This month started with a trip to Barbados for my birthday. Went for 4 nights. It was fabulous and so good to get away. The only thing I didn't like was the music, both live and DJ. Everywhere we turned we heard U.S. music... and ironically, the cover songs that blue number nine does! That was kind of irritating. But of course the incredible weather, rum punches, beach, nice people, etc. made up for it!
Leading up to March, things were a little stressful. We have a new guitarist in the band - Sal Carubba. He lives in Bayonne which is good because we had to rehearse to the point where if we don't write new songs soon, I won't be able to sing the old ones! I'm quite tired of them. I wonder how groups like the Rolling Stones can play the same songs for 300 years. I guess it's all about the money, I don't know, but I do respect them for being able to pull the emotions out of themselves time after time. Anyway, we had a lot going on this month.
On the 13th, we had our first show of the month. It's why we rehearsed so much. We performed at the annual Cathedral Arts Festival in Jersey City at Grace Van Vorst Church. This church is right behind my old apartment in downtown Jersey City and happens to be the place where I first started doing open mics a million years ago, long before blue number nine. I would go there with a cassette of the music for my tunes and I would sing along. The crowd was always nice. And they were great at this festival. We played about 2 hours of instrumentals during cocktail hour and then we did a long dance set. And people danced. It was fun! Tiring, though. The instrumentals were a lot of work. I haven't played that much flute live in a long time! But it seems to have worked wonders on my chops.
Next thing for us this month was the aggravating snowstorm which just so happend to coincide with our trip to Buffalo and Cleveland... blackouts, blizzards and broken ankles - just some of blue number nine's obstacles! We drove to Buffalo the day after the snow, March 17th, St. Patrick's day, for a show at Sportmen's Bar in Buffalo. The drive was no big deal though and we made it in record time.
When we arrived, we all chilled out for a bit at Sheila's and then headed out to the gig in the snow. It was FREEZING and Buffalonians were walking around in leather jackets while I was wrapped up in my down bubble coat with the hood up and a scarf around the outside of the hood. I am SO TIRED of winter. But anyway, we met some really cool people like Duane and Boomer and so many others.. oh yea, and Santa. We autographed our poster for Santa. Duane showed us the music studio he owns... they have a killer recording studio and sound stage right next door! They have a website: www.cdmountain.com. The gig itself was a blast. The audience was warm and responsive. I was even inspired to don a silly hat and dance around in the audience. Sheila wore a silly hat, too. And she sang DANNY BOY and totally nailed it. The sound system was great. Thanks to Craig for tolerating my crappy camera and taking pictures for us (which are up on our SHOW DIARIES page.) Ron took some good pictures, too, and Jack taped the show on his mini disk so once I go through it, I'll put up some live MP3's. All of us sincerely look forward to playing the Sportmen's again. THANKS to everyone who came out.. Chris & Micker, Chuck, Ron, Patsy & Ed and anyone I'm forgetting because I'm spaced out right now. And thanks to Mrs. K for the after party in her house and the food (we all ate enough corned beef & cabbage that day for the next five St. Patrick's days!) We had a BLAST! And of course Mrs. Connors for opening her home to us and feeding us. The only snafu was me splitting my pants on "I'M IN DEBT"... at least it was the last song of the night! Also, thanks to "Captain Jack" for coming out and for buying our CD's and also for the nice emails.
The next day, after sewing my pants and eating and whatnot, we headed to Cleveland. Thanks again to Maureen & John for opening their home to us and feeding us! On the 18th, we played live on the radio at WRUW on a show called LIVE FROM CLEVELAND. Thanks to those of you who tuned in and called in. The Record Courier also printed an article about us that day. I personally was freaked out about playing on the radio. I was having knots in my stomach for weeks leading up to it, but when we were actually doing it, it was like being in our own Concussion Studios (with higher ceilings, of course.) I wasn't nervous at all. Marty & Ken (THANKS) and we have the show up on this site on our MUSIC page. Afterwards, we hung out at the Barking Spider and saw a really great country band called Hillbilly Idol and had a few beers. A guy came up to me and said that he saw the article about bn9 in the paper and he would bring us a copy.
Sure enough, the next night when we played the Barking Spider Tavern, the guy showed up and gave me a copy of the article! So nice! Thanks again to Martin for having us back. It was so great to see Josh & Mike again and other fans from the last time we came to Cleveland. Thanks to everyone for coming! And also thanks to my aunt Anne & Willamae in Jamaica, NY, for telling cousin Gayle about us. She lives in Cleveland and came out with 2 friends.
When we arrived that night, a group called The George Foley project was performing - apianist/vocalist and a 3 piece horn section (trumpet, sax & trombone.) A few songs into our set, I announced our gig the following night and told the audience we'd have a horn section and that I wished I had brought our charts in case George's horns wanted to play with us. All of them had left, though... except the sax player. I invited him up and he was reticent at first, but next thing you know, he was up on stage with us! His name is Andy Anderson and he was fantastic!! But not only that, I found out the man is 92 years old and used to play with Billy Holiday!!! It was such an honor that he played with us and the audience loved it. So did I. I got his card and I hope he'll come around next time we play in Cleveland. Also, it was neat that we had people come see us because they read the article or heard us on the radio. I was feeling like a real live rock star. Although, I did split the pants again, this time on the 4th song (out of 20!)
The next day, Amy, Marco and some friends went to the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame. I sat on the computer, after watching Maureen sew my pants again, and typed all this up, Jack & Sal hung around the house. Then, Jack, Sal & I headed to Fat Fish Blue and loaded in all the gear. Jack set up his drums and the three of us headed to the apartment provided by the venue. Amy & Marco hooked up with us later and we ate dinner and then Sheila arrived. The gig was so much fun. Again, someone came out after hearing us on the radio, Mike showed up and so did his friends, Josh came, Maureen & John and many people from Friday night's show came out as well. Nick & Ryan on sax & trombone did a great job. I had neglected to send them sheet music for two songs, but they winged it and did a fine job. I hope to play with them again some time. And to everyone who asked, the boys are indeed over 21 years of age! Oh, and I did NOT split my pants this time. Maureen is obviously better at sewing than I am! There are pictures up from the tour - snapshots and gig shots.
Finally, we got another booking in Woodside, NY in May, a possible gig in Maryland on May 2nd and a possible festival in Chambersburg, PA in July... that one will be hairy. It's in the morning, and then we drive 3 1/2 hours to the Poconos for a 4-8 slot at Split Rock Resort. May is looking crazy! But what I really want is to return to Cleveland ASAP. Last but not least, SINCERE APOLOGIES for my late announcement about booking a room at Split Rock for the wine festival in June. Apparently, my mother booked the LAST ROOM AVAILABLE today, March 26th. I guess it's a popular festival. I hope you'll at least come for the day.
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