In New York City, there are three Broadways. There’s the “main” Broadway, which runs the entire length of Manhattan. But there’s also a West Broadway (in Soho), and an East Broadway (in the Lower East Side).

The latter two were named by shop owners as a ruse to divert customers looking for the main Broadway. A mean-spirited trick; a person on East Broadway, in particular, would find himself pretty far out of his way.

I never dreamed this would be a problem where I live, but last week I played a gig at the 215 Restaurant in Jamestown. I was so excited to get the gig that I neglected to emphasize that it was in Pennsylvania. As a result, a couple of my friends drove out to see me in Jamestown, New York.

So… aside from that, what’s new? I was delighted when, two months ago, my music was given a positive review by no less an authority than Goldmine magazine:

If you are unfamiliar with this publication, I urge you to make your acquaintance as soon as possible. Among other things, the reviewer John Borack (author of Shake Some Action: The Ultimate Power Pop Guide) stated that “Marzano’s songs… would sound pretty darned good in a small town bar on a Saturday night.”

Sadly, there are no bar owners in northwest Pennsylvania who agree with this sentiment. But, the farther I go out of the area, the better my music is received. Since the last newsletter, I’ve played very successful gigs in Greenville and Titusville, PA, and have future gigs scheduled in Jamestown, PA and Conneaut, OH. Check for details.

Getting back to New York City… I’ve been visiting the Big Apple every year since 2001. One of my favorite things to do there is partake of the city’s live jazz offerings. (The West Village, in particular, is a “musical Disneyland”.)

More recently, I’ve gathered up the nerve to talk to some of the jazz musicians there. I was nervous at first, but once they saw I was serious about music they opened up like a book.

One of the questions I usually ask is, “What’s your favorite place in NYC to see music?” To a person, they reply, “Smalls”.

Having been to Smalls, I can understand why. The focus is on the music: no pool tables, big screen TV’s, or kitchen. People talking too loud during the music are actually shushed.

If you were to ask a Cleveland resident that question, the response would probably be, “The Barking Spider”. This was my favorite place in the tri-state area to see music until they shut their doors last year.

This was a particularly great disappointment to me; aside from being one of very few places willing to book me on a semi-regular basis, it gave me an opportunity to interact with Cleveland audiences – a different breed from northwest Pennsylvania audiences. One man told me he said to his wife, “Let’s go see someone we’ve never heard before.” There aren’t too many people in this area with that attitude!

Since the Barking Spider closed, I’ve been trying to find someplace else in Cleveland with a similar vibe. But it hasn’t happened. The Barking Spider was a unique and special place precisely because of the unique and special people who ran it.

Finally, I’ve been continuing with the guitar lessons I mentioned in my previous newsletter. Someday, I’d like to be good enough to play unaccompanied instrumental guitar. Of course, that might take twenty years – and, indeed, that day may never come – but that’s okay. If the only thing I get out of this is that I learn more about music, I will still consider the money well spent. In music, there’s no such thing as wasted effort.






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