James Blunt Goes To The Dogs… In The Catskills

He’s the first Brit to simultaneously top the American singles and albums charts since Rod Stewart some thirty years ago. He’s the first ex-British soldier to successfully hit the singer-songwriter trail since Billy Bragg. And he’s the first musician to inspire Paul Weller to the memorable line, “I’d rather eat my own shit than do a duet.”

Yes, he is James Blunt. And on May 27 he will be performing in the Catskills – to benefit our town’s dog kennel.

James Blunt

This is not a mis-print. For Blunt’s American A&R person, it turns out, is Mary Gormley, a Phoenicia home-girl whose parents run the town funeral home. As she tells it in the May issue of the Catskill Region Guide…

“On October 11, 2004, two things happened—one happy, one sad. James Blunt released his debut album, Back to Bedlam, in the United Kingdom. And I put Snuffy to sleep that day.”

…Snuffy being Mary’s dog, in whose name she gave a donation and began collecting funds for the Shandaken dog shelter. A few months later, to pick up the story, she gets a call:

“’They decided to name the dog kennels, Snuffy Suites. I was so touched; I shared the great news with everyone who helped me raise money. At the time, I was working closely with my new artist, James Blunt, touring through Europe. We talked about Snuffy, the Catskills and my hometown. James wanted to visit; I jokingly said he could when he did a benefit for the Snuffy Suites one day. With a laugh, he agreed.’”

That benefit takes place this May 28 at Belleayre State Park. The concert is preceded by a silent auction for such prizes as

“a signed Triumph the Insult Comic dog signed by Eminem; a signed Sports Illustrated by tsunami-survivor, supermodel Petra Nemcova; and a backstage pass to meet Cyndi Lauper.”

If you can’t bid for one of these items, you can buy merchandise that includes

“fleecy blankets with Snuffy’s picture and the Snuffy Suite slogan…‘Dogs Rock—Adopt One!’ or ‘Cats are Cool—Adopt One!’”


Tickets for the concert range from $25 to $100. You can read the full story on why Blunt came to Belleayre here.

No word yet whether Blunt will join fellow British singer-songwriters Graham Parker and David Bowie and move to the Catskills permanently.

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October 2021