Friday, March 4, 2016

Fathers and Daughters - My feelings when listening to Kelly Clarkson's Piece by Piece

I was watching Kelly Clarkson sing "Piece by Piece" and started crying. That song touched me very deeply, like I know it did for a lot of women.

My father left when I was eight years old and was barely a part of my life again until I was thirty. Now, almost 20 years later I'm his 24/7 caregiver. He suffers from Alzheimer's and when the time came I stepped up and made the commitment to care for him. He's my father. I love him and I forgive him. That doesn't negate the fact that I grew up essentially fatherless. I was abandoned, and yes there are issues that come from those hurtful feelings that I've had to deal with over the years.

My father and I were able to discuss everything well before the Alzheimer's took hold. He's a wonderful man and a great friend, but he was a lousy father. He knows that and has acknowledged it.

One day I was especially exhausted, having spent the day out to doctors, and generally taking care of him without a break. I thought about how I have done more for this man in the past four years than he's done for me in almost fifty. It saddened me. We both missed out on what could have been a beautiful relationship. What we have now is more of a caregiver/patient relationship. Partly because of how difficult it is to be a caregiver for a parent, so I need to take a step away from being his daughter both emotionally and mentally in order to care for him in the best way he needs.

Listening to this song got me thinking that the man that renewed my faith in fathers was my brother. He is a wonderful father. He gives his sons the love and emotional nourishment that him and I never received. My father agrees. I wonder how it feels for him, seeing through his son and grandsons what he could have had. We've past the point in the Alzheimer's of my being able to ask him and trust his answer. I do know that he sees it. Even before the Alzheimer's he's always commented on what a great father my brother is.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Desert Noises - Indie Band with a 2nd Generation Osmond

Tyler Osmond

So I was listening to this band I had never heard of before called Desert Noises. I was really liking some of their music. Then I find out the bass player is Tyler Osmond. Yes, from THAT Osmond family.

Now those that knew me as a kid know I was a huge Osmond fan in the 70's. (I wrote about it here: "Rediscovering The Osmonds") Tyler is Alan Osmond's youngest son. (Alan was the oldest performing Osmond Brother.) Alan has eight sons who grew up performing with each other just like he did with his brothers.
Alan Osmond (top) with brothers & Marie

I'd seen Tyler and his brothers growing up in the 90's on television. They even put out a couple of albums as The Osmond Boys. Eventually the boys grew into teenagers and young adults and  billed themselves as The Osmonds 2nd Generation. Throughout the 90's the original Osmond Brothers performed in their theatre in Branson, MO. The 2nd Generation would join them on stage from time to time.

I believe only of few of the 2nd Generation are still performing. David Osmond auditioned for American Idol back in 2009. He made it to Hollywood but laryngitis eventually got him kicked off. This year he's touring with his aunt Marie. Both David and Nathan Osmond continue to put CD's out but their music is very different than Tyler's.
Tyler wearing glasses, David middle no jacket, Nathan top middle

Only twenty-four, Tyler is definitely of the new generation and makes his older brothers seem almost old fashioned. His music is current. When I listened to his brothers CD's it was no surprise it was an Osmond. When I listened to Desert Noises I would have never guessed an Osmond was in the band.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not dissing the Osmonds. They were a big part of my childhood and when times are tough and the stress level gets to be too much I like to put on an Osmond Brother song or two to bring me back to what I perceive as a "better" time. Also, for those who don't remember or only know the Donny & Marie days; the original Osmond Brothers were very much a rock and roll band. All the way up until their record label made Donny a teeny bopper. As for David, Nathan and all of the 2nd Generation they're very talented.

Brennan, Kyle, Patrick, Tyler
Osmond fan or not I definitely recommend checking Desert Noises out. (Videos below)

Here's more about Desert Noises taken from their website

The name Desert Noises—like many of the band’s songs on their debut full-length 27 Ways—came out of a dream that popped into front-man Kyle Henderson’s head while sleeping. “I just woke up and wrote it down on a piece of paper,” says the 24-year-old, who used it for the band he’d first formed with his brother and a friend in the Provo/Orem, Utah, area. Joined by fellow twenty-something cohorts in bassist Tyler Osmond, guitarist Patrick Boyer and drummer Brennan Allen, the foursome set out in a van three years ago and haven’t stopped since. 27 Ways is being released on L.A-based indie label SQE Music.
Recorded in the magical Sonic Ranch Studios in El Paso, Texas, on the banks of the Rio Grande with producer Nick Jodoin [Black Rebel Motorcycle Club], the album turns those experiences into songs which detail 27 ways of breaking away and becoming a touring rock ‘n’ roll band. 27 Ways incorporates influences of beat-oriented soul and R&B as well as classic psychedelic rock (Led Zeppelin is a big touchstone), often in the same song.
Desert Noises has spent the last two years building a reputation as a must-see live act by touring relentlessly and bringing their signature brand of unbridled, infectious rock to clubs and major festivals throughout the U.S, including high-visibility gigs at Hangout Fest, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits and LouFest in St. Louis.
After listening to 27 Ways and experiencing their live show, it becomes abundantly clear that Desert Noises’ level of songwriting and performance is refined well beyond their years.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Joe Cocker dies at 70 after battling cancer

