I survived Whiskey Fest! Actually had a blast, but more on that later.
In 1972 I found Syracuse. Oh, I knew exactly where it was. Sitting right smack dab in the middle of the Northeast quadrant of the Country, it’s a one day drive to thousands of concert halls and millions of people. There is no better place for a musician to live. New York City has been a second home. Boston, Toronto, Philly, and Cleveland are one-nighters, and a trip to any city in Central and Upstate New York is like a trip to the grocery store.
There are numerous towns and cities in this part of the world that consider this band of ours to be a “local” band. I love that. I love the fact that our roots run deep and long throughout this state. What brought me here has kept me here… and so much more.
Our staff in New York City used to think that a trip up here was like being on vacation. It is. The lakes and streams, hills, valleys, and forests that surround us every day of our lives shape us. I wake up smiling every day.
Pete Seeger once asked me what it was that made Syracuse such a culturally unique little town. The simple answer is, it’s the people who live here.
Friday night I served as a “judge” for the Rockin’ the Redhouse Corporate Band Competition. It was a front row seat to one of the most enjoyable concerts anyone could ever witness. Every band was packed with talent. All the participants had real jobs around town, but to me, I was witnessing these folks doing their real passion with expertise and grace. Brilliant playing, singing, enthusiasm, and desire. Yeah, they had a day gig, but their real gig was being displayed right there in front of me on the Landmark Theater stage.
Our musical community is unique. We all know each other, support each other, and love each other. If you see a musician this week, at work or in your community, do me a favor. Thank them. The riches they fill the community with are precious.
The cxtec Dinosaurs really brought their A game Friday night. All the bands were amazing, but these guys really took it up a notch. Ashley Cox was stunning. I know how hard she works to be her best. And it showed. I also know what it takes to be a band leader. Mike Featherstone’s confident hand on the tiller was evident throughout.
Now, about that Whiskey Fest. OMG!!! The event room at Sharkey’s was packed with revelers. Think about this for a second. Imagine being surrounded by some of the finest Whiskey’s and Bourbons on Earth and you’ve got 10 to 15 samples to choose from. Oh, and there’s some dude playing tunes.
Yup, I was playing for a few hundred Whiskey aficionados. I thought I was going to be in for a rough ride, or worse, being totally ignored. Nothing could have been further from the truth. SO many folks came up to talk to me and share their stories. They all sang along with me and had a spectacular evening.
My only hope is that some of them will remember the night.
Sunday was a Grandpa Todd day.