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The Salty Walt Story

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"I've never seen anything like it!"

Salty Walt on the Radio!

In June 2009, "Salty Walt" Askew appeared on Chloe Veltman's radio show on KALW 91.7 FM, "VoiceBox" to talk about sea chanties and their vocal styling. He also sang live in the studio. You can listen to the whole show here: http://www.chloeveltman.com/work/2009/06/voicebox-2-kalw-917-fm.html.


The band performing at Edinburgh Castle pubBest Sea Chantey Band SF Weekly 2006

SF Weekly named us the "Best Sea Chantey Band" in 2006, here's the listing.

What a great surprise! I didn't even know there was such a category until a neighbor told me to look in the paper! Of course I wondered about it, since there are a number of great acts associated with the Bay area, but they all told me that I deservered it. Special thanks to Skip and the boys!

Here's a picture of us performing at the Edinburgh Castle pub in 2007.


Salty Walt on German TV!

A promotional piece shot in Vegesack, near Bremen for the "Festival Maritim" 2006. We had a great time and were treated with kindness and celebrity. Most of the goofy shots were the director's idea. I think he really wanted to shoot a video for "The Monkees." Really— jumping out from behind things and "steering" the docked boat. We tried to show them how to work the capstan, but the bars were bolted down. We sang "Larry Marr" so many times that I thought I'd lose my voice. Griff was feeling it too. Watch for his camp "money shot." I hope you enjoy.


Burns night 2004

Robert BurnsFor those of you who don't know, there is a tradition in the Scottish Diaspora to celebrate the birthday of Scottish Poet (and working class hero) Robert Burns. We couldn't help but jump at the chance when asked to play at the festivities at our own Edinburgh Castle!

The San Francisco Chronicle had this to say about us: "A four-man sea-chantey group takes the spotlight, headed by Walter Askew (stage name Salty Walt), whose waist-length hair and kilt would have made Wallace proud. They sing a series of rousing Celtic tunes, some accompanied by mandolin. Whaling, Greenland, Scotland and "bonnie laddies" are favorite topics." Read the whole article, "Hold Your Haggis High for the Great Poet" by Jane Ganahl. (San Francisco Chronicle, January 28, 2004.)


Walt, Jon and Bryan sing at Mystic25th Annual Mystic Sea Music Festival

There is so much more that I would like to say than I have room for. We had a great time and were given an even better reception. This was a powerful experience for all of us. This week long cross country odyssey to Mystic, Connecticut deserves its own page about how far you have to travel to find your home. This is what long time volunteer & performer Charlie Ipcar had to say about about our performance: Then there was a wonderful group of "pirate" folks from San Francisco, who call themselves "Salty Walt and the Rattlin' Ratlines," who delivered a spirited version of "Henry Martin." I'm sure we'll hear from this crew some more in the years to come.

We found this picture posted on Mudcat. It was taken at the Friday night open sing following the concert that year, at the German American hall - a fabulous old wooden building that echoes voices and foot stomping. Here we are singing a resounding "Hieland Laddie". Is there any greater thrill for performers of traditional music than to join a longstanding tradition?


Performing at SF Free Folk FestivalThe 28th annual SF Free Folk Festival

The 28th annual SF Free Folk Festival was a full weekend for us of performing, jamming, watching and learning. A great experience with great people - We even got to make new friends. (Including one from England!) I don't know why, but it continues to surprise me how warm and open everyone at folk music gatherings can be. What a wonderful opportunity to join a tradition of so many great performers who have appeared here in its long history. Check it out: http://www.sffolkfest.org.

Here we are performing on the event's main stage, not to be confused with the large auditorium where the "heavy hitters" performed in the evening. Sooner or later all folk musicians must find themselves at a Hootenanny. We were happy to donate our time and efforts to this special fundraiser for the SF AIDS Foundation.


At SF HootenannyHootenanny Night & Other Adventures

The SF Folk Music Club sponsors a “Hootenanny Night” every month at Cafe International at 508 Haight (at Fillmore) –a fun place, and a free night of music. We recommend it! http://www.sfhootenanny.homestead.com.

I seem to remember performing with O' Chumbucket and Cap'n Slappy of "Talk Like a Pirate" fame at the mysterious and wonderful Pirate Supply Store at 826 Valencia. It was a grand time, and here's a review I found somewhere in print: "Salty Walt and the Rattlin’ Ratlines took the stage with something like gusto. They roused us to attention with their stirring rendition of 'You Can’t Be a Pirate If You Have All Yer Parts,' to which the youngest buccaneer among us (at a ripe two and a half) replied, 'Hooray.' We gave them some time to blow the man down, and blow him down they did."


We want to hear from you!

To tell the truth. . . We actually haven't been at this that long, and reviewers aren't knocking over women and children to see folk shows. We'll keep you posted as the reviews come in. Heck, we'll probably spam everyone on our mailing list with links!

We'd really like to hear what you think! We want to solicit your unsolicited opinions. Or at least photos of us gettin' salty! So send them along!

Jon with accordion