My CD release party was held at Just Goods, downtown Rockford Illinois. I must say it is the best listening room in the surrounding area. It was an amazing success in that it was well attended by very enthusiastic listeners and many CD's were sold.
As I looked out among the audience it was comforting to see so many familiar faces and surprising to see a lot of new faces.
My good friend Matt Flamm was kind enough to come out and open the show. He came armed with his new banjo and did a great job wowing us with his tunes. Many of his songs were his older guitar compositions adapted to banjo, along with some new material and covers. Matt never fails to bring it. Thank you my friend.
I was accompanied by two other friends that night on a few tunes. Ron Holm kicked all our butts with his harmonica work on Little Treva and Ease It Around. There was no rehearsal with Ron H. His genius works best with jumping on the stage with both feet and creating on the fly. Helmuth Redschlag played keyboard and accordion on Auf Wiedersehen, Too Much To Lose, and Sweet Eileen. We had one informal rehearsal about a week before the party but Helmuth already had the tunes down since he recorded on two of the tunes for the CD. Helmuth is another one of those rare musicians that works well hammering it out going into the unknown. I feel fortunate to be surrounded by such talented friends. Thanks guys.
I have one regret for the night. In all my nervous energy and with all the excitement that took place, I failed to credit all those that were involved with my project. I mentioned Michael Gilbert Ronstadt for his prodigy cello and mandolin work, and of course Helmuth Redschlag for his keyboard work, and his presence that night reminded me. Unfortunately, I forgot to acknowledge Paul Washa for providing his bass skills on Sweet Eileen. Paul recorded on Auf Wiedersehen but there was some technical stuff going on with cable noise that prevented us from using his tracks. It is so unfortunate because his bass work with his band Empty Pockets is what convinced me that he had to play on my album. Paul is truly a great bass player and good friend. Daniel James McMahon replaced Paul's bass track, played electric guitar, keyboard, drums, and shaker on the rest of the project. It was Daniels great musicianship, engineering and production skills that made this project what it is. Samantha Owen provided her amazing vocal talent on Children Play and Magda Holds Her Guitar. The first time I heard her sing with Ron Holms band I knew I had to have that voice on this CD. She is now in New York City studying performance and will be very famous before her journey is through. I just hope she remembers us little people. I feel very fortunate to have the great John Farrell from Solebury Pennsylvania on Build My Boat. He provided a fantastic Pedal Steel track that gives the song exactly what I had envisioned from the beginning. I look forward to using his talent on my next project. Last but not least is a friend and band mate of Daniel McMahon, Adam (Dark Lord) Plamann. What else can I say but that he is the best clarinet player I've heard. His work can be heard on Pennies In The Well and Little Treva. Adam showed up at the studio totally unprepared and fired off many amazing takes. It was fun to watch and listen to the process between Adam and Daniel. They have worked together for years and practically read each others minds. Needless to say, between all the great talent that gathered to work their magic on this project, I feel it turned out better than I ever imagined.
I ended the evening with Magda Holds Her Guitar. This song always makes me nervous to play because it is played capoed on the 7th fret and the fingerpicking is very intricate. In my nervousness, I left out a verse but no one noticed. It was one of the last verses so I didn't get flustered since the song was almost over. The song was well received but imagine my surprise when the applause continued and foot stomping was added as the audience insisted on an encore. Wow, totally unexpected. That made my night for sure. I'll never forget that experience. So, I ended the evening with my version of the Rolling Stones, Paint It Black.
Oh but the surprises didn't stop there. I was immediately faced with folks holding the CD and waiving cash in my face. Many of them insisted on their copy being signed. I was totally humbled by the experience. The entire evening was a musicians dream come true. I thank each and everyone that attended that night. Y'all ROCK.