I do my best not to worry about the future. Life has handed me plenty of unexpected turns, with moments of disappointment and excitement alike. I’ve made my peace with the lack of control over it, but realize I’m expected to travel through life with some general direction. It’s the combination of accepting the impermanence of ones plans while attempting to set life goals that leads to doubt.

Hazy is about that doubt. So much about the future is never clear. That doesn’t need to be an intimidating thing, but at times when you’re lacking direction and you take a step back to try and gain perspective, it certainly can be.

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Turntable Turn

Turntable Turn was an idea that started from the play on words in the title. As a songwriter, I’ve always found it remarkable how life can alter the way we look at things so drastically. Any song a person is familiar with tends to have an association that comes with it–a person, place, youth, first dance, first kiss, first break up, and so on and so on. The first time something happened that one of my own songs ended up meaning something to me other than what I had originally intended was mind blowing, and even felt a little invasive. That some outside force could redirect my perspective on something I created was a notion that took some getting used to. The first time would not be the last time.

Turntable Turn is about just that. Anyone with a love for music knows the weight a song can carry, and how great of a turn the meaning can take along the way.

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Something Old and Something New

This is the first of two posts I am making today. Starting today, I’m changing to the direction of this blog to something more befitting of it’s abilities. I’ve used this to talk about shows, musicians, songs and things like that, but all in all I’ve used it as a promoting device. Truth is, there are better forms of social media doing that for me, so I thought I should change it up a little.

While I still intend to have the upcoming performances listed here, the primary focus will be songs. In close connection with my youtube channel, I plan to post one of my songs (via video recording) and talk a little bit about what it has to say. After years of writing and only so little recording, it feels like I’m sitting on top of a mound of songs gathering dust. And a good deal of it I wouldn’t mind sharing.

So instead of trying to make whatever upcoming show I have sound appealing to you (who may well be a reader several hundred miles away from said venue), it’s time to start putting myself on the chopping block of the world wide web.
Stay tuned for the first entry.

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The Post of Shame

And here I am, returning shamefully after an almost entirely post-less month. I had expected my post frequency to diminish once I started working the day job again, but this is absurd! So here we are. Let’s catch up on September, shall we?

Season 3 of the Songwriter Sunset ended. Our final two Songwriters were Graham Scott and Aaron Work, with the following weekend being the finale. Excited to have had another great year, with talented songwriters who are enthusiastic about being a part of the show. Can’t wait for the 2015 season.

2014 season draft 4

Thank you 2014 songwriters!

Strangers and Liars made some appearances around town, playing at The Crossroads Dinor as well as making a return appearance to The King’s Rook Club. Good times to be had.

Strangers and Liars, just Rookin' it.

Strangers and Liars, just Rookin’ it.

As the seasons change, the band has started to prepare more studio time. More preliminary steps have been taken towards album 3, with a plethora of old and news songs just itching to be in your ears.

I’ve also been plugging away myself with some solo performances. I’ll be returning this upcoming Friday (October 3rd) to the Erie Ale House, for the Doug Phillips show, which is always a good time. It’s a nice room, and who doesn’t like Doug Phillips?

With any luck, I’ll be a little more on top of things in the coming months. But goodness, in the meantime, where does the time go???

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August 25th – 31st: Work Weak

First and for most, let me say in this day and age, I am contented as a cumber to have a steady job with agreeable hours and a paycheck that gets me through the months. That being said, after a summer like this, it’s going to take a bit to get back into the swing of the 9 to 5. Thankfully, just because the daily grind is starting again doesn’t mean the music is stopping.

Hatch Hollow Music Fest was a blast, on and off the stage! Big thank you to Erich and Mary Beth Semelka for having Strangers and Liars down for the third year in a row, and of course, all the other great bands that played. And there was food! All the grilled corn you could eat. Yes please.

Regarding the upcoming week, we’re getting down to the final few Songwriter Sunsets of this year. This week will feature two veteran Erie Songwriters, Mike Rhodes (of “Breaking the Circle”) and Gabe Poland (of “East Clintwood”).

Then this Saturday (August 30th), Strangers and Liars will be returning to The Crossroads Dinor in Edinboro PA. We’ll be playing there from 9pm to Midnight.

It always takes a minute to get back to successfully juggling work and music once the off season ends, but this train will keep moving, so no worries!

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August 18th – 24th: Hatch Hollow!

What an excellent and honoring weekend of music playing this past weekend at Celebrate Erie!

This happened!

This happened!

And then this happened!

And then this happened!

Between the Friday Erie All Stars Beatle Tribute and the Strangers and Liars show on Sunday, Celebrate Erie was an absolute blast! Great to see the home town celebration turn out so well.

Onward to this upcoming week. This Thursday (August 21st), we have a three piece Songwriter Sunset in the making. Chris Hannigan will be joining us from Pittsburgh, as well as two of our local Erie area staples, Claire Stuczynski and Dom DeCecco!

Friday (August 22nd) I will be returning to The Harbor View Bar and Grill for a solo show from 7 to 9pm. Then Saturday (August 23rd), it’s time for some REAL fun…

Home of the home-grown stage.

Home of the home-grown stage.

Hatch Hollow Music Fest! This Saturday starting at noon, and going all night! Strangers and Liars will be taking the stage at 2:30pm. I however, have just about every intention to be there all day.

