with Mercy Blue – “Rosewood” CD Release party

it’s probably a textbook case of oversimplifying, but josh werblun is a Good Kid.

i’ve known joshs’ dad, art, for some time, and josh has become a member in good standing of what’s left of the philadelphia music scene at a pretty early age…he just graduated at drexel this month, and his senior project was rosewood – a concept album recorded by his band, mercy blue. josh invited me into the studio to cut steel parts for the record, so i got to put some slightly left-of-center pedal and lap steel parts down…certainly not what i normally play, which made it a lot of fun.

pedal steel at mercy blues' CD release show

josh and company were running around like madmen to try and get the record ready for completion in time for their release party, and somehow they managed to pull it off, even if only to have the album downloadable for the guests by the following morning. it’s an easy mistake to make (i know – i made it myself) when you’re doing an album early in your career…overlooking all the things you have to line up to have in place before you announce your latest work to the world. but after you do it a couple of times, eventually you learn to set your release date for at least a month after you think you’ll have hard-pressed copies in hand (if you’re still someone who believes in the whole “physical copy” thing. that’d be me, for one).

so, i found my way to 40th and walnut to the rotunda with my gear and loaded in for the gig…very cool little performance space…and managed to situate myself up there with the pedal steel in such a manner that i had two cables going back to the amp – one directly from the volume pedal for the pedal steel, and one coming from the pedalboard, which would be the lap steel and electric guitar and such. it was a little cumbersome, but it worked – i was close enough to the amp to be able to just reach back and plug in whichever signal path i needed, so everything went relatively smoothly.

i am immune to your charms, young skywalker...

i have to confess to feeling – well, rather ancient when the show started and they called me up to sit in. i actually posted a twitter update during the show comparing it to stephen stills sitting in with green day…and yeah, i felt pretty old up there with the upstarts, but they genuinely wanted me there, and that made it a little easier.

we closed with tom petty’s running down a dream, which ended too soon for me, but with that one finished, the night was a wrap.

it’s rejuvenating, in some ways, to be in the company of young musicians whose outlook hasn’t been stomped under the cleats of the realities of this business yet. in their eyes, the possibilities are endless and it’s all out there, waiting for them to just go out and gather it all up. i mean, i doubt they actually, consciously see it that way…but when contrasted to how so many folks in this line of work (including myself) tend to see things, they’re downright starry-eyed. but it’s not a naive fantasy-based optimism…they know what kind of work is involved, and they’re not adverse to doing it.

they’ll be fine…and ultimately, so will this business of ours, i think. i hope.

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