Category Archives: My Music

By The Time We Got To Woodstock

“Road Trip!” she shouted. “Let’s go to Woodstock! You can’t write a rock and roll blog without ever going to Woodstock! Not when we’re so close!” How could I ignore that level of energy and enthusiasm? She was right, I needed to go.  I had actually been thinking about Woodstock earlier in the weekend when John tagged me in a Facebook post with this gorgeously haunting video by Good Harvest:

 

So we were off, leaving from Hobart, the Book Village of the Catskills (where I was attending the Hobart Festival of Women Writers) and heading towards Woodstock…

I should mention my very enthusiastic traveling companion is my friend Linda, who appeared in my life first as a local writing icon, then became a writing instructor, and now she is my friend, mentor, and cheerleader.  Linda was the one who encouraged me to blog about my band wife experience and even came up with the name of the website!! She keeps me focused and accountable, all the while singing my praises to anyone who will listen!

As we got closer to Woodstock, she took a slight detour down Mink Hollow Road, where Todd Rundgren used to live and record.  When she was younger, she drove down this road, hoping to maybe catch a glimpse of Todd, this talented guy she was crushing on. We started feeling a bit stalkerish, driving down this narrow country road, wondering if at some point we would be found out, but then we came to the end of the road and it was actually a trail head, so we didn’t have to worry about some sheriff stopping us and asking who we were there to bother.

From down the road, Woodstock could be just any small town in upstate New York. As we drove  into town, something seemed different. Maybe it was that first parking lot that had a popup tie dye sale going on. Linda was especially excited because she had been in Woodstock a couple of other times, but the shops were dark and the streets empty. She was thrilled that she would be able to get inside some of the shops this time around.

There were a disproportionate number of antique and head shops in town. The very first one we came to had tie dye and banners on the outside, with statues of Jake and Elwood Blues (of Blues Brothers fame) sitting on chairs in the garden.

14311206_10210004749142895_7629217369505524527_o There was a bench out front with a sign that said’ “Try this on! Take a picture!” ‘This’ was a patchwork coat of many colors, pieced together with gorgeous fabrics that hippie sundresses were made of, and a top hat. Linda pleaded and cajoled until I got enough courage to put the hat on my head, trying not to think about all the heads, clean and otherwise, that it had been on before me. She then took a couple of glamor shots  (this is the shot I like the best!) I felt like a real flower child.

 

 

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It was cool to check out all the memorabilia from the era when the original gathering happened all those years ago at Yasgar’s farm. Among the souvenier shops were antique shops with stuff from the 60’s and 70’s, items that people would pick up and take home so they can have a touchstone to their past. There was an abundance of lighters, bongs, incense, and other paraphernalia. We skimmed a few of those shops and lingered over the jewelry and trinkets. We got ourselves matching bangles (the Bangle Sisters, we decided to call ourselves, a nod to the Susan Sarandon and Goldie Hawn characters in the movie The Banger Sisters, another groupie movie.)

 

We then happened upon a cupcake shop. Peace, Love, and Cupcakes.  I made a comment about hipsters and cupcakes and how I could make a whole cake for the price of one of those treats, but then we saw that they were named the best cake in the country by the Food Network, so of course, we had to step in. In a very small storefront was a bake case with gorgeously frosted cupcakes. Most of them were named after famous musicians.

14902828_10210507110661619_8650365471128416339_oKristina was really helpful and talked us through some of the most popular ones. Linda picked the Bob Dylan (carrot cake with cream cheese frosting), I tried the Joe Cocker (caramel) , and we picked the Jimi Hendrix for later (intense chocolate cake with triple shot mocha frosting). And let me tell you, despite all my complaining about spending too much money, this cupcake was incredible. Kristina is also a band manager and she had some tricks of the trade to share with this newbie.

14883520_10210507112861674_3080465322138707849_oOne of the shops we walked by had some singing bowls in the window and Linda just had to stop by. I had never heard of them before, and Linda owns and plays them, so it gave me some insight into the musical talent of the woman who taught me to write about mine! The man there let us try some of them out and showed us how he teased music out of them (he told us that Buddhists strike the bowls, not circle around the rim.)

It was a little after 4, and the community drum circle had started. Every Sunday, people gather with drums and tambourines and all matter of percussion to drum away the afternoon. Didn’t bring any instruments? Don’t worry, they roll out a huge box full of maracas and tambourines and cymbals so everyone can join in.14884525_10210507112301660_3148908253704442112_o

My new favorite percussion instrument, the cajon, was among the drums being played. These people drummed and drummed and then drummed some more. When one song ended, another beat would start right up and everyone continued. People drifted in and out of the square and danced and swayed and became one with the music. We decided to have an early dinner in the outdoor café which gave us a seat right next to all the action. I love how they do this every single week (weather permitting.)