Cocker at Los Angeles airport in 1972

Joe Cocker lost his battle with lung cancer today. Our local radio station 106.3 Frank FM (Nashua, NH) played a nice tribute when the news broke, playing several of Cocker's hits back-to-back.

Performing @ Zenith de Paris, May 15, 2013, in Paris, France

From BBC News:

Last year, his arena tour across Europe saw him achieve a number one album in Germany and give what was to be his final concert in Hammersmith, London, in June.
Cocker, who recorded 23 studio albums and 40 albums, lived in Colorado, in the US.
Sir Paul McCartney said he was a lovely guy who "brought so much to the world".
Cocker's friend Rick Wakeman, keyboard player for the rock band Yes, called his rendition of With a Little Help From My Friends "sensational" and said: "He had a voice that was just unique."
Wakeman told BBC Radio 2: "The great thing is with someone like Joe is what they leave behind, and that will be with us for years and years."

Friday, September 27, 2013

A true musicians philosophy

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
                                                                               - Theodore Roosevelt

Friday, September 6, 2013

Blondie ROCKS the Casino Ballroom in Hampton Beach

Debbie in a wizard hat.

So my brother scored tickets to Blondie and invited me. We got down to the beach early to have dinner and wound up at the Purple Urchin. Both of us got lobster rolls. The food was good, and sitting on the 2nd floor patio was nice.

The seats at the Ballroom were better than I had for Styx. A little closer and less awkward when standing. The opening act was X. I had never heard of them before, but they were good. Aparently in 2003 their two albums from two decades before were voted one of the 500 most influential in music.

Blondie hit the stage wearing hats. Debbie Harry donned a wizards pointy hat. She only wore it for the opening number. I have to say, at 68 years old that woman can still sing. I don't even think her pitch has changed since the 80's. Female voices usually deepen as they get older.

One thing I noticed, and I'm not sure if it is because of her age or not (I never saw them in their hayday) but when she wasn't singing Debbie would stand off to the side. She usually had her hands nicely folded in front of her. No moving too much, simply standing still. She didn't do it every single time, but more often than not. Then it hit me - it was respect. It was out of respect for her band mates who were playing. She always moved out of the spotlight letting them have it for a while. Again, I don't know what she was like on stage 30 years ago, but my feeling is that if she did something similar then than that's exactly what it was.

It was a fun night and they put on a great show. The band sounded great, lots of energy, especially the drummer, Clem Burke. He must of had four or five mini solos throughout the night.

Here's some video I took. Not great quality, just something to share with fans. Also there's a few more pictures below.

Friday, August 30, 2013

STYX ROCK @ Hampton Beach - Venue not-so-much

Photo: In The Studio with Redbeard
It's no secret I LOVE Styx. So it's pretty amazing that in over 30 years of loving this band I've only seen them live twice. The first time was in 2011 in Colorado and the second time was last night. Both times they rocked it!

Great set list (see below.) The only two things I missed from 2011 were Chuck Panozzo (He played a couple of songs in 2011. No appearence last night) and Castle Walls. They did such an amazing job with that song in 2011 I was hoping to hear it again. Other than that I have no complaints - about the band. The venue, however...

Before I get into that, I want to mention how Tommy Shaw's daughter had a raffle for a signed guitar for the bands charity Rock to the Rescue. In April of this year the band, along with REO Speedwagon, raised money for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. Last night they raised money for York Center for Wildlife. Read more about Rock to the Rescue on their website

I also want to share this five minute video that I made of some footage I shot last night.

WARNING: It's pretty bad. I used my phone and could not get close to the stage. But I put what I did get into a single video simply to share with other fans. Enjoy!

Okay now back to the venue:

Casino Ballroom in Hampton Beach, NH.

My view of stage. Shows angle of tables
 I know it's got amazing history and everyone from Zeppelin to George Carlyn have played there, but let me tell you, unless you are front and center seating sucked. It was very uncomfortable standing because chairs were so tight and awkward due to the tables. Yes I said tables. Most of the seating, with the exception of right in front of the stage, is tables and chairs so that people can eat beforehand. Nice concept, and maybe for a comedian, when you don't stand all night, that would be great. But for a band it became awkward.

