dan may w/liz longley at steel city and WXPN

dan may at steel city
dan may at steel city

saturday night, dan may was booked to play at steel city in phoenixville – and heather was ill.  we’d already trimmed down the band a bit, in order to fit on the stage (steel city is many things, but spacious isn’t one of them), and had decided to do the show without alan…so this show would be only five of us, including dan – which was a new minimum for a full band show.  with anthony newett back on board, though, there was still a degree of versatility thanks to anthonys’ keyboard chops…so i wasn’t worried about the instrumental presentation at all.

not having that high harmony, though, would definitely make life interesting.

as it turned out, there really wasn’t much to be worried about – there were a couple of songs that were problems, but we managed to adjust on the fly, largely.  the high lines in “tied to your mast” and “nightbird” just weren’t happenin’ for anyone who showed up that night, but most of the other songs turned out…well, not much worse for wear.

dsc_09061i’ve always enjoyed doing “one more time” as a duet with dan, and i also do the chorus of “time and again” a bit differently as well…it’s not a better-or-worse thing – just different.  the way our voices blend together works really well, largely because of the fact that when i sing with dan, we’re both working in the strongest part of our ranges.  his voice is low enough that even when i’m singing over him, i’m still in a pretty comfortable place, range-wise, and it works.

i’m thinking that anthony and i are going to eventually have to find some means by which to hear each other a little more clearly than we have up to this point.  we occupy opposite ends of the stage, simply because we both travel so heavily…and that’s fine, but there are times when i’d definitely like to be able to hear him better.  that’s something that alan has complained about himself in the past – not being able to hear the other side of the stage the way he’d like to.  i’ve never had a problem hearing alan, but i never really needed to sync up with alan the way i strive to sync up with anthony – so it’s a little more of an issue now than it used to be.  we’ll eventually figure something out, though.

dan with liz longley at steel city
dan with liz longley at steel city

liz longley opened up the show, and man – she’s blossoming into a major, major talent.  she has a new song called “overdue” that’s just jaw-droppingly good…wow.  i’ve been aware of liz for a long time, due to her former relationship with a manager friend of mine, and i’ve always liked her stuff…but she’s coming into her own now.  her work is maturing, and she’s gonna be pretty amazing by the time she hits her mid twenties, at this pace.

dan & company at the world cafe studios/WXPN
dan & company at the world cafe studios/WXPN

the following night, we were both booked on gene shays’ show as well, for an hour of christmas music, plus a few non-holiday songs from both of them.  we set up in the world cafe studios where we’ve done these things before, and since the whole band was there, and playing sans headphones, we set up in a circle in the middle of the room so that everyone could hear everyone else.

kurm and tommy at WXPN
kurm and tommy at WXPN

dans’ lineup was tommy geddes and mike kurman on drums and bass, anthony and i on guitars, and our friend shelley weiss on violin and viola – shelley had almost joined the band some time back after moving to philadelphia from tallahassee, but the full time thing didn’t pan out…she does want to join us when she can for shows, though, and this one worked out for everyone.

gene shay
gene shay

this show went so well that dan is actually thinking about doing a christmas album for release next year in the format that we played the show in – vocals, guitar-dobro-violin-mandolin, bass and percussion…the songs went over very well, and everyone sounded great.

and gene loved it…which was the truly important thing, anyway.  🙂

365 days ago…

a year ago today, it was.

i was in sandusky, ohio with dan may, doing what i’m doing now, oddly enough…waiting out a snowstorm.   that night, though, dan and i (along with percussionist peter trezzi) were trying to decide whether or not to go through with a scheduled show at stillwater, snow be damned or…not.

we had one of those magical shows that night…the perfect audience, an ideal setting, and all the circuitry worked the way it’s supposed to.

and, of course, it was a year ago today that the world lost dan fogelberg.

p18466u0iy1today, dan’s wife jean relaunched his official site, danfogelberg.com with a new layout and some new content in honor of the anniversary of his passing.  i’ve learned some interesting things as a result of jeans’ willingness to share a little more information than dan perhaps would have – dan and i shared a fondness for the tradition of watching the 1951 alastair sim version of a christmas carol on christmas eve every year…and also that his eyes had a tendency to change color, in and out of the same shades mine have a predilection for drifting in and out of.

trivial, i know, but interesting to me at any rate.

the last couple of days, i’ve been compiling something of a year-in-review entry that i plan on posting here when it’s finished, and – i gotta tell ya – even the eternal cynic that i am, it’s been an amazing year for me.  personally, musically, professionally – i can’t remember a year with as many high spots as this one.  i feel a little guilty even saying that, considering everything that’s upside down in the world as we speak, but it’s the truth.

now, if i were far less cynical and far more romantic than the curmudgeon that lesser years past has sent forth to this point in time, i might be inclined to fantasize that dan is up there, having a word with the powers that be and sending some good energy my way…if for no other reason than to say, “hey, man…payment in kind for all the good thoughts that travelled the opposite direction these past four years.”

yeah, of course – it’s an absurd notion, concocted in my head to explain a coincidence in time, with the underlying motive of forging a personal connection that never existed on this plane.  i know, i know.

the world is a different place without you, man.

“tell them how they are missed…and say not to fear
it’s gonna be all right…
…for us down here.”

john gorka, let them in