As the sun started to set and we headed towards home, I was so grateful for Linda’s spontaneity.  I would never have stopped to smell the patchouli if it weren’t for her telling me to experience everything rock and roll. Now the band wives will be planning a visit next summer.  I can see Bridgette dancing to the beat already!

 

 

 

#overpassfest

Many say that Syracuse is just an average college town, but with much more snow. There is at least one person out to change that perception (besides my mom, champion of the Near West Side) and his name is Michael John Heagerty, voted Best Community Advocate in 2016’s Best of Syracuse, run by our local community publication the Syracuse New Times.

 

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Last week I was once again at #overpassfest. It’s an informal gathering of artists and musicians that has been happening every week since June. So far there have been #overpassfests at the Onondaga Creekwalk, the Inner Harbor, the Erie Canal Museum, and at the Great New York State Fair, and each one has been unique and amazing. Musicians with guitars, basses, tambourines, trombones, and even a couple of cajons (a percussion box that you can sit on and play at the same time) show up at the designated place at the appointed time and just start to perform. The groups constantly change as the evening goes on. Add in photographers (like my friend Lisa Kane), artists of all sorts of media, and for at least one week, a guy with a typewriter that wrote poems on demand. Every week people gather and create together in a community space that otherwise doesn’t see a lot of action.

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Tramps Like Us

I spent much of the day today rockin’ it out to Bruce and his new album, Chapter and Verse, released Friday. It’s a companion CD for his book due out today, Born To Run. The songs on it were fun and span his life in music, but some of my favorites weren’t included, so I thought I would put a few of my own out there for you all to enjoy. Today is my birthday (those of you on facebook have already been informed several times!) and it is so cool that at 9:27 a.m. on 9/27 I am blogging, doing something I really love.  #lovemylife

Tenth Avenue Freeze Out (1975) 

This song is my very first Springsteen song, introduced to me by my college roommate Joanie.  We even had a dance, which we are sure to resurrect when I visit her next winter in Key West.

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Big Sister Little Sister Fair Day, 20th Anniversary Edition

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“At least I don’t work in a lemon!”, I said to Jen as we walked by someone pouring lemonade in a giant lemon.  I  could have been a little more humble; I had three part time jobs and none of them seemed like they would pan out.  It was 1995 and I was distracting myself from the reality that I was 33 and had just moved back home to Syracuse and in with my mother (nothing personal, Mom.)

Last year Jen and I celebrated the 20th Anniversary of Big Sister Little Sister Day at the Great NYS Fair. We have a path we have worked into a groove, although we do try to put one new and different thing in every year. This year for the first time we didn’t go together, which may be OK since the landscape has changed significantly and our memories are just that, memories.

Curly fries with malt vinegar This is usually our first food item, within the first 2o minutes.  No matter how much malt vinegar we shake onto the overfull plate of fries, it never seems enough. Later in the day I always go to the Dinosaur BBQ booth for a sausage sandwich, then finish up the trip with a cinnamon candy apple.

Butter sculpture and a glass of milk The dairy building is always a must, and even if we miss the act playing on center stage, we always check out the sculpture and get our chocolate milk, so imagine my disappointment when I saw the article about a price increase to 50 cents. Thanks to some grant money that magically resurfaced, the price remained the same. Incidentally, the butter sculpture was my very first hashtag on social media, explained by my much younger sis.

An adult beverage  I usually head over to Horan’s for a beer.  I bring them business even though we are not related and I have never been able to get one for free.  Last  year I wandered over to the New York Brew Pub and Distillery and got a craft beer.  Jen noticed that they were filling cups from the bottom.  When we questioned the bartender he explained about the magnet technology, which saves time and gives a consistent head, but does create a waste problem with the nonrecyclable cups. Jen usually heads over to the wine court. We got wine slushies one year and got brain freeze. Not for us.

Center of Progress building, Jen’s usual MO is to talk the salesperson into getting both her hands smoothed out with fancy lotions (they often only do one hand, trying to entice you to buy their product) and get her rings cleaned for free. We then visit the massage booth and purchase a 5 or 10 minute chair massage from the local massage school.

Horticulture building Here we judge the table and place settings up for ribbons (I had no idea this was even a thing!) Then we check out flowers that I never even knew existed. And there is a gorgeous courtyard that we usually sit in for a while. Then off to the sand sculpture. This year there was some serious vandalism to the Justin Bieber section of the sculpture which I am sure increased their traffic.

