Connie Converse lived in New York City during the 1950s, writing and singing thoughtful, emotional, smart, witty, personal songs. She accompanied herself on guitar, a “singer/songwriter” before that term or style existed. Connie sang her songs at gatherings of friends, and once on television. The music industry of her day couldn’t pigeonhole her, and didn’t welcome her. Discouraged, Connie left New York in 1960, and in 1974 she wrote farewell letters to her friends and family, packed up her Volkswagen Beetle and disappeared. She has not been heard from since.
On Spinning On Air in 2003, David Garland and Gene Deitch broadcast Connie’s music for the first time since the 1950s. Connie Converse Walking In the Dark first aired on WNYC Radio in 2009, and is very slightly revised for this podcast. Here some of Connie’s songs were heard for the first time, and her story is told with interviews, commentary, and readings from her letters, journals, and poetry. Joining host David Garland are Oscar-winning animator Gene Deitch, who knew and recorded Connie in New York, and the voices of Connie’s brother Philip Converse, and actress Amber Benson, who reads Connie’s writings.
David now has more to add to Connie’s story — aspects to her life that will be covered in the next Spinning On Air podcast.
- Connie Converse on Wikipedia
- “How Sad, How Lovely” by Connie Converse on Squirrel Thing Records
- Gene Deitch
- Vanity Of Vanities—A Tribute To Connie Converse, produced by John Zorn, featuring Jeff Tweedy, Martha Wainwright, Laurie Anderson, Jesse Harris, Arone Dyer, Karen O, Mike Patton, Margaret Glaspy, Greg Saunier, and many others; extensive liner notes by David Garland
- Amber Benson on iMDB
- Philip Converse on Wikipedia
- Tobermory, Ontario
Photo of Connie Converse courtesy Philip Converse / background image: Chris Garland
Connie Converse playing her guitar at home, photo courtesy Philip Converse
Gene Deitch’s recording of Connie Converse