View from the front.
Photo: this-is-melisa.tumblr
The tables are so close together and our section had the left side of the tables virtually with backs to the stage. We had to turn the chairs around and butt them up against the table but then the person in front of you stands and pushes their chair back into you. Not comfortable. Especially when you have to shift to an angle to be facing the stage (click the above pic to see the tables and angle.) Everyone around us had the same complaints and again, if you stay seated, as we did for the opening act, it's not to bad. (Heads do get in the way though, because you're on flat ground.)

All and all there are better venues to see a band but for Styx I'd go just about anywhere. I will say I was surprised acoustically. The sound was very good. Food was average. (We had chicken fingers and fries.)


  1. Blue Collar Man
  2. The Grand Illusion
  3. One With Everything
  4. Fooling Yourself
  5. Lady
  6. Lorelei
  7. Man in the Wilderness
  8. Miss America
  9. I'm OK
  10. Crystal Ball
  11. Light Up
  12. Pieces of Eight
  13. Too Much Time on My Hands
  14. Sing-a-long: Tiny Dancer/You Can't Always Get What You Want/Light My Fire/Black Dog/Fat Bottom Girls
  15. Come Sail Away
  16. Rockin' the Paradise
  17. Renegade

Set list help from: 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Wicked in Boston!

I had the pleasure of seeing Wicked in Boston this evening. I have had the soundtrack for this show since 2004. I know all the songs, the entire story and yes I have watched tons of videos on YouTube. Nothing compares to live on stage. It's magical.

Favorite songs of the night: Popular, Defying Gravity, No Good Deed and For Good.

Alison Luff
Tonight starred Alison Luff as Elphaba and Sarah Schenkkan as Glinda. Schenkkan is the understudy but you'd never know it. She was amazing. Both women were pitch perfect and gave outstanding performances.

According to Schenkkan's Facebook page these shows in Boston will be her last. Too bad. I know, however that she won't be short on future projects.

Kim Zimmer
John Davidson
Blasts from the past were John Davidson playing the Wizard and Kim Zimmer (was Reva on Guiding Light) as Madame Morrible. I would never have recognized Zimmer under that wig and make-up. On the other hand Davidson looked the same, simply older. I thought he did a great job and even noticed him coping the voice from the Wizard in the Wizard of Oz.

Clifton Davis
Clifton Davis, 40 year veteran of stage screen and television, starred as Dr. Dillamond and Curt Hanson was Fiyero.

One of the great things I noticed was the amount of children in the theater. I think that's such a fantastic thing, to expose a child to the theater at a young age, and Wicked helps do that.
Curt Hanson

The themes that run through this show are wonderful for young girls. Don Aucoin from the Boston Globe wrote: "For the past decade, with wit and heart and a boatload of gorgeous tunes, Wicked has celebrated the power of female friendship. While giving full weight to the complexity of the path girls have to navigate, the show has affirmed the importance of standing up to groupthink, otherwise known as peer pressure."

It's true. Seeing the tweens seated all around me, I thought how wonderful that they'll be getting the messages that are in Wicked: A strong female friendship, putting your own opinion of yourself before others opinions of you, staying true to your moral compass, finding what makes you happy.

Composer Stephen Schwartz had this to say in an interview with the Boston Globe, "I think that the sort of empowerment of Elphaba is very inspiring. And it’s more than just to girls. I get all these e-mails from young gay male teens, and from older women, women who are in bad marriages and are affected by ‘Defying Gravity.’

“She starts as an outcast girl who wants nothing more than to fit in, and the whole first act she pursues that opportunity,’’ Schwartz noted. “But when it’s finally within her grasp, in order to take that opportunity it means selling her soul. And she won’t do it.

“While she is empowered, it’s not like ‘The Bad News Bears’ and she wins the championship and lives happily ever after. It’s very bittersweet,’’ observed Schwartz. “It’s funny to say about a green witch in ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ but there’s something realistic about how her power worked out for her. The fact that it’s not an unmitigated triumph feels real to people.

“Her courage in giving up her chance to fit in in order to stay true to what she believes is inspiring,’’ he added. “And the friendship between those two [Elphaba and Glinda] is also complicated and nuanced. That relationship speaks to girls and women.’’

I couldn't have said it better myself.

It was a wonderful evening at the theater. If you haven't seen Wicked yet, make sure you do. You won't regret it.

Sarah Schenkkan
Alison Luff and company

Alison Luff and Jenn Gambatese

Alison Luff

  Photos: and