For more than 45 years, Gene Shay has been the Philadelphia folk scene's most visible representative, producing folk radio shows every Sunday since 1962 (currently on 88.5, WXPN). A founder of the Philadelphia Folk Festival and the event's emcee since its inception, he has been called the "Godfather of Philadelphia Folk Music" by the Philadelphia Inquirer and "the dean of American folk DJs" by The Philadelphia Daily News.
|Gene's theme song by Pete & Maura Kennedy. Illustrations by Mark Wilson (1962-1985) & Todd Palmer (1985 - 2002).|
His early interviews with Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, John Denver, Tom Waits, Phil Ochs, Bonnie Raitt and Judy Collins are almost legendary-some of these have even been bootlegged.
Gene brought Bob Dylan to Philadelphia for his debut concert in the area and, as an advertising writer-producer, Gene wrote the original radio spots for Woodstock. He helped design the famous "smiling banjo" logo for the Philadelphia Folk Festival and years later came up with the name "World Cafe" for the nationally syndicated series produced by WXPN.
For a few years, he edited and published "Singer-Songwriter," a newsletter that had subscribers in the US, Canada and as far away as Japan.
He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Delaware Valley Music Poll in 1994.
The Moses Rascoe Blues album he produced for Flying Fish was nominated for a Grammy. For his own label, Sliced Bread, he produced The Philadelphia Folk Festival 40th Anniversary anthology - a 4-CD boxed set - and "What's That I Hear" a critcally acclaimed tribute album of Phil Ochs songs.
Gene served as a Charter Board Member of the North American Folk & Dance Alliance;
serves on the Board of The Philadelphia Folksong Society, The First Person Arts Foundation, The American Composers Forum and is a voting member on the Board of Governors of NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) in Philadelphia.
In 2005 he received Temple University's coveted Lew Klein Award for Excellence in Communications and was entered into the University's Radio & TV Hall Of Fame.
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