.

Please welcome Danny Beissel.

Danny, hi.

You're out in the land of sunshine, California.

- I've got some palm trees there.

- It looks a little different

from Philadelphia, your home base.

- Yeah, I flew in yesterday, so I figured I'd do this

outside so you can see some green of California.

- Yeah. You and your band Featherborn have a concert.

It's for a charity.

- Yeah, we're playing up in San Fran for a cancer charity,

Notes For Hope.

You want to check it out. Beautiful charity.

I did a show there.

- 2018. - Mm hmm.

- So, yeah, I'm excited down here in Newport Beach.

Spend a couple of days, you

know, get a little sun while I'm out here.

- Tell me a little bit about Featherborn.

I know that used to be your nickname.

- Yeah, well, they when I was in Nashville, we were doing

an album. We went down to Blackbird studio, we were

doing an album in Nashville and obviously I got a feathers

tattoo and I had this feather shirt

and they nicknamed me Featherborn, Scott

Underwood, who's the producer.

And yeah, so I was looking at the name when he texted

and I was like, wow, that's a pretty cool name for a band.

And it kind of fits the music that we did down there.

So I'm pretty stoked. Yeah.

- And then out of that, you produced your album, which is

Featherborn, which is also called Featherborn.

- So I got it right here for you.

- Boom. - There it is.

You can get that in

Collegeville if anybody's interested.

But yeah. So we went down.

The executive producer sent us down there

and it was the best month and a half of my life.

Had the guys, Charlie, and Scott Underwood from Train

were on it and a Skunk Baxter played some pedal steel.

Brian Quinn from Candlebox played on it.

So it was a really beautiful experience and very grateful

for the whole album, the songs that I had that I really

wanted to release.

So I'm really happy about it.

- And one of the singles from the album, right?

- Yeah. - You made a video.

- Yes. - And I noticed in the video,

online, of course, a lot of familiar sites in

Philadelphia, along South Street.

Yeah. That's where I started playing when I started out

94 I think it was, I was doing basically just doing like the

young Elvis.

I had this vision of doing the young rockabilly Elvis.

- I had the short hair. - I remember that.

- Red or blue jacket.

South Street was big for me, was where I basically started,

playing music, so I kind of wanted to especially Blush,

a song that I had for a while,

it reminds when I hear the song, it has so much,

reminds me of downtown Philly and I so I kind

of just wanted to do a big shout out video to Philly.

♪ Let me be the one that makes you blush. ♪

- Is Elvis, in fact, your initial inspiration?

- Yeah, I mean, performing wise, it was definitely Elvis.

I mean, obviously I love you know, I listen to

everything from Led Zeppelin to Ray Charles to B.B. King, to

Jeff Buckley.

You know, I absorb all that, you know, Chris Cornell.

But Elvis definitely was the first thing that made me do

music and want to be a performer.

I never really thought I was going to be a singer

or songwriter, but, like,

that kind of all came out of performing, doing Elvis.

- Even though you may have taken on some of his

affectations or whatever,

but it really wasn't an impersonation.

It was a love of his music.

- I was studying acting at that time.

So for me, it was more of like taking on a character,

which sounds weird, but it was kind of like the one thing

I didn't want to do was imitate him.

I kind of wanted to capture the essence, like, you know,

that wildness, that young Elvis shakin'

around on stage and everything.

So that's how I approached it.

And through singing Elvis, I kind of found my own voice

and became a songwriter, which is kind of cool.

I didn't see that coming.

But, hey, I'm just riding that wave, I guess.

- Right. When did you start that? You play guitar.

You play keyboard or just guitar?

- Yeah, I play piano, guitar, mostly guitar, acoustic guitar

in the bands and stuff like that.

But I my old band, Foster Child, I did a couple of songs

on the piano during our show, so that was fun.

- Mm hmm. So you went from the Elvis experience to what?

- I met Brian Quinn, he was playing with a band called

Octane, and we just started talking and we started jamming

together and he did some shows with this band called Fuel.

So him and the drummer from Fuel

were talking about starting another project.

It eventually would be called Foster Child.

So Brian reached out to me and our friend Eric to join

the band with them. And we were off and running.

We started the band 2005. 2008's

when we start touring, we did the record 2007.

And from Foster Child came American Vinyl.

That's when I got American Vinyl with all those guys,

Skunk, Barry, Nelson, Leroy.

- Yeah. Tell me about that, vinyl, because that was a huge

part of your journey so far.

- So the manager, he put the band together.

He was friends with all those guys. He used to work, used

to be on the board of House of Blues.

We do songs from Boston.

We do songs from Steely Dan

and Doobie Brothers, James Brown,

the Wailers, Third World. So it's really fun.

Yeah, I love it because I had older brothers and I grew up

listening to all that music.

- Now, how did you come to work with Carly Simon?

- Well, Martha's Vineyard,

they have a house up there.

And I met Sally Taylor and Charlie Colin.

Charlie used to be in the band Train.

So we met Sally, and Charlie and I were talking about

redoing Calling All Angels for a charity.

Bill got Skunk and we redid Calling All Angels.

Charlie actually redid one of his songs, which was kind of

cool. And Carly came out.

We did it at her studio and she sang with me,

Carly, Sally, Skunk and Charlie.

Rick Morata was on drums and Leroy played keyboard on it.

So we did Calling All Angels.

And that was an amazing experience.

I remember she walked in the room.

I was like, oh, my God.

She like, floated in the room like an angel.

And when we did it, we were all sitting on the couch, you know,

embraced, holding each other's arms, like singing the chorus.

It was the most beautiful experience I had.

The recording was amazing.

I mean, I've been lucky to meet a lot of people, a

lot of really cool things.

And they've all been great. So I'm very lucky on that.

But she's a spectacular woman.

- Wow. And again, can people listen to that?

- You can get Calling All Angels on iTunes.

It's under the American Vinyl All Star Band.

- Danny, I want to thank you for joining us on

Counter Culture. Keep rockin.

- Thank you so much.

- You got it. We'll look for it.

Danny Beissel, a rocker from Philly, first inspired

by the man from Tupelo.

Well, that's all for this episode.

I want to thank my guests,

Irish folk singer Raymond Coleman,

sunniest weather anchor on TV,

Good Day Philadelphia's Sue Serio

and rock singer and songwriter, the leader of

Featherborn, Danny Beissel.

And a big thanks to you, too. Thanks for watching.

And please stop by next Tuesday for more fascinating guests

and conversation right here at the counter.


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