When they find you (and they do)

The internet is a big place that quickly shrinks when you know what you’re looking for.
It’s rewarding to get messages from:
A) around the world
B) from my distant past
C) strangers I haven’t met yet

It’s not uncommon to have “internet introductions” that lead to crazy cool gigs and fundraisers like the “Buzz Off.”

Note (this is last years poster, this year falls on June 3rd, but you already knew that because it’s on my Shows Page.)

 

Insight

“Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury-to me, these have always been contemptible.  I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best for both the body and mind.”  -Albert Einstein

Great words spoken by a master.
I don’t do what I do for fame or money.  Music for me, “is” health.  Art “is” connection.

At the end of the day maybe some of my insight makes it into someones ears and their life is better because of it.  And, that’s why I do it.

That being said, I have written songs that are satirical and not meant to inspire nothing in the realm of higher thought.  A decade ago I was asked (by an enthusiastic interviewer) when I knew in the midst of a performance that it was going to be a “great night” (whatever that meant).

I told him when “girls dance with girls.”

St Barths, 2007, Rick O’Neale on the bass, Tim Mayer on the sax.

My secret life (vol. 1)

I have things that I do that I don’t advertise….thus…my secret life, vol 1.

I ran a nightclub in Lowell from 2011-2017 called the “Backpage” (they closed this past April).   Pictured above are some of the faces that made it a truly special place.

In that time I booked over 1300 shows (they were open 5 nights a week for most of their timespan).   I kept their website updated regularly and made individual promotion pages for every show.

Their Facebook page still exists if you want to see what it looked like (the website has expired).

Booking bands and running a schedule is damn hard work.  It just is.  If you do it right, you learn ways of making the process easier, but like all things, you learn by doing.  You just have to do the work.

No shortcuts, in a culture that promises shortcuts.

Music is the same.  You spend the hours learning to play or sing, or you don’t.
Unlike booking though, you got to feel it when you play it.

Tomorrow night (March 1st) going back to the blues with Dave Sag in Gloucester at the Rhumbline!

 

“Can’t Wait” -today only

Today’s giveaway (Hint, it’s a Live version).  Get the “actual” file that sounds WAYYYY better than the streaming services or Youtube….

Get it HERE

Where have you gone tonight, when I need you here
When you disappear, I still see your face

I look for you everywhere
In the crowd I see you standing there
I look again, it’s not your face
Feeling lost, everyone does
I stay here because you might be here soon

Where have you gone my love?
Because I can’t wait
Where have you gone my love?
Please don’t hesitate to show your love to me so I can see

Can’t remember the last words that you said to me
I blocked it from my memory
And I’m so alone in this crowd tonight
And nothing they could do or say would make it right

I look for you everywhere
In the crowd I see you standing there
I look again, it’s not your face
Feeling lost, everyone does
I stay here because you might be here soon

Where have you gone my love?
Because I can’t wait
Where have you gone my love?
Please don’t hesitate to show your love to me so I can see

The “juniors” of the world

In Boston last week, playing at the Beehive with my jazz group “Sauce” (if you don’t know about that band, there’s more coming down the pipeline), we were approached by a celebrity.

(This is a shot from the Beehive stage)

I had no idea who he was and my bandmates recognized him but couldn’t decide from where.  Aside from being a lifelong comedian it was TV that had made him famous, and you know how much TV I watch.

He talked a lot.  He told us stories of the comedy world (that was his place) and of all the great predictions he had made and all of the great things he had done, and wouldn’t tell us his name (I asked 3 times and he kept deferring away).

He was “Junior” from the Sopranos.

He was very complimentary, and the conversation went around and around from insight to prediction, and from the genesis of art to the reception of it.

You never know who’s listening to you.  You never know who’s out there.  And, it’s a big world.

Radio still matters

Streaming on smartphones is great, but it can isolate you.
Paying attention to your Facebook feed is great, but it can control your behavior (and again, isolate).

Radio “is” mainstreet.  When you touch a dial and “choose” a station, and there are people on it talking about what’s happening in the world, you remember how old and great this technology is (hint, it’s not old, it’s new in the historical perspective).

People hear me on the radio shows that the DJ’s get to choose what they’re playing.  MVY is one of the only remaining stations that have that quality of choice.

Speaking of happy….a big Happy Birthday to MVYradio’s Alison Hammond (she’s one of the best).

 

Marketing and why it has to come second

Indies like me run our own modest marketing efforts refusing (hopefully) to “farm it out” to 3rd parties to do for me.  And at times prefer to be comical about it because I don’t take marketing itself  as serious as the music.

For me, the content has to come first -thoughts in the lyrics, intent in the grooves.
Little flash, big meaning.

These are my guitar strings.  They’re called “Tone Rockets” and they’re incredible while their marketing is not.

I’ve come up with a more familiar packaging.  Well actually, Adam Signore put this beauty together (thanks Adam) and I’m sure you won’t forget it.

Have a laugh on me.
If you’re a guitar player have at them.

Gratitude and patches of time

Had 3 big shows this past weekend and the amount of people that came out to hear the new music is still making me smile.

And it’s always interesting to see people after patches of time, sometimes years in-between and then someone shows up.  They’re still listening to “Say It” and they haven’t heard anything from the past 5 years.

They want to hear the new.
They also want to hear the old.

In the end, most of the time, they’re asking for my stuff.  The music that I wrote, with a pencil, paper, and beat-up guitar.

I can’t convey how it makes me feel.  This idea, that something I wrote, sang, played makes a life better in some way, not just enjoyment, but insight.  This is worth more to me than any award I will ever be given or any ownership of a thing, a car or house, something that we don’t take with us in the end.

Maybe insight is the real ingredient that’s missing more and more, or maybe the “general” or the “crowd” or the “public attention” simply aren’t looking at it.   Insight.

Insight brings gratitude over patches of time.

On Valentines day only

My gift to you

 

When there’s a lot going on…

This photo (from 2009) was taken in VT at the end of a guitar masterclass workshop (the emphasis was on acoustic blues as you might have guessed from all the acoustic guitars in the photo).

It came up in my Facebook memory feed which surprises me from time to time because I tend to forget about “everything” when there’s “so many” things happening.

I write music, I perform music, and I teach music (on my own with no affiliation to any college, other than maybe the Charlie Banacos school).

I debut one of my new bands tonight (called the “Street Band”) just in time for Fat Tuesday.
That’s 8pm at “Chianti” in Beverly MA.   That’s Timo Shanko and Benny Benson in the photo.

Come see me this week.

Thursday (2.15) in Nashua (Riverwalk)

Friday (2.16) in Somerville (Bull McCabes)

Saturday (2.17) in Jamestown Rhode Island (Narragansett Cafe)