And the Winner Is... 

First of all, a sincere and hearty congratulations to all the winners of the Erie Reader’s “Best of 2019” poll. 

Those of you who know me well know my opinion of the Erie Reader. When my album American Proust came out in 2015, the Reader wouldn’t even acknowledge my existence. But when one of their cronies from the King’s Rook Club puts out an album, the Reader can’t hunt-and-peck a four-star review fast enough. 

I’m fully aware that I’m not the Erie Reader’s target demographic. (The fact that their poll…

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"... and this pedal makes you sound like Frank Marzano..." 

Boy, did I get blowback from that last newsletter. Four people unsubscribed! The main point of contention was the “bottom ten” list of songs that, given the chance, I would ban from ever being played onstage again:

  1. “Wagon Wheel”
  2. “Sweet Caroline”
  3. “Last Dance with Mary Jane”
  4. “Folsom Prison Blues”
  5. “Wish You Were Here”
  6. “Brown Eyed Girl”
  7. “Me and Bobby McGee”
  8. “All Along the Watchtower”
  9. anything by the Beatles
  10. Wonderwall”

My point was that everybody and their brother plays these songs, and that I was tired of…

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One Man's Trash... 

I logged in a lot of stage time this summer, with Seann Clark & Friends, Colette Bone, and my own solo gigs. But the high point was my birthday (July 19), when I went to see the High Life play at the Sprague Brewery in Venango.

If all I did that night was see the High Life play, it still would have been a great evening. The High Life are one of the most exciting acts in the tri-state area. Though primarily a cover band, they recently released an excellent album of original material:

https://www.amazon.com

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Summer Home... Some Are Not 

There are many reasons why I love summer. For one thing, there are the various music festivals held throughout the tri-state region – a great opportunity to hear live music outside of a barroom setting. I myself applied to play at one of these festivals. The conversation went along smoothly until I uttered those six fateful words:

“How much does this gig pay?”

You’d have thought I was Oliver Twist asking for more gruel. The booking agent went on and on about how people were donating their time and talent…

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Shalom Aleichem (and Aleichem Shalom) 

One of the hardest parts of being in your fifties is that people your own age start dying. My new year got off to a rocky start when a longtime friend of mine, Joshua Schoenfeld, unexpectedly passed away.

Joshua was not only one of my best friends, he was also one of my biggest fans. It was he who suggested the album titles Foul Weather Friend and American Proust. Josh and his wife also came to see me when I played at the Baggot Inn in New York City in 2002.

Joshua was the proverbial “glass is half full”…

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