We had such a great time at Scullers in Boston and Joe’s Pub in NYC celebrating the release of Avalon. The band rocked it, without question. Ben Witman, my co-producer and drummer was up to his usual brilliance. He is the singer-songwriter whisperer. Avalon came to be through his persistence and cajoling, at times, and I am eternally grateful. Peter Eldridge on Piano was wonderful with his deep elegance and twinkle in his eye. He even did the duet with me on “Here After”— Jonatha Brooke joined me in Manhattan, but more on that later. Reuniting with my dear old friend from my Berklee days, Carl Carter, on bass was a personal thrill. He and I share a special bond and rediscovering that it’s still intact 20 years later was sweet. That he plays as bad-ass as he did back then is not so much surprising, but more reason to book gigs to hear his deep groove in the future. And if hearing his solid musicianship weren’t enough, anyone who sees him in action has to take in the joy and love he gives on the bandstand, smiling and loving it up all the time—that’s what it’s all about. Rounding out the quartet was the masterful Joel Frahm. I was lucky to have him play on the CD and equally so on the gigs. He really knows how to wrap his horn around what’s happening in the moment and then tear into a solo that rocks everyone back in their seats. Ya gotta love that ability to be both the team player and the leader of the sound.
The Boston audience was it’s usual raucous self. I love playing Bean Town. It being the town of my Alma Mater makes it special. My dear voice teacher Maggie Scott came as well as some old friends from my Berklee years. Also having my mom in attendance made it extra special.
At Joe’s Pub Jonatha Brooke sat in on “Here After.” She has been a great inspiration to me over the years. Counting her as a friend and a part of the energy of my shows from time to time, is really bliss. Anyone who’s a fan of The Story—Jonatha’s first group with Jennifer Kimbal—knows that the merging and mingling of two female voices has been refined to high gloss with those two at the mic. She has gone on to solo pastures, but we both love to tug on those heartstrings every once in a while.
We played all the songs on the CD except “Writing on the Wall.” And we launched a handful of new songs, too. All this release business has got me running to the piano.
And what may be the sweetest moment for me at both shows was having my daughter Ella join me on our song, “Here is my Avalon.” What started out a few years ago as Ella sitting in and singing on the chorus has become a legitimate musical moment. Not only does she nail it, she completes the circle. The song was written for her while I was away on the road. That this song brings us together now is the ultimate answer to the call.
Thank you one and all who ventured out to the shows and helped me celebrate this momentous occasion. As many of you know, this songbook has been in the works for a long time, but a heavy dose of life and lack of free time were the reasons it took so long to come to fruition. Now that it’s out there, I feel a question has been answered. The fates have much more to do now with what happens next. That and well, a lot of elbow grease!
I look forward to many more years of music and merry making!