Our 50 Year Journey with Livingston Taylor

I was chuffed to find out that our warm friend Livingston Taylor is celebrating 50 years as a musician, performer, and educator. Tomorrow, Wednesday, January 18th, will officially be declared “Livingston Taylor Day” by both Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. It gave me pause as I reflected on what Livingston Taylor has meant to our lives.

My wife and I have been dedicated fans of Liv’s music for 47 years. We have been blessed by Livingston’s charm and wit 10 times in concert.

I recall the first concert at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY, in July of 1970. Livingston Taylor was the opening act for Jethro Tull and unknown musician to us but he melted our hearts quickly. He sat directly on a stool in front of us playing acoustic guitar. We became enthralled as Liv sang, “Carolina Day”. We hunted down his first vinyl LP the next day and played it often during our dating years.

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The next concert was three years later, in December 1973 at the University of New Haven. I made arrangements with his manager Don Law to interview Livingston before the concert. I was forced to conduct the interview with a fellow WNHU-FM air personality. I warned this person NOT to mention James Taylor during the interview. I had been warned it infuriated Livingston Taylor to be asked or compared to his brother. That person swore to me he would not do that.

We get to the locker room before the show and Randy Newman, Liv’s opening act is pacing the floor and frequenting the restroom.  He stood off to the side as we interviewed Livingston Taylor. Don’t you know the idiot I am doing the interview with asks Livingston, “So what’s it like to have a famous brother like James? Livingston looks at him and then me and says, “Sorry, interview is over.” I pushed the saboteur off the locker bench, telling him, “Thanks for screwing this up for the station.” Randy Newman then said, “Hey guy, you really blew it for your buddy there.”

Many years later I had a good laugh with Livingston recalling that moment with him at The Towne Crier Cafe in Pawling, NY. We saw him perform there four times, once with his sister Kate Taylor. Livingston was always cordial after the show, willing to sign his CDs and chat with us. We would get seats right next to the stage and order dinner/desert. Livingston would come out of the kitchen, ascend the stage and ask us, “How was the desert? They have the best deserts at The Towne Crier.”

Note: Livingston Taylor will be performing the debut of his new album, Safe Home at the Towne Crier Cafe which is now located in Beacon, N.Y., on Saturday, Jan. 21.

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His signed book Stage Performance has proven invaluable to me as an educator. It has helped me refine how I connnect with my students. I have a peer in music and education with Liv giving me solace 🙂

So that has been our cherished 50-year journey with Livingston Taylor. We’re looking forward to seeing him receive his honors in Boston tomorrow. We won’t be there in person but we will be attending in the music of our hearts.

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Greg Lake – Songs of a Lifetime

I am constantly amazed by the powerful brilliance of Greg Lake’s voice. He is instrumental in his role in the history of progressive rock. I was listening to the 2nd and 3rd tracks on King Crimson’s, In the Court of the Crimson King, marveling at the richness found in the songs he sings, “I Talk To The Wind” and “Epitath“.  I decided to dig deeper into Greg Lake’s catalog. His vocal tone is a blessing within the music of our heart.

I spent time beguiled with his live recording, Songs of a Lifetime from 2013. Its a wonderful album to acquiesce with on a lazy afternoon. I relished how Greg Lake took the time to share his memories with an enraptured audience. The revelations allowed further insight into Greg’s artistic process which brought the songs greater sustenance.

So if you are searching for an hour of musical fulfillment, I strongly urge you to listen to Greg Lake’s Songs of a Lifetime.

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Rest in Peace, Leon Russell

I glanced on my computer at what was trending in Facebook when I saw that Leon Russell, “the Master of Space and Time” passed away peacefully in his sleep. His soul ascends on the Lord’s day this Sunday November 13.

My brother will ask me if I ever saw Leon Russell perform live. I actually did in a very small blues club, the Boxcar Cafe in Southport, CT on October 10, 2004 . He performed with his daughter that night Sugaree Rose Bridges sharing vocals and gigging with his band.

I wanted to give Elton something. But what do you give a guy who has six fully stocked houses? So I thought the only thing I could give him is a song. “In the Hands of Angels,” retelling of the story of the album [The Union], thanks Mr. John (“the guv’ner” in the lyrics), who knew all the places I needed to go and made me feel the love down deep inside.

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For today Leon Russell is, “In The Hands of Angels”.

If you believe in forever
Then life is just a one-night stand
If there’s a rock n’ roll heaven
Well you know they’ve got a hell of a band

i am Brian Wilson a memoir

Brian Wilson’s musical genius sustainability are his and our remarkable treasures. His new memoir takes us into his creative muse. Isn’t that what we want to learn about Brian’s talent? The thought process behind such great classics as “Good Vibrations” and “God Only Knows”.

I Am Brian Wilson,  written by Brian Wilson with music journalist Ben Greenman will be available on October 11th from Da Capo Press.

I Am Brian Wilson is the story of Brian Wilson’s life, told by Brian Wilson. But he’s not the same man who had a nervous breakdown on an airplane in 1964 or the one who ballooned to 300 pounds and couldn’t get out of bed in the 1970s. This Brian Wilson is older, calmer, filled with perspective regarding his extraordinary accomplishments and forgiveness for the people who complicated those accomplishments, and his life. Wiser, more measured, though still possessed of the youthful spark that helped him rise to the top of the rock and roll world, Wilson relates his life with a level of emotional honesty that has eluded authors of scores of previous works on Brian and The Beach Boys: “Telling my story honestly means remembering things I sometimes prefer to forget. I would like people to get to know what I’ve gone through, and I hope that my story will give them strength.”

Day Breaks – Norah Jones

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Coming October 7th, Day Breaks is Norah’s sixth solo album and a kindred spirit to her breakout debut Come Away With Me. It finds her returning to the piano and her roots.The album features Blue Note luminaries including saxophonist Wayne Shorter, organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, and drummer Brian Blade on a 12-song set that presents 9 new originals alongside covers of songs by Horace SilverDuke Ellington and Neil Young.

‘Carry On’ is the first single from Norah’s new album.

Bob Weir, Blue Mountain

I am thrilled that Bob Weir will soon release a new solo album of original songs. The work is titled, ‘Blue Mountain‘ and will be available on September 30th.

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Bob Weir is a hard-working musician. His collaborative musical abilities ring profoundly in the Music of Our Heart.

 

The release will be his first album of entirely original material in thirty years. Producer Josh Kaufman partnered with Weir on the album, which features songwriting collaboration with Josh Ritter and performances from guitarists Aaron Dessner and Bryce Dessner and bassist Scott DevendorfThe album features twelve new songs that draw on Weir’s earlier experiences working on a ranch in Wyoming as a teenager. Weir will be performing in support of the album this fall on his “Campfire Tour.”

There will be at least one song co-written with John Perry Barlow who has been instrumental in Bob Weir’s cannon of music.

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Blue Mountain Tracklist:
01. Only a River
02. Cottonwood Lullaby
03. Gonesville
04. Lay My Lily Down
05. Gallop on the Run
06. Whatever Happened to Rose
07. What the Ghost Towns Know
08. Darkest Hour
09. Ki-Yi Bossie
10. Storm Country
11. Blue Mountain
12. One More River To CrossBob Weir 2016 Tour Dates:
10/07 – San Rafael, CA @ Marin County Civic Center
10/08 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
10/10 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern
10/12 – Upper Darby, PA @ Tower Theatre
10/14-15 – Brooklyn, NY @ Kings Theatre
10/16 – Port Chester, NY @ The Capitol Theatre
10/19 – Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium
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