ROCKIN' THROUGH MY 50's & BEYOND!
Seattle’s Favorite Beatles Band, Creme Tangerine
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, headsets on, cord attached to the turntable….
The Beatles. I’m lucky to say I was alive when the Beatles were bobbing their mopped heads back and forth. In fact, my very first crush, at the tender age of 5, was Paul McCartney. “Who is your favorite Beatle?” was the hot topic. “Is Paul dead?”. And then the devastating news that they were breaking up. “Is Yoko to blame?” Fast forward a ‘few years’ and those topics are still alive, even though John and George are not.
Their music continues to inspire and live on.
When my own teenage daughter ‘discovered ‘The Beatles, it reignited my love of their music. I still remember her confronting me with this haunting question. “MOM! Why didn’t you tell me about The Beatles?!”. I don’t know, I guess I always felt they were as important as air. You don’t really think about breathing it, you just do. The same with the Beatles. They just exist. But, I totally made up for that tragic faux paus. I am a flight attendant, with free travel privileges, so I flew her to London. And, during our Rock and Roll Walking Tour, she literally bumped into Paul McCartney when we were standing in front of his MPL Office building. True story. That made up for everything. Following that, we attended his concert at Seattle’s Safeco Field in 2013. The minute he walked onstage, we were both turned into screaming adolescent girls of the 1960’s. PAUL MCCARTNEY! Swoon. We also saw Ringo and His Allstar Band at The Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery. And yep… we got a nod from him onstage. During this time, the airline I work for started flights between Seattle and London. I was in heaven! I bought a Beatles Guide Walking Book, and on my layovers, I would transport myself back to the 1960’s. I roamed the streets of London visiting the famous Beatles landmarks. Abbey Road Studio, Paul’s House, the old Apple Records headquarters where their last Rooftop Concert was held. I even saw the Beatles musical “Let It Be”. I was living in a fantastic fantasy world. This was perfectly timed with the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles coming to America. Everywhere I looked, Beatlemania was alive and well. During this time, I also discovered Seattle’s favorite Beatles band, Creme Tangerine!
January 30, 1969 was the final public performance of The Beatles. It was on the rooftop of the headquarters of their multimedia corporation Apple, at 3 Savile Road, London. When I was there a couple of years ago, it literally gave me chills to be walking around in the same building that the Beatles breathed in and held their famous rooftop concert.
Since then, it has become a worldwide tradition to have Beatles Tribute bands reenact their final rooftop performance. In Seattle, that band is Creme Tangerine. They began this tradition in 2009, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Beatles last concert. “Creme Tangerine is a dynamic five-piece band from Seattle that performs the music of The Beatles for thousands each year. Rather than focusing on the personalities of the Beatles, Creme Tangerine focuses on performing their beloved music live for all to enjoy.”
I ‘discovered’ Creme Tangerine in 2012, at their rooftop performance in Pike Place Market. It was during my middle-aged Beatlemania, when I read they would be performing ‘The Rooftop Concert’ on the balcony of the Copacabana Cafe.
Fortunately, it was sunny, not the typical rainy January day you would expect in Seattle. I joined the large crowd that had formed beneath the balcony, and soon we were all singing along together with Creme Tangerine. Isn’t it amazing that you can’t remember what you had for lunch yesterday, but you know every single word to songs from your youth? What a blast! And, what I really enjoyed, was that they didn’t try to be The Beatles. Nobody, can be The Beatles. But, you can share their music. The energy that they created was fantastic. It’s difficult to reach your audience from on top of a rooftop, but they managed to do that. I found their website and Facebook page, grabbed my fellow Beatlemaniac friends, and we started following their concerts. In 2015, they held their rooftop concert on top of The Hard Rock Cafe, also located in the Pike Place Market in Seattle. We bought VIP tickets, which meant we got to sit on the rooftop deck during the performance, rather than stand in the street. It was fun, because we had an opportunity to meet the band members. Not only are they excellent musicians, they are nice guys.
