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Nice article about Ed Holstein

GUEST,Mary Katherine sans cookie 22 Sep 13 - 01:25 PM
Thomas Stern 22 Sep 13 - 01:43 PM
Elmore 22 Sep 13 - 01:47 PM
wysiwyg 22 Sep 13 - 03:39 PM
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Subject: Nice article about Ed Holstein
From: GUEST,Mary Katherine sans cookie
Date: 22 Sep 13 - 01:25 PM,0,7005448.column

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Subject: RE: Nice article about Ed Holstein
From: Thomas Stern
Date: 22 Sep 13 - 01:43 PM

Hi MK,
The link requires a subscription....
Best wishes, Thomas.

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Subject: RE: Nice article about Ed Holstein
From: Elmore
Date: 22 Sep 13 - 01:47 PM

Googled Ed Holstein and found, and enjoyed the article. Thanks, MK.

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Subject: RE: Nice article about Ed Holstein
From: wysiwyg
Date: 22 Sep 13 - 03:39 PM

The usual Mudcat convention is that we post articles like this, here (credited), because we think Mudcat will outlast other sites' material. I was gonna list him in the "best who have played your hiometown" thread but could not get hold of his name, since I saw hiom as a HS frosh and that was too many years ago, so hre's a paste for Ed:

(photo caption at lead):

Ed Holstein, who has bounced back from a terrible illness and is back teaching and performing, hangs out near the Old Town School of Folk Music. (Charles Osgood/Chicago Tribune / December 14, 2010)
Rick Kogan Sidewalks

9:20 a.m. CDT, September 20, 2013

(main article, minus ads)

Ed Holstein is back in the family business, which is folk music, and that comes as welcome news to his friends and fans, who have been worried about him for a year.

Their concern finally abated a few months ago when Holstein sent an e-mail to a few pals: "I had some surgery last August (2012). It turned out to be way more complicated than anybody expected, and I've been in and out of hospitals (mostly in) for the past six months. However, I am now sprung, down over 100 lbs. from the Extra Large Eddie you saw in my YouTube performance from June (2012), feeling great, and fighting tigers again. My very sincere thanks to all my friends who wrote and supported me during my illness."

He quietly returned to stage in May, performing at the Old Town School of Folk Music with fellow OTSFM teachers Chris Waltz and Nathaniel Braddock.

Now he is set to headline Saturday at 8 p.m. at FitzGerald's, 6615 Roosevelt Rd. in Berwyn (708-788-2118 or Opening for him will be Peggy Browning, Maura Lally and Mark Mitchell, members of the acoustic group Pickin' Bubs, who Holstein refers to, in that classic folk music we-are-all-family way, as "very good friends and playing buddies."

He does not like to talk much about the details of his illness — which included a 10-hour operation and three straight months in a hospital — but will happily tell you: "I never thought I was going to die. When I die, I want it to come in some more romantic way, like choking on a Reuben sandwich."

Food has ever been a big part of Holstein's life. It was the first thing on his mind when he was released from the hospital on April 15: "How did I feel? After eating nothing but hospital meals for all that time, I felt interested in food again. I had a can of chicken noodle soup and it was heaven."

Holstein, who along with older brother Fred helped fuel and define the folk music scene here, grew up on the South Side, where his family ran a drugstore at 79th Street and Michigan Avenue. The boys started spending teenage time at a Hyde Park musical instrument store called the Fret Shop. Then Ed heard a Bob Gibson record and Fred went to a Pete Seeger concert. That was that.

By the mid-1960s Fred was living on Wells Street, singing for nothing at bygone Mother Blues and getting his first paycheck at the Old Town Pub. Then Earl Pionke offered him $25 a night to sing at his place, the Earl of Old Town, and he sang there for nearly three straight years. Ed, four years younger than Fred, followed him to Old Town and to the stage.

Into the 1970s Fred continued to play the local scene. But Ed, once touted as the next local performer likely to follow in the national footsteps of Steve Goodman, John Prine and Bonnie Koloc, gradually became more interested in the business side of the club biz. He booked acts at the Earl, then Somebody Else's Troubles (where Fred was one of the partners) and later for Stages.

The brothers opened their own place with younger brother Alan, a businessman, in 1981. It was called Holsteins, was on Lincoln Avenue and, until closing in 1988 was arguably the best folk music club in the country.

By then the commercial folk music scene here was on life support, and the brothers did what they had to get by. Fred played where he could and tended bar at Sterch's on Lincoln Avenue. Ed began teaching guitar in earnest at the OTSFM and tended bar at O'Rourke's on North Avenue.

"I like to teach and I love to perform," says Ed. "I have always been a showoff."

Fred, who died in 2004, was always a balladeer. Ed's music is bluesier, with huge doses of humor.

He lives in a "basement … make that garden … apartment" in the Lincoln Square neighborhood, and says he spends the time he's not teaching "sitting outside, wearing this sailor, smoking a cigar, playing the banjo and flirting with young women … Just a harmless old guy."

He says that his long hospital stay did not make him reflective, but he seems to have had a lovely and important revelation over the last year.

"I am living in the world I hoped to be in, dreamed I would be in when I was 11 or 12, when it was all about community," he says, recalling the earliest days of the Old Town School of Folk Music, which was born in 1957, when musicians Win Stracke and Frank Hamilton and their friend Gertrude Soltker opened its doors at 333 W. North Ave. with a concert featuring a bagpipe performance and a singalong.

"For a time it was all about career. You'd go to some party and there would be all these hot-shot guitar players and they wouldn't even talk to you," Holstein says. "A lot of folks only thought about becoming stars."

Holstein did write a modest hit, "Jazzman," which was performed by Koloc, Goodman and others. But a careerist he has never been.

"We have Thursday night singalongs now at (the OTSFM), and it doesn't matter how good you play or sing," says Holstein. "That's what Win (Stracke) and the others wanted when they started the school. It was all about community then, being all-inclusive, and it is again."

His classes at the OTSFM are "filled with all sorts of people, all colors, all kinds." And "sometimes when I am playing in front of my home, families will stop and listen."

There is happiness in his voice when he talks. He feels great, though he says he would like to drop another 40 pounds. Legendary for walking across the city, he's now riding a bike. He can't wait for Saturday: "It's gonna be a great evening!"

Last year, before his health problems began in earnest, he performed at an 80th birthday party for his old pal Pionke. He played "Don't Think Twice" and told the story of his first night playing at the Earl of Old Town in 1968.

You can see it below. 13 minutes, 22 seconds long. Tuneful and funny and charming, like the man himself, it's worth every second.

"After Hours with Rick Kogan" airs 9-11 p.m. Sundays on WGN-AM 720

I also had a surgery with complications this year that most folk assume was a gastric bypass. It wasn't (weight = THYROID!!!), and I wonder if similar wrong assumptions about Ed are afoot here, but it is a nice article.


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