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Barebones & Wildflowers
A Powerful Blending of Musical Traditions

Story by Kevin Robinson
Photos by Ellie Apuzzo

On Friday night, October 20th 2000, it was chilly outside the old Marlboro establishment, but inside The Brickhouse, the food, the music and the musicians were cookiní. (The "stage" is right in front of a huge radiator!) We first saw Steve Palmer and Rachel Handman perform as Barebones & Wildflowers several years ago during the intermission of a Hudson Valley Philharmonic concert at SUNY New Paltz. We realized at that time, that Rachel was the very same HVP violinist weíd talked about a year before, on the way home from a concert at Mount Saint Mary. In the midst of a string section filled with stiff-backed, emotionless musicians, one young lady stood out. She seemed to flow like water lilies in a quiet stream while she played, and the look on her face was so full of joy, we couldnít help smiling ourselves. "Not hard figuring out which violinist really loved what she was doing," I remember saying after the concert.
Barebones & Wildflowers: Mel, Rachel, Steve

Rachelís "moonlighting" gig with Steve Palmer (vocals, guitar, harmonica & mandolin) is a beautiful blend of traditional and popular music that spans Celtic, pop, country, folk, and classical themes. With the recent addition of guitarist (and recording studio wizard), Mel Paskell, the duo grew into a "band," often performing nowadays with a bass player as well. The groupís highly polished cover list includes well-loved tunes like John Hartfordís "Gentle on My Mind," Bob Dylanís "Iíll be Your Baby Tonight," Jay Ungarís world famous "Ashokan Farewell," as well as several delightful Steve Palmer originals like, "Jack of Diamonds" and "Joey."

Barebones & Wildflowers has two CDís out; the first, a wonderful self-titled collection recorded live at the Beech Tree Grill in Poughkeepsie, and the second (with Mel on board), called "Higher than the Moon," recorded at Lost River, Mel Paskellís popular Wingdale, NY studio. Because this band is so musically diverse and inclusive, their live shows and their CDís draw raves from a wide cross-section of audience demographic. We urged two "older" couples who were finished dining at a nearby table to stay for a tune or two, promising that they would not be disappointed. Several hours later, they grabbed their coats a second time, and came over and thanked us on their way out.

To buy CDís, get on the mailing list, find out about booking, or just to learn more about this fine Hudson Valley band, call: 845-454-0953 or e-mail:

Kevin Robinson is a freelance writer/photographer, and the author of three "Stick Foster" hardback mystery novels. A former syndicated columnist for the Detroit Free Press, his byline has appeared over 100 times in national and regional periodicals. Kevin is a partner at No Bull Productions, and his PR credits include promotion and booking work for several of Kansas City's top blues bands. Kevin can be reached at Ellie Apuzzo owns and operates Ellie's Consider It Done. She provides "on-site oversight for absentee owners" here in the Florida Keys; and so far, this lifelong New Yorker just can't seem to get into "Keys time!" Ellie can be reached at

Posted on January 5, 2001

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