On the Road and In The Round: Craig Bickhardt, Thom Schuyler, and JD Malone at Chaplin’s, Spring City PA

the coolness factor got a big boost – for me, anyway – with the presence of thom schuyler for this show. of course, i’d been a fan of SKB and i had been aware of him as a solo act before then, as a result of a single of his we’d played at WKWX when i was a radio teenager back in my hometown – a song called a little at a time.

and, as i was to learn during the course of the night, a genuinely nice guy with an underlying talent for goofy songs. 🙂

in the green room...
Left to Right: Fred DiTomasso, Craig Bickhardt, Thom Schuyler

the “i didn’t know THAT” zinger for me was right after soundcheck, when i walked up to the green room after finishing my tuning ritual to hear thom and craig playing through my old yellow car – a song that had been a hit for dan seals during my senior year in high school…and a favorite of my best friend’s, largely as a result of his bond with his little yellow Opal that we spent many hours in back in the day. when he came to work at the radio station on sundays (a radio station he’d NEVER have had occasion to listen to, considering his musical tastes) and heard the song for the first time, he adopted it as his own.

yeah, he loved that car…and that song.

so i walked upstairs at chaplin’s and they were just coming to the chorus and i chimed in with the high third harmony as if i’d been singing it for years…and that was my introduction to thom schuyler. 🙂

rounding out the trio of master songwriters for this show was the venerable jd malone – and, as craig would say to him after the show, jd proved that he can hold his own in any company on this show. he was exceptional…and a joy to play with, as always.

the one song missing from the night, for me, was sixteenth avenue – a song that had been released as a single by lacy j. dalton at around the same time, but wasn’t a huge hit…nevertheless, it’s risen to somewhat legendary status among other songwriters…and for good reason. it captures the ambition and longing that people at the bottom of the ladder experience in a sublime way…i won’t spill too much of it here. you’ll have to hear it for yourself.

the chemistry between thom and craig was very relaxed, they made jd feel like part of the club, and the interplay between the three made for a great show.

and i got to sing my old yellow car with the fella what done wrote it.

i almost wanted to hunt my old friend down to let him know. 🙂

from the balcony...
the view of the stage from the balcony....

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