Right off the bat, what a year! Amazing. Did things I’ve never done, seen things I’ve never seen, and played a whole bunch of music in between. Here are some highlights:
January - Had a fun 3 day run up north, including a stop in with our friends at Mocha Maya’s in Shelburne Falls MA. We were all seriously surprised at the turnout - a packed house. But I say this not to brag, but to share my lesson learned. That is to say, some hard work of promoting, sending out press releases, and sending out more press releases really helped the draw. It was like a business 101 lesson learned. Valuable. Indeed. - Somehow landed on The Rock Boat - even managed to get up on a stage one night to play a song with my friend Brian Fechino. Met a TON of cool people. As a matter of fact, met a lot of seriously nice folks I got to see again out on the road over the spring and summer. More on that later. Loved The Rock Boat. Saw bands. Traveled outside the United States for the first time (Costa Maya, Mexico). New notch in the tree for me. Made mama proud.
February - Cursed Valentine’s Day like the single dog that I am. But, I did have a Yoga date with Gerry. At least I wasn’t alone AND I saved money on going out to dinner!
March - Once again did graphic design work for and sang at my dear friend Joe Hurley’s annual St. Paddy’s Day extravaganza, the Irish Rock Revue. The annual event is a fine “revue” of traditional Irish gems and some timeless Irish rock. The event also raises money for a charity each year, so it’s not just some drunken circus. Looking forward to 2012’s Irish Rock Revue!
April - TOUR! Finally… I toured. Went to Cleveland OH, Chicago IL, Ann Arbor MI, and a bunch of other lovely stops as well. Now, some of you travel currently or have traveled in the past. Outside of The Rock Boat thing, and trip to Canada when I was 17, I never really left the Northeast. Being out on the road with Gerry and John, playing music to new folks, and listening to a ton of Son Volt along the way, was a truly spiritual and enlightening experience for me. I have grown because of it, and will continue to travel more.
May - Gerry’s Birthday month! Fun dinner with Gerry and Gerard.
June - June started off with a bang when we opened for our dear friends, The Alternate Routes here at home in CT. At the time, we were managed by the same company. And actually, since the beginning of 2011, I’ve become good friends with these guys. The particular show we played with them at Daniel Street in Milford CT was simply amazing - the crowd, the sound, the atmosphere… All 100%. I think there is some video footage here. Later on in the month, we played at The Legendary Dobbs in Philadelphia - a city I absolutely love! Dobbs is one of the best places we’ve ever played because of their organization, hospitality, and promotional efforts (not to mention absolutely killer sound). That one was very special for me in particular because we all left the stage feeling like “Holy shit… did we just do that?” It’s an amazing thing to play music with friends. And when you really connect, you REALLY connect. That night was a “firing on all cylinders night” and I’ll never forget it.
July - This month was loaded with highlights. First, we toured down South, something I’ve been wanting to do for the longest time. My dear friend and current roomie Jess Mueller, came along with Gerry, John, and myself to take care of merch duties. She’s an awesome, awesome person. Top notch… First class… And a lot of fun! Touring down South was another fun and spiritually fulfilling experience for me, as once again I was able to see and visit places I had never been. And once again, met some amazing people out on the road. When we came back home we played shows opening for Vertical Horizon and Grammy winning blues guitarist Robert Cray. The Robert Cray show was particularly special because we opened for him in our hometown of New Haven on the green (another lifelong goal of mine - met). So umm… yeah… July was pretty darn good to us!
August - Spent some quality time with Amy Gerhartz and Todd Wells - 2 singer/songwriter friends of mine that were up from Atlanta, playing some shows here in CT. I highly recommend checking them both out. They are both amazing and I was humbled to have spent an entire week with them!
September - Had the opportunity to play an amazing event called the Brooklyn Indie Music Fest. Headed by a fellow named Bennett Miller, the 3 day festival brought some incredible music to Brooklyn. I can’t say enough about how well run this event was. And the people we met were the best. Such great folks. Please check out their site and learn about this wonderful event. - As many know, September was particularly difficult for me as I lost my dog, Chico, to cancer. It’s something I’m still dealing with - even months later. I miss him so incredibly much. Somewhere there’s a song in there.
October - We were supposed to go out on tour again this month. But due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, we were forced to cancel. It was particularly heartbreaking for me because I really needed to get away. But alas, there was that one special night that made up for it; we played World Cafe Live in Philadelphia. John and I opened up, once again, for our friends The Alternate Routes. The show was a benefit for a wonderful organization called Music4More, which raises money and gathers instrument donations for music programs at schools throughout the country. Some video of that night here.
November - Had a lot of fun playing bass for The Alternate Routes’ guitarist/bassist Mike Sembos’ band The Backyard Committee. It was a great way to step away from singing and playing guitar. Instead, I got to be part of the rhythm section for some tunes here and there at their residency in New Haven. Please, please, please… check out The Backyard Committee. The album is GREAT!
December - Played our last full band show for the year at NYC’s Rockwood Music Hall (one of my favorite rooms, I might add). It was truly a great way to end the year.
And now… if you’re still reading this… I just want to say THANK YOU for all of your support. This is all simply not possible without your involvement. 2011 was an amazing year. I learned a lot. I’m very lucky to play music and to play it with some incredible friends. 2012 will bring more touring and a new record for this project. Thank you for listening and for spreading the word.
Happy 2012 friends!
Peace, love, rock & roll…