Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Spectator Birds

Another year gone by. Another year filled with Music.

Highlights of the year included Transperformance,

and countless rowdy shows with the Savage Brothers.

I also Rocked out with the Mambo Sons a few more times,

and guested with the guys from Brass Attack & extended Company on several occasions.

                                                     Still performing solo shows,

hosting (or co-hosting Open Mic events...

Always making rest home appearances for seniors (including for my my Dad, yet again) 

... and finished off the year very nicely on New Year's Eve.

Moving Forward...

       I think I may have found a few clues on my own in the past year.

20 years living in Western Mass. My tribe is here, and the Valley is my blood.

What started out with a long drawn out Winter turned into a cathartic Spring and a Summer & Fall of song, celebration and joy.

All part of a still-evolving process, I am nowhere near completing.

I anticipate many wonderful shows in the future, and 2019 is already filled with all kinds of exciting, challenging activity.

I'm ready.

Monday, November 19, 2018

A Shooting Star

Some days are too cloudy too see the beauty that is still there.

Rhode Island is a place where I have many fond memories.

As a child, I would swim at Misquamicut Beach, play arcade games, and stroll the beach from one side to the other. As I got older, I would see live music at the clubs, until I was eventually playing in a few of those clubs. I lived in Providence during the early/mid '90s, and have a soft spot for the gritty area. Surrounded by large houses, bakeries, bistros and just up the road from Thayer Street where all the students from Brown and RISD would congregate.

I recently found myself back here, when I pressed the Reset button on my life. My parents bought a small house in the early '80s, and after my Mom passed away, my father had no interest in returning. So, now it is a place shared mostly with my brother and occasionally, I make the 2 hour trek to hang out and watch the sun set over Watchaug Pond. I filmed some videos here of me singing cover songs and originals alike.

A lot was going on in my life.

Starting over after so long where nothing seemingly changed was not something I would get used to quickly, but I was starting to get adjusted to this new normal. I would return to some of the beaches where I remember happier times. Eventually, I allowed myself to enjoy them once again, because it is a beautiful place, made to have new memories.

I'm getting there.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018


 I didn't make it up to Vermont this year, so instead I went to New Hampshire. There was some significance to the trip, because I used to go there often as a kid with my family. I recall us going from Black & White TVs, The Beatles and walking on the Moon... to Space Invaders, Asteroids and The Ramones. I had a great family. My brothers showed me life as it could be when I got older. They set good examples, if I chose to follow them, or perhaps did something similar, but somehow in my own way. Guidelines to being a decent human being.

Vacations in New Hampshire meant swimming, water skiing, boating, the lapping waves from the Mount Washington cruise ship that would go by daily (more on that later), and the little cottage we all would stay in. As I got older I discovered girls, and that presented an interesting situation, as I never felt like I fit in anywhere. Not even back home, and certainly not in New Hampshire, where everybody talked funny, but I was the one with the weird accent (according to them). Girls in bikinis could be quickly forgiven, as I tried to figure out their Boston slang.

Later in my teens, I became a musician and by the time I was 18, I developed a little confidence, finding it slightly easier to meet people and feel comfortable with myself. I still operated at a hyper level, and could not quite settle down, but if I was able to make people laugh, and then maybe bring my guitar and get them to sing songs by The Eagles, Led Zeppelin and Skynyrd, then I was starting to finally fit in.

My favorite memories were by myself playing Pinball in the old arcades - which were now located on the other side of the lake at Weirs Beach. In more recent years: I was working in a band that started playing on the Mount Washington, so now I was getting paid to perform on the boat I used to see go by as a kid. I would play pinball for hours upon hours in between gigs, and especially the older machines made me happy and nostalgic for the pre-video game days.

Simpler Days.

So as it was, I had some free time at the end of this summer, and some leftover arcade tokens. I went back. Found a sweet beachside motel unit on the cheap, right next to the last cottage we rented.

Back to that wonderful view.

Back to that wonderful time.

The last few years there were very different. My brothers had moved away, and no longer went on the vacation. I was often alone, which I didn't mind. Our age groups were so that we had our own friends. But now the girls I used to hang out with up there were gone too. Family things had come up with them, and their summer priorities changed. Finding myself alone again for the first time in 30 years put me back into a place I knew. It wasn't all loneliness in that stillness, but a little bit of calm that I found. I was okay then, and I would be okay again. I just had to remind myself of that. Perhaps this was the reason I returned. Not to share it with others, but maybe to have a little closure.

One of the lines Stegner wrote in Angle of Repose was, "They say you can't go home again, although I've done it, as I have here, but it gets less likely."

