November 17, 2012

Chuck Berry and Morso and Interviews, oh my!

I left off some eons ago, after promising to talk about the process of recording "Still"  at Sawhorse Studios with Hilary Scott and the New County Line. But, most of my creative writing energy these days goes into writing songs - I need to figure out this whole discipline thing, of sitting down and writing a blog once a week or so to keep you all updated. The release of "Still" has kept us fairly busy, and we have gotten some great radio response from it over the past year. I also entered into a heavy writing phase of my creative cycle, which always keeps me preoccupied, and somewhat neglectful of other things. I hope you will forgive me when you hear the new material!

 As the band settles into a groove that is really resonating with audiences, we have gotten some fantastic performance opportunities, the most recent being a chance to open for Chuck Berry in the Duck Room at Blueberry Hill in Saint Louis. Chuck Berry is of course known as the "Grandfather of Rock and Roll," but he has also garnered a reputation for being somewhat elusive and difficult to approach. However, our experience opening for him last month was something I will never forget, and about which I cannot say enough positive things. First of all, seeing Mr.Berry perform live was something I am so thrilled to have had the opportunity to do - he is 86 years old, and the show we played with him was on his "birthday eve." He would change the lyrics to his songs, make up new rhymes, riff jokes in the middle of a song, and banter with his daughter, who sang and played harmonica with him and the band that night.

The venue was packed with his loyal fans, and the great thing about them was that they embraced us with open arms - we made new fans that night and the adrenaline high helped us play one of the best shows we ever have as a band. After the show, we were ushered right up to his dressing room door, and despite a long line of avid (and I must say, pushy) fans, Chuck Berry greeted us first. He grabbed my hand and asked if I had a good time. I told him it was wonderful and such an honor to open for him, and I said, "Happy Birthday!" He responded, "Happy New Year!" (I guess for him, it WAS the start of a new year!) He even allowed us a much-coveted photo opportunity, something I am told very few bands or individuals get the opportunity to capture.

Also of note recently: AJ Gennaro and I headed to Colorado for a "Just Us Two" tour in September, returning to Avogadro's Number (one of our favorite venues in Fort Collins) and the astoundingly intimate Bellevue Bean - where the owners are bigger music fans than even the patrons. We had a liquor sponsor (Spring 44 Vodka) and made some new fans we hope to see again soon.

Currently, I write this from a house tucked away in the rain-forest-y woods of western Washington, overlooking the Puget Sound. AJ and I are here for the holiday, and also for two amazing musical opportunities. Last year, when Hilary Scott and the New County Line toured in the northwest, we had been asked to appear on Michael O Neill's syndicated americana radio show, "Who's Bad Now?" but circumstances prevented that from happening. During our week here this time, we not only get to appear on Mr. O'Neill's radio show, but we will be part of his Morso Americana Music Series at Morso in Gig Harbor. This music series features one performance each month, usually artists of some serious renown, so we feel blessed to be part of it. Michael O'Neill has written, toured, and performed with just about everyone you can think of, and is a much-lauded singer-songwriter. He also hosts his Americana Series of shows for hand-picked artists that can tour the west coast, and now also in the UK. We are pleased to begin this beautiful friendship! We will keep you updated on the newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, and all that jazz as to when the show (interview and live performance) will air.

Along similar lines, Indie Showcase will be interviewing me on Sunday, December 9th via Skype. The interview will last for two hours and fans can log in to the chat room and ask me questions, hear some of my music, and interact - I just might answer your most pressing questions!! Links to all the programs are available in my newsletter, and will be on my website and FB pages as well.

Well, if I start thinking about all the things I should have written about recently and failed to, this will become a novel. I had better sign off now before this puts you to sleep...but thank you, once again, for reading, for listening, for tuning in.

Love to you all!

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