Songwriter-poet to appear Quarto will read from his works Tuesday at WMC

November 12, 1995|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

He was discovered by Joni Mitchell in the Greenwich Village section of New York City and garnered to write for Crosby, Stills and Nash back in the 1960s.

Since then, Charles John Quarto has written thousands of poems and songs for nationally known singers in many genres.

Tuesday, Mr. Quarto will read his poetry and the musical team Trapezoid will sing in a concert of "Songs, Poems and Other Constellations."

The concert, sponsored by Common Ground on the Hill, will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Little Baker Chapel at Western Maryland College.

The name may not be as familiar as the singers Mr. Quarto writes for, but many will recognize country songs such as "Geronimo's Cadillac," "Mama Know the Highway," "Grapes on the Vine" and "The River."

Besides being a songwriter and poet, Mr. Quarto says he is a spiritual channel, healer and psychic. In his current lifetime, one of many he says he has lived, he is 52 years old.

"I have a gift of multidimensionality," he said in a telephone interview from his home in Nashville. "I was a poet and got famous and made a record, which is unusual for a poet. Then my psychic and healing abilities blossomed."

His songs have been recorded by such chart-toppers as The Band, Vince Gill, Hal Ketchum, John Hartford, Rita Coolidge, Willie Nelson, Cher, Don Williams and Waylon Jennings.

He has performed with Joan Baez, James Taylor and Richie Havens, and has appeared on David Frost's show. He has recorded several albums and has published books of poetry.

As a youth, he recalled, "the challenge was going to school. I was always looking out the window, because that was more interesting."

In 1965, he attended the Newport Folk Festival and was hooked. After hitchhiking to California and back, he said, he "just started writing."

He also started writing with both hands.

"What you write with your left hand comes from out of you, and what you write with your right hand comes from within," he said. Over the years, he said, his other abilities surfaced. He is a reader of quartz crystals and a psychic. He also is a spiritual channel and healer frequently for people in the music industry.

Walt Michael, director of Common Ground, calls Mr. Quarto one of the most entertaining people he has met.

Joining Mr. Quarto will be songwriter Paul Reisler and vocalist Martha Sandefer, performing their mix of "jazz, classical and folk," Mr. Reisler said.

Trapezoid, which has recorded eight albums, is adept at such instruments as the hammer dulcimer, guitar, violin, reed and keyboard.

Rod Kennedy, director of the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas, has called Mr. Reisler's songs "the most innovative, creative, stimulative, refreshingly original music I've heard."

The Washington Post called Ms. Sandefer's alto "lovely, affecting and natural."

Tickets to "Songs, Poems and Other Constellations" are $10 in advance, $8 for senior citizens and $5 for WMC cardholders. Children under 12 are admitted free. Tickets at the door are $12. To reserve tickets, call Common Ground at 857-2771.

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