I have indeed done it, and it does get less likely.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Most Things Break

Including Hearts. The lessons of life amount not to wisdom, but to scar tissue and callus - Wallace Stegner.

So began a brand new journey for me. This time, not on a train, or driving to some distant location, but to some raw, undiscovered emotional territory.

What was that going to be like?

A lot like this.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Big Rock Candy Apple

   In between my Artist Retreats to Greensboro, Vermont: I have also made regular treks to New York City. When looking for adventure, you really can't find a more inviting place to find culture and excitement. Numerous friends of mine live and perform here, and I try to make the trip down enough so that I at least feel like I am part of the scene... even if I don't live here.

I had tickets to see a rather odd show in Jersey City and a friend of mine was willing to take part. I was already prepared to make the trek, and this made it easier to pull the trigger on.

    So I made my usual jaunt from the Metro North Train to Grand Central Station, and settled into my unusual accommodations at the quirky Jane Hotel in the West Village.

Formerly accommodations for merchant marines: The Jane has since become something of an antiquated party place for bohemians and singles, as well as European travelers and folks on a budget. I managed to tie a pretty good one on exploring the West Village and the Literary haunts of the likes of Dylan Thomas, Jack Kerouac, Jim Morrison and others at the historic White Horse Tavern.

After the crazy party that followed back at the hotel: I woke up alone in my very tiny room, not quite sure where I was. By the sound of the city outside... I quickly realized I was in Manhattan. 

I stumble down the back stairs, half-awake, looking for coffee... and discovered this opulant, elegant room with nobody in it.

 (These walls do actually talk)

The rest of my 
adventure was more of the same: exploring
 and sampling the sights, sounds, and tastes of Greenwich Village. Despite all of the walking and reveling I did, I barely scratch the surface. That did nothing to take care of the itch that persists, and Summer has not even arrived yet... so I anticipate I will be back before my next Summer trek to Greensboro, Vermont.

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Bridge: My Fourth Summer in Greensboro.

Four years ago, I stumbled upon the summer resort village of Greensboro, Vermont: A peaceful small town in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont a dozen or so miles from the Canadian Border, and Summer home of writer Wallace Stegner.

The next year, a brand new organization in town called the Greensboro Arts Alliance and Residency was born, and I attended their first social gathering at the Lakeview House, while staying in a cottage at Highland Lodge, overlooking the shores of Caspian Lake. The following year, I took a train to White River Junction and drove a rental to Greensboro and Westmore (to stay at the Willowvale Inn). This time around (in a quest to do something different each year) I found a place in the nearby town of Hardwick, and made it my base for the latest meeting, which was being held at the Highland Lodge, funny enough.

My apartment was located on the first floor of a giant mansion near the center of town.

(I would love to come back someday and record in some of the massive, high-ceiling rooms there)

With a rushing river outside my window, and the center of town on the other side, it was a very interesting place to hang out, and my host, Sara made sure I was set up very nicely.

One of the routes that I would take to cross the river into town was along a wooden suspension bridge that would vibrate and sway underneath the rushing waters as I walked along it. 

At The Highland Lodge, I walked around the equally ancient building and made note of a furnishings, which almost always includes a piano.

At the writers forum, Young Adult Author Katherine Paterson was the featured speaker, she has had three movies made from her books so far, and one of them is titled "Bridge to Terabithia". Having this bridge symbolism occurring on multiple fronts, it made me think of the journey I made to Saskatchewan, and now the trips to Greensboro.

Where was it all really taking me? I wondered.

 I am still deep in the process of adventure in search of (and discovering) the meaning and some of the secrets to his gifts of articulating and making sense of life, and doing so in such brilliant and colorful detail. Most of the people in the room seemed to be in touch with this meaning and their own gifts as well. It is a small group, but its a small town, with some big-hearted and generous people.

The common traits we all possess is our being drawn to the same energy of creativity, which drives us to then go out and accomplish what it is that inspires us all so. As I wandered out into the night air afterward, I had become friends with more of these individuals, and became that much closer to the soul of the Northeast Kingdom, and the wellspring of inspiration that flows like the waters that feed serene Caspian Lake.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Fourth Time Around

Making Arrangements to return to Northern Vermont for the Greensboro Arts Council Writers Conference.

Staying at the Hotel Coolidge and then venturing to Hardwick the next day to visit nearby Caspian Lake, located in Greensboro. 

Last year, I took the train, but this time around, I am going o split up the drive and take in a few places I missed last year, like the Main Street Museum.

This will be the fourth year I have ventured into the Northeast Kingdom, as the search for Wallace Stegner continues.