Last month, the Rooftop Concert was held on top of the Livengood Alskog building in Kirkland. After a windy, weather delay, we were singing along together to our favorite Beatles songs once again. People that are complete strangers, coming together. To sing songs that were created over 50 years ago. That’s amazing. Thank You Creme Tangerine! I was concerned that because of the distance, we would not be able to hear them. But they had a great sound system, that transported their music across the waves of air. I do prefer the Pike Place Market locations though, where we stand closer to their performance.
And what is cool about these rooftop concerts, is that they are used to benefit local food bank charities. This year was Hopelink.
Our favorite concerts to attend, though, are at the Kirkland Performance Center. An intimate 397 seat theater, nestled in the heart of Kirkland, WA. There is not a bad seat in the house, and the acoustics are excellent. I have attended numerous plays in London and New York, and what I love about their venues is the close intimacy you have with the performers. This theater emulates that intimacy. Our favorite seats are front and center. Literally in touching distance of the band.
Our first concert experience there, Creme Tangerine performed the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band Album in its entirety. We were blown away! Hearing them this close, with inside acoustics, showed us what phenomenal musicians they were. We had a blast, and their energy exuded out into the audience. You just had to move. This was also the year that I learned of local violinist Geoffrey Castle. His addition added a whole new electric dynamic to their music. They blew the roof off the KPC! How could they possibly follow up this performance?
But they did, by performing The White Album and Abbey Road in the following years. Local artists are always included into the mix, which adds an element of surprise. Who is it going to be this year? By the end of the show, everyone is up dancing and singing along. If you are a Beatles music fan (isn’t EVERYONE?!) check out Creme Tangerine. Their next performance at the Kirkland Performance Center is March 9, 2018. A fundraising benefit for the KPC that includes a champagne bar in the lobby. And check out their website to find them during their active outdoor summer concert series and festivals in the Pacific Northwest.
As Ken Mansfield, former president of the Beatles Apples Records stated “…After decades on the road working with bands and speaking engagements I have found events shared with Creme Tangerine to be the most enjoyable., I was with the Beatles as their associate at their last concert on the Apple Records London rooftop on January 30th, 1969, but actually had more fun with Creme Tangerine as a friend on the incredible rooftop celebrations in Pike Place Market in Seattle.”
And when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines on me
Shine until tomorrow
Let it be.
New Year’s Eve 2018 at Alpental Ski Resort, With the Staxx Brothers
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, headsets on, cord attached to the turntable….
I drop the needle, listen for the familiar crackle and then my ears begin to slowly fill with the lyrics and melody of Auld Lang Syne. “Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne?”. A song derived from a 1788 Scottish poem by Robert Burns. The basic essence reflecting on the preservation of our dearest and oldest friendships. The only outstanding memory I have of my childhood New Year’s Eve is of this song. I was probably about 10 years old, standing in my pajamas and clutching a plastic horn, counting down to midnight with Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve. When the clock struck midnight, the people on tv started singing ‘Auld lang Syne.”. I was suddenly hit with a wave of emotion and my eyes flooded with tears. At that early age, I did not understand my emotional reaction, because I had yet to say a permanent goodbye to anyone I loved. But I felt what the music was trying to tell me. Appreciate and love the important people in your life.
Other than that memory, New Year’s Eve is a pretty forgettable experience. Especially after I turned 21 😉. No, but seriously, I don’t recall any WOW, that was a cool night. UNTIL, 2013, when I became a part time resident up at Alpental/Summit at Snoqualmie Ski Resort on Snoqualmie Pass, WA. My red, vinyl bean bag chair lived in my childhood bedroom, on our small wheat farm in Eastern Washington. After both of my parents passed away, we sold the farm, and I reinvested part of my old life, into part of my new life. A ski condo at Alpental! The Summit at Snoqualmie ski resort is less than an hour east of Seattle, on I90. Not only is it a ski resort, it is a year-round community. Hiking in the summer is just as fun as skiing in the winter. The Alpental Ski Lodge is the location for the various holiday celebrations. Cinco de Mayo, Oktoberfest and New Year’s Eve. Live music, food, beer and FUN! Bringing in the New Year at Alpental, has quickly become one of my favorite yearly traditions. What a fantastic way to start a new year!
