WILNO – It’s Wednesday night at the Wilno Tavern. There isn’t a free seat in the house, and there are enough people standing to make getting around a bit of a challenge. Everyone is here for one man: Valdy.
When Valdy takes the stage, he does so without any introduction, instead opting to greet the crowd himself.
“I’m a Wilno Tavern virgin,” he declares, to wolf whistles and hollers from the audience. “It’s my first time here!”
You wouldn’t know it, watching the 68-year-old songwriter ply his craft. There’s no stage really, only a clearing for the PA and microphone, a few lights rigged to a rafter casting a glow across his face. People seated at the tables next to Valdy could just reach out and shake his hand – and some do – while he gets ready to play.
Before he starts singing, Valdy brings Jim Jones of Zapp Productions up to the microphone.
“You know how there’s that seven degrees of separation thing?” asks Jones. “Well, with Valdy, it’s more like two degrees. Everyone seems to have a story or a memory about him, or a conversation they had with him. He’s a legend, and we’re so lucky to have him here tonight.”
And then Valdy’s back to another round of applause and cheers, thanking Jones and picking out a few chords on his worn Larrivée guitar. As he plays, he steps close to the microphone and starts to talk about a song he was asked to write some years ago to help raise awareness about child literacy. The song is “Read Between the Lines,” off the 2012 album of the same name.
Get your June 4, 2014 edition of The Valley Gazette to read more of this story.