National Teacher Appreciation Day is today. I think about all of the teachers/professors/mentors I have had over the years and how they have inspired me. I’m lucky to have studied with some incredible people.
This year I can’t say enough good things about my first guitar teacher, Joe Golden. I took lessons my senior year of high school with Joe, and years later I’m PERFORMING with him. Life comes full circle at times.
Playing with Joe has been quite an adventure; I am constantly learning from him, even after all of these years. We always have a great time performing, no matter how crazy a gig can get! The most valuable lesson I’ve learned from him is that a balance in life is what keeps you going. I’m not quite there, yet, but because of him, I’m getting closer. Thanks, Joe.
This coming Saturday I’ll be playing with one of Pittsburgh’s favorite singers, Miss Katie Simone! Katie and I have been friends for several years and within the past year or so have been performing together. We will be playing in Pittsburgh’s Leaf & Bean Cigar Bar on Penn Avenue in the Strip District on May 12th, just in time for Mother’s Day. If Mom isn’t into cigars, bring her for a cuppa joe or BYOB it! Music starts at high noon, goes on until 3.
As most of you may have gathered, I love playing at Nino’s in Mount Pleasant, PA. It’s about an hour outside of Pittsburgh, tucked away in Westmoreland County. Formerly a speakeasy, Nino’s has been serving up homemade Italian food for over 45 years. I tell everyone to check it out: the entire building and property is worth the scenic trip. I’ve been playing happy hours, special events, and their famous garden parties (coming soon in July!) for the past five years. Friday night at Nino’s was the first time I’ve ever played a gig with someone I’ve never played with before: Andrew Hendryx. Okay, technically that’s not true, we met at a private function at Nino’s (surprise!) and performed together... sort of, it was more like a jam session. Little did I know we would be playing as a duo weeks later.
I learned about Andrew Hendryx years ago when he was with the Brooklyn based band called Yarn. Check them out, they have a terrific sound. Andrew played mandolin for them, which I remember well since I was learning the mandolin at the time. He even played an electric mandolin, which was the coolest thing I could ever imagine! Fast forward to this spring, I get a message from Andrew inviting me to play with him at Nino’s in May. How thrilling to be offered that gig and how lucky I wasn’t booked! Songs were being sent, plans were being made to rehearse.
As life goes, we never had a chance to get together: Andrew and I seemed to be busy at the exact same time, or something would fall through. OR, I need to keep my days straight (because Easter was my last day off, and that was April 1, right?). But I knew this guy was a pro and could probably play anything.
So the worries shifted over to ME: Can I do this? Am I ready for a gig with someone I’ve NEVER played with? Did I pick inappropriate songs? Why do I constantly worry over everything that goes on with work???
As soon as Andrew and I showed up at Nino’s and started talking, I instantly liked him and the vibe he gave off: super laid back and easy going (I’ve noticed I surround myself around those types of musicians; Joe Golden and Ed Skero, for example).
I had a great night playing with Andrew, working through my nervous energy. We received a warm welcome and several people approached us with a lot of compliments. It’s a good night when people ask “How long have you been playing together?” or “Where else do you play?” and you respond with “We’ve never played together before!”
It was a terrific Friday night playing with mando monster, Andrew Hendryx, and Nino’s was the perfect spot for the “world premiere” of us playing together! I look forward to making more music with him soon!
It’s Throwback Thursday! Two years ago Steve Kalinsky of shootstothrill.com snapped this one of me (now I’m rethinking growing out my bangs again after seeing this!). It’s one of my favorite photos, especially because I’m holding one of my favorite guitars (it’s a 1977 Takamine/Martin Lawsuit model in case anyone was wondering). A solo photo for a solo gig: Point Street Tavern this Saturday from 7-9pm. It’s a new spot for food, drinks and music in Saltsburg, PA. Locally owned, no cover and smoke free!
Oh boy, another show added to May! I’m now doin’ a Lawrenceville Double Header on Saturday, May 19th.
First, Joe Golden and I will be starting our “cider season” in the Arsenal Cider Garden on 39th Street from 5-8pm. Then I join Slim & Co. at the Nied’s Hotel Stage on the corner of 54th and Butler for more music!
Both outdoor venues are family friendly, dog friendly, and there’s no cover!
How exciting, tickets went on sale today! I’m joining Slim Forsythe & The Parklane Drifters at Jergel’s on July 1th. Ol’ Slim ‘n the gang will be opening up for Asleep At The Wheel! Get tickets via Jergel’s OR through Slim himself at Nied’s Hotel any Tuesday night when he’s behind the bar.
As I gear up for Saturday night’s encore performance of Rumours (with Shiva Skydriver at Nino’s in Mt. Pleasant at 7pm), I’ve been listening to all of Fleetwood Mac’s albums. Thanks to my new found discovery, I am now slightly obsessing over the entire album, Mirage. However, I’m ashamed to say that I’ve known “Hold Me” for years and I had no clue it was a FM tune, nor did I have any idea they were singing “Hold Me” (don’t ask what I thought they were singing. This is why diction is so important for singers: Mumbling sounds sloppy and makes for a lazy singer).
What song(s) have you rediscovered as your have grown older?
Only two more days until I join Shiva Skydriver for another night of Fleetwood Mac music! It’s our encore performance of the album, Rumours, plus more FM hits! This Saturday at Nino’s in Mount Pleasant, PA, starting at 7pm. Check out the band at shivaskydriver.com or on your favorite social media.
Also, I am pleased to be only one month away from my fourth season at Arsenal Cider House & Wine Cellar in Pittsburgh’s neighbor’s, Lawrenceville. This season Joe Golden joins me for an early evening of music and cider, all outdoors! Family friendly, dog friendly, smoke free, no cover, cider, food trucks, and LIVE MUSIC!!! Our first night is Saturday, May 19th, from 5-8pm.
In honor of these two occasions, here is Joe Golden and me doing some acoustic Fleetwood Mac.