This is sort of a last hurrah for me as I go back to the daily money making grind next week. Let’s here it for summer!

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August 11th – 17th: Celebrate Erie

This upcoming weekend, Erie holds it’s annual shut down the main street and throw up a bunch of stages fest! Strangers and Liars will be occupying one of those stages on Sunday (August 17th, 5:30 to 6:30pm), but on top of that, there’s another show I get to be a part of this Friday (August 15th, 6:30 to 7:30pm). But before I tell you that story, I need to tell you this story.

Last year, a show I performed in during the summer went unmentioned in this blog. Primarily because before the show, I didn’t really know what to expect going in to it, and after the show, I didn’t know where to begin in describing it. So here it goes.

The powers that be, ruling over Celebrate Erie with their celebratory jurisdiction, decided that aside from their line up of local bands and headliners, they wanted something a little different. They charged a crack team of 3 local musicians (Doug Phillips, Eric Brewer and Ron Sutton) with the task of putting together a Woodstock tribute show featuring a plethora of Erie musicians of their choosing. And when it came to finding someone to perform an Arlo Guthrie, wouldn’t you guess who they asked?

A poor man's Arlo Guthrie, between Erie Allstars Doug Phillips (left) and Eric Brewer (right)

A poor man’s Arlo Guthrie, between Erie Allstars Doug Phillips (left) and Eric Brewer (right)

The basic set up for the show was that the Fantastic Three played as the house band, blowing bass, drums and guitar for each song while having different singers rolodex through. To be brief, it was a smashing success!

So here we are a year later, and the boys are at it again. A slight change in lineup, but the guys were kind enough to invite me to play once more. This year’s theme is Beatles tribute, with a twist: solo hits. The show is going to feature a series of hits The Beatles had in their individual careers after the and split up. I don’t have the intention of giving away what I get to play, so I hope you make down to the show this Friday and see for yourselves!

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August 4th – 10th: Weekend on the Water

I’m resisting the urge to talk about how fast summer is going to avoid the risk of missing more summer. It’s all about the Lake Resort this week (isn’t every week? [yes, but even more so this week])!

First, this Thursday’s (August 7th) Songwriter Sunset will feature the songwriting duo from one of my favorite bands, The Heilotropes! Katie Chriest and Sheldon Peterson take the stage in what I’m sure will be a knockout show.
Friday night (August 8th) Strangers and Liars return to make waves from 7 to 10pm.
Then Sunday (August 10th), from 5 to 7pm, it’s just like the good ol’ days with me playing solo, unbelievably for the first time at the Lake Resort this summer. And to think, 3 years ago, it’d be the same show every other weekend. Amazing to see what kinds of wheelings and dealings The Edinboro Lake Resort and I have gotten into in such a short time.

If there’s room enough to change, there’s room enough to grow!

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July 28th – August 6th: Reboot

Good to be back home after a lovely vacation. Family was seen, drinks were had, beaches were laid upon, drinks were had, food was eaten, laughs were exchanged, drinks were had, food was eaten… a few trips to the bar.

The important thing is I survived.

The important thing is I survived.

And even in the 2 days I’ve been back in town, there’s already been two excellent shows! Strangers and Liars made there return to The Gathering at Chaffee’s on the 26th, as a smashing success. Then on the 27th, our friends at WXCS held a get together for the 10 year anniversary of their radio station.

Just because we left the circus doesn't mean we don't play it tents anymore.

Just because we left the circus doesn’t mean we don’t play it tents anymore.

Both shows were a blast, and August is only looking busier!

This Thursday, getting back in to the Songwriter Sunset, Matt “Broke” Boland and Chris Beiswanger will be joining us. Then this Friday (August 1st) I will be performing solo at The Crossroads Dinor from 8 to 11pm. Time to hit the ground running before the summer ends!

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July 14th – 20th: If R & R was a Contest, I’d Sleep Through it.

The week following this one, I’m going to be on vacation (more so than I already am). I’ll have a computer, but on the off chance I don’t get around to posting about what’s going on, I’ll try to cover the next two weeks here.

Songwriter Sunset: This week, two of my absolute favorite Erie songwriters are going to be paired up. Tony Kellogg and Matt Texter will be playing our Thursday night show this week. When I talk about local area songwriters who taught me a thing or two just by doing what they do, these two are up there on that list. The following Thursday, there will be no Songwriter Sunset do to me being on vacation. Edinboro staple Tiger Maple String Band will be playing in my absence.

Speaking of TMSB, singer-songwriter of the group Lori Burke had to make a cancellation at The Hotel Bar in Edinboro this Friday (July 18th), and was kind enough to pass the gig along to me! So this Friday, I will be play from 6 to 9pm at The Hotel Bar. I myself was supposed to play their over the past winter, but came down with a nasty cold that weekend. So it’s nice to have a second chance.

The week after (once I’m done sunning myself on the exotic Lake Erie shores), Strangers and Liars will be taking part in their second appearances The Gathering at Chaffee’s!

We did it once, and we'll do it again!

We did it once, and we’ll do it again!

This year the event is implementing a second stage to eliminate down time between acts. Strangers and Liars will be performing two twenty-five minute sets on Saturday (July 26th), first one from 9:10 to 9:35, second one from 11:00 to 11:25.

And I think that’s everything regarding the next two weeks.  Hopefully if I missed something, someone will point it out. Until then, I’m asleep on the beach. Join me at your leisure.

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