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Friends With Perks – A Songwriters Tale of Friendship

I’m horrible at reviews, so I don’t do ’em. I host house concerts, though. And excuse me, but I do a pretty good job of getting great acts to come play. When I started hosting, it was because we never had anyone interesting come to town to play. Very very rarely did anyone pass through that moved the dial. Thankfully, some establishments opened in the area geared towards bringing cool acts to the area. Now, I just host because I love it.

It’s the music, for sure. But it’s also the personal relationships you develop with the artist. I got this right away with my first house concert with Kevin Montgomery.  Maybe I was living in the dark in 2007, I wasn’t really hip to the idea of concerts in your house as a thing and how many artists were doing it. He was doing this crazy tour called, 50 States In 50 Days. He was playing a house concert in all 50 states in 50 days. Not 50 business days. 50 days.  On top of that, Kevin was sponsoring a charity. A gesture that really stuck with me. That was 2007, and Kevin has done three  such tours since then. Sponsoring a different charity each time. It’s been my pleasure to host the West Virginia leg each time.

Kevin is an extremely busy, but personable one. It amazes me what he remembers. That he stays in touch and that he’s so thoroughly engaged with his friends. I’d call us fans, but he treats us more like friends. A trait not uncommon with all the acts that have played my house concerts. Yesterday was a special day, because I received my copy of Kevin’s latest work, Some Comfort (my favorite Kevin has put out and I’ve only had it one day!). Also, we confirmed him playing at the Children’s Home Society of Parkersburg September 24th. The charity he has settled on for the long haul, The Orange Duffel Bag Foundation is special because it is focused on Foster Children that have aged out of care. It’s directly linked to what my friend Steve Tuck faces at the Children’s Home Society. I’m happy that we can do the show there. Glad we can have Kevin back again. Glad Kevin got me started on this crazy adventure.

Another act that recently released a new CD, Blackwater Mojo. Was recently in the area. But I wasn’t, and I hate it. Don’t get me wrong, I love their music. But I would have liked to have seen them. To just hang out. I like the day after a house concert when the artist can stick around. The day of the show, everything is rushed before and after the show is a party. But the next day is calm and relaxed. You get to interact on a normal level. When you find you have something in common with someone, it’s fun and interesting. As a songwriter, it’s really cool. Right now, I just hate that I missed seeing my friends.

The new CD is called, Cold Holler. It’s absolutely fantastic. I hear a lot of things I would expect to hear from them. But there’s a couple songs that I’m just blown away by. And haha, the one in particular is called, Blown Away. I’ve heard it live, but the studio version is so full. I guess because they are a two piece, when they got in the studio and were able to flesh the songs out, they could add all the other parts that were running through their heads. And those parts are something else. Well worth your time to follow the link above and give it a listen!

Finally, Peter Katz also has a new CD that came out in April. As I told you before, Rob Szabo produced it. I really haven’t taken it out of the CD player since I got it. I’ll never forget meeting Peter. He’s so positive and upbeat. I know I’ve told the story before, but when I was showing him around the house he wanted to just go skipping around the first floor. I wanted so bad to join him. I had just put my dog down and had knee surgery the two weeks prior. So I was dying for anything to pick me up. Although I couldn’t skip, it was a huge life to my morale. A supremely incredible show and experience. Influential on a lot of levels as well.

Being a songwriter myself, I’m always looking to be influenced and inspired. Peter did a lot more than just introduce me to the world of loop pedals, though. I do love mine and all the ideas I’m getting with it. But he has a sincerity about his songs and as himself that is almost too good to be true. I’m just left to marvel at him. I have video of that around here somewhere. I’m making it my goal to show, because it’s just too good not to be out there.

These people all have influenced me in one way or another. I’m happy to say that they have all played at my house and are all people I count as friends. I hope I’ve pointed you in the direction of some music that you find both enjoyable and inspiring.

May 5th @ The Parkersburg Downtown Market

It has been really really way too long since I posted anything on here. First and foremost, as the title says I’ll be playing at the Parkersburg Downtown Market this Saturday. I’m excited about this for a few reasons. First, it’s important to support local farmers. If I bring one person in contact with one farmer and they do business, that’s a win.

As a performing songwriter, this is a great way to connect with new people. A chance to be heard. I don’t think of it so much as a business, but I think there is a place for me out there. I’m not completely where I want to be as an artist. But I think there’s a market for where I am. I just need to find it. So being heard by a new audience is a good thing

There’s also the idea of going outside my comfort zone, which consists of my house and The Adelphia Music Hall. Hehehe! For me, that used to mean a bit of anxiety, or stage freight if you will. I don’t feel that now, though. That’s a good thing. Finding a comfort level when you perform is the best way to guarantee a good show. Whether I sell one cd, or one hundred, I want to do a good show and put my best foot forward. Rob Szabo says it best, starting at about the :52 mark of this video.

I love that sharing this didn’t really hit me until I started writing. They are such true words. Something to write on a card and read over before every show. I need those kind of reminders. :-) It’s also a good segue into Rob’s latest production on Peter Katz’s new CD, Still Mind Still.

I really need to stop. Just check out Peter’s new CD. It’s so good! Hope to see you Saturday!!

Donations: When A Good Heart Goes Bad

I’m a pretty strong advocate for making donations to the Red Cross in times of need. I keep a permanent link to them on the sidebar along with a couple others I believe in. So you’d think that when the disaster hit in Japan I would put up a link reminding everyone. You’d think that…Unfortunately, that’s not how it played out. A friend of mine posted the info to text a $10 donation to the Red Cross on Facebook. (That information is here. Please donate in one way or another. ) She is someone that I absolutely trust. But I didn’t think what could have happened if this info was wrong.

It’s at this point in the story where I cant stress enough that my friend didn’t do anything wrong. There is a trademark pending that she has never and will never be wrong. So let’s not make this about her.

What I should have done is what I am going to do here in a second. Put a link up to the site instead of just copy and pasting what someone else put up. I mentioned to a friend today that I should start thinking more like a hacker. So this is what I came up with. A person could if they wanted to be the biggest douche in the history douchiness, post info to drop money in their own account in a time of crisis. It gets copied and pasted like I did all over Facebook . Unless someone catches it…

Of course we wouldn’t want anyone to get away with something like this because it would make people paranoid to donate in the future. It’s one good thing we can all join together and do, donate. We have a lot here in the US, and we have a means to make a difference around the world through the Red Cross. It’s certainly not the only way we can make a difference, though. But I would feel bad if I unwittingly helped anyone get away with this. So that’s why I wrote this little PSA. Continue with your day, citizens.