Sustainable City


Amid all the booking in previous months, Jean Mazzei and I came up with a handful of East Coast dates and the Great Idea Tour would go to Phoenixville, PA before Brooklyn. The town, we found out, was indeed named for the mythical bird, having risen from many steel-factory related fires. Hence the name of the venue as well, Steel City Coffeehouse. Phoenixville was exceedingly friendly and welcoming as has been Pennsylvania in general. Having never been there before, I decided to stay on in Philadelphia for a few days before heading to NYC & I’ve been totally taken in by a progressive, hip, accessible and environmentally savvy city. Most restaurants and cafes cater to vegans (the joke being that some places label things ‘non-vegan’ rather than the other way around), the subway/trolley system is easy to learn and the mayor, Michale Nutter is evidently dedicated to making Philly the most sustainable city in America and it shows. Composting, car-sharing, wide bike lines and bike-share program are in full evidence. I’m visiting during Earth Week so there seems to be Green celebrations on every corner… as well as flags, former home as it is to Ben Franklin, Betsy Ross & the rest of revolutionaries. Thus far, I’ve balanced out my viewing of of the Liberty Bell & Independence Hall with one of Philadelphia’s Magic Garden, a crazy quilt block of mosaics by Isaiah Zagar. Likewise, the musical landscape is just as diverse: indie bands at Mill Creek Tavern, a smoking Latin Jazz jam at Cafe Clave & an impromptu house mini-concert at my host’s place scratching some of its surface….

Deborah Crooks
Deborah Crooks ( is a writer, performing songwriter and recording artist based in San Francisco whose lyric driven and soul-wise music has drawn comparison to Lucinda Williams, Chrissie Hynde and Natalie Merchant.

Singing about faith, love and loss, her lyrics are honed by a lifetime of writing and world travel while her music draws on folk, rock, Americana and the blues. She released her first EP "5 Acres" in 2003 produced by Roberta Donnay, which caught the attention of Rocker Girl Magazine, selecting it for the RockerGirl Discoveries Cd. In 2007, she teamed up with local producer Ben Bernstein to complete "Turn It All Red" Ep, followed by 2008's "Adding Water to the Ashes" CD, and a second full-length CD "2010. She's currently working on a third CD to be released in 2013.

Deborah's many performance credits include an appearance at the 2006 Millennium Music Conference, the RockerGirl Magazine Music Convention, IndieGrrl, at several of the Annual Invasion of the GoGirls at SXSW in Austin, TX, the Harmony Festival and 2009's California Music Fest, MacWorld 2010, Far West Fest and many other venues and events. She toured the Northwest as part "Indie Abundance Music, Money & Mindfulness" (2009) with two other Bay Area artists, and followed up with "The Great Idea Tour of the Southwest in March 2010 with Jean Mazzei.
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