Animal buildings and the Horse Coliseum, Jen loves animals of all kinds, so we need to check them all out. Then we head over to the coliseum where we like to rest our feet and watch whatever show is there, whether they are draft or show horses, showing, pulling tractors, or jumping.

Chevy Court.  We did not listen to much of the same music growing up, but Jen indulges her big sis, over the years humming her way through KC and the Sunshine Band, Three Dog Night, and Rick Springfield.  We were a little surprised that Rick would want to come back, after Bootygate (Jen’s words) in 2004.  For those who may not know the big news here in the Salt City, a fan brought suit against Springfield when she allegedly was injured when Rick fell off the stage onto her.   He mentioned the sign a fan had in front that said “Rick, you can fall on me!” and he  talked about how supportive Syracuse was during that whole debacle and mentioned that he thought about wearing a pillow strapped to his butt.

14324627_10210039017759589_3907190992071739844_o-1Last year Jen and I celebrated the 20th Anniversary of Big Sister Little Sister Day at the Great NYS Fair.  We only missed one year in all that time; she was pregnant and needed to be off her feet.  That was the year I took Flat Jennifer (think children’s book Flat Stanley) to the Fair then made Jen a scrapbook of Flat Jennifer’s adventures. As much fun as Jen is, Flat Jennifer and I had a great time too.  I guess that’s a whole different post. Missed you this year, Buddy!  We’ll do it next year,

 

 

You Can See The Stars And Still Not See The Light

Sweet voices rang out: “You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes, and your smile is a thin disguise. I thought by now you’d realize, there ain’t no way to hide your lyin’ eyes.” No instruments, just voices, singing in perfect harmony. It was a bold artistic choice to start the song this way and my breath caught in my throat as I listened. And who pulled off this performance?  None other than one of my bands, Day Ja Voo. One of the strongest skills in their wheelhouse, their harmonies, were showcased when Day Ja Voo first performed Seven Bridges Road, a vocally challenging song by Steve Young, then moved to Lyin’ Eyes.

http://www.dayjavooband.com/

The guys were invited to participate in Tribute Tuesdays, a music series at The Ridge, a golf course and restaurant in Chittenango, NY, near where I live. This song was just one of the many amazing musical moments that happened last Tuesday night. I would like to take this moment to thank Melinda for her hospitality and her great staff for excellent service. Julie and Lexie were amazing! Now that she has listened to both the Van Morrison and the Eagles tributes, I think Lexie is finally realizing that she does know classic rock!  I have been to The Ridge several times for musical performances, including other Tribute Tuesdays for Bob Dylan and Paul Simon and I just love the venue. Unfortunately, I have been out of town for one of the most fun shows they have, Ridgestock, and hope to make it out there next year .  My sister and friends went last month and thought it was a spectacular day of music, recreating the music and covering the bands of the original Woodstock!

http://www.golfattheridge.com/

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And, I’m Back!

It has been too long since I have posted a blog. I have no excuse, and yet I thought I had many: too hot, too tired, too busy, not feeling it…and none of them are good enough. This is a new month and it is time for a new Band Wife (that means me!).

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This gorgeous sunset picture was taken at Scusset Beach and is just one of the many memories I have of this summer.  I went to Cape Cod last week with my nephews Nick and Diego and, being teens on their phones for much of our time together, renewed my interest in social media and reaching out to everyone, so here I am committing to 2 blog posts a week for the month of September,

I will be improving the website, writing more blogs, and tweaking my brand with help from my consultant, Linda Lowen at Always Wanted To Write.  More about her to come as we continue on my journey!!

Follow me and I promise some fun stories of my escapades this past summer and reports of all the great things that the bands are doing!!  These guys have been playing and practicing all summer and want to share their music with you all, party people!!

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Almost Famous, Band Wives Edition

First of all, let me say that the Band Wives need a tour bus. There are details still to be worked out, like full-time jobs and families and children, and how the two bands would tour together, but Mobius Jones, Day Ja Voo, and more importantly, the Band Wives, need a tour bus.

Ever since everyone started joking about how I have been stalking Day Ja Voo and Mobius Jones three years ago, people have told me I needed to watch the movie Almost Famous. There is actually an entire list of movies I have never seen, and we are working through it slowly, one by one, so I just put this one at the bottom.  Then I caught the pilot episode of Roadies, the new series on Showtime this summer by the guy who wrote Almost Famous, Cameron Crowe.  After watching this very engaging and electric first episode on Netflix (where they try to get you sucked in to try their Showtime app), I decided to put Almost Famous at the top of the list.  This morning I caught the movie, and I now see what the hype is all about.  This movie entertained me like no other in my recent movie watching history. And I want  to be Penny Lane (Kate Hudson’s character), but without all the sex. And the drugs.  OK, maybe just for Halloween.

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