December 31st, 2017, Alpental Ski Lodge
I always look forward to seeing who the band will be at the New Year’s Eve Party. This year it was a double bonus. The Staxx Brothers were the band, AND it is the 50th Anniversary of Alpental! The Staxx Brothers are a Seattle band, whose music I would describe as Rock and Roll with Soul. I heard them play for the first time at a previous Alpental NYE Party. I loved their high energy, wild rhythm. They are also Band in Seattle alumni. Band in Seattle is a live audience videotaping, showcasing up and coming local talent. If you scroll back to my June archives, you will see my blog on how I attended a Band in Seattle taping for my birthday this last year. A total blast! Also, December 2016, the Staxx Brothers were in the Band in Seattle Christmas Show with my music family, Jessica Lynne and the Cousins. Along with Sundae and Mr. Goessel, plus other great local musicians. I love that special connection. You can check out all their episodes on the Band in Seattle YouTube Channel. As soon as the NYE tickets became available, I bought one. I also purchased a cool, limited edition Alpental 50th Anniversary scarf. And lo and behold, I also won the VIP NYE tickets and dinner for two at Webb’s restaurant, through the Washington State Ski and Snowboard Museum fundraising auction. I was set!
New Year’s Eve arrived, we packed up the car and drove up to Snoqualmie Pass for the night. Our condo is walking distance to Alpental, so we enjoyed some fun pre-function before heading out for the NYE Party.
By the time we arrived, the band was already in full swing. The Staxx Brothers don’t just play their music, they PERFORM it. The first time I was jamming with the band, Davin Stedman was wearing a black choir robe. He was leading us in some soul charging rock church in the ski lodge. It was a full on ROCKIN’ revival! The unique thing about listening to music at Alpental, is that there is not a separation between you and the band. You can dance right next to them. That creates a very personal experience, where you can become one with the band and their music.
The next time I came out to dance, Davin was rocking a Christmas sweater. And the last time? Well, I guess Alpental doesn’t have a ‘no shirt, no shoes’ policy. He was baring his ‘soul’. The place was packed, with festive, gyrating bodies, grooving’ to the rhythm. The Staxx Brothers create such a massive amount of energy, it’s impossible to stand still. You just gotta dance. The entire Alpental resort was open, so there was plenty of room to spread out, dance, talk, drink and have fun!
And I want to give a special shout out and thank you to Andy Cantor, marketing manager of Summit at Snoqualmie. Along with Sales Manager Noelle Blazevich. I always appreciate the challenging work that goes into creating these events. Uhm yeah… I’m one that is always asking for MORE LIVE MUSIC!
The wonderful thing about the Alpental Holiday Parties, is that they are open to everyone. It’s a perfect opportunity for picturesque photos, along with just having ski bum fun.
As midnight approached, everyone headed outside for the downhill ski torchlight parade. Huddled around the fire-pits or standing in the lodge balconies.
It’s always so pretty watching the two teams, slowly ski down the slopes, torches held high. Followed by massive fireworks exploding into the crystal-clear sky. Lighting up Alpental Valley. A perfect way to usher in a new year.
But don’t wait until next New Year’s Eve to experience Summit at Snoqualmie, come up now and enjoy all the new businesses and opportunities. I90 East Take Exit 52 to West Summit. I90 West take exit 53 to West Summit. And with the upcoming Winter Olympics, make sure and check out the Washington State Ski and Snowboard Museum. It is a fabulous, interactive collection of history, including previous Olympic and Paralympic medals and paraphernalia from 39 athletes. Alpental’s own Debbie Armstrong competed in the 1984 Winter Olympics and walked away with a Gold. And after visiting the WSSM, go next door and taste Dru Bru’s limited Alpental 50th Anniversary brew, Dunkelweiss.
Follow up with dinner at either the Commonwealth Restaurant, Webb’s Mountain