Claire and I are back in Pittsburgh; our second home. I would love to write that it's because I'm on tour, in support of the ultra-fantastic WHICH WAY TO THE STARLITE, but, alas, it is mainly my wife's business that brings us back (and Topps Baseball cards - more on that later). Either way, we're both busy.
That isn't to say I haven't been (for the umpteenth time) considering a return to performance. I have.
Over the last few months a lot has happened in our hometown of Rochester, NY. I released The Starlite. I am currently preparing DISTILLATE for a fall '23 CD release and I have dug into the graphic design side of my creative life with recent CD layout designs and ad campaigns for area musicians. I hope that end of the work continues because I truly love design work.
But what's also kicked in a little bit is that I miss performing and I blame it on Rochester's own Jazz Trio CMD. Casey Filiaci on piano, Mark Terranova on bass and Dave Cohen on drums & percussion make up the trio. I recently worked with them on their debut CD release as layout designer and end-of project manager, but it was sitting in the audience during their CD release performance where it started to hit me…again.
The performance bug.
I think the other thing that has played more into my wanting to perform is the people I am currently around in Rochester. I think our move back to western New York during the height of the pandemic, was probably one of the better decisions we've made. But it's been my reconnecting with certain people along the way that has really opened some doors. This time around, I'm not just standing outside looking in. I'm in it and I'm in it in ways I never thought I would be.
Back in 1988 I met engineer Steve Forney. Steve and I would work on my solo projects for the next seven years. He brought Don't Look Back (The EP), Black Cat and Home to life. When Home was released in 1995 I performed all over the place and was gaining some ground as a performing songwriter (much to the chagrin of the then local music scene of Syracuse, NY). My being a central New York native, doing all of my recording and other music-related work in Rochester wasn't really endearing to the Syracuse folks. Quite frankly, I didn't care, but their disdain for my brand of music wasn't their cup of tea. I won't let the age difference go, either. I was a kid. Those reporting on the music scene all had the common thread of Beatles adoration. I didn't share this. I still don't.
So Rochester was my home, musically for many years and then, as one of the Beatles hinted at - life happened. I eventually left Syracuse altogether to finally move to Rochester to begin work at Xerox as a writer. I never looked back, but I also lost touch with Steve Forney and the people I had come to know during that shorty seven year run as a recording artist of note in western New York.
The fact that 27 years later Steve and I are working together again is mind-boggling. I am SO grateful that he's around and that we're able to do these projects together. In some ways I'm trying to make up for lost time, but at this stage of the game, I see no reason to stop. And it's because of Steve that I've met all the other people (some for the second time). The interesting thing is that all the people I am meeting, either for the first time or again for the first time, were all in the same places around the same times doing what we do. It's something to connect the dots with who was where when, recording what only to realize I may have been in the next room.
It feels different this time around. Maybe I'm a little older, wiser. Maybe it's just fate. I don't know, but I what I do know is that I am not going to shy away from opportunities to work. Not again.
So, as I walk around Pittsburgh, noticing just how few people are walking around Pittsburgh right now (the pandemic absolutely changed things downtown), I see opportunity to build a bridge of sorts between western New York and Pittsburgh. Who knows? I'm thinking I just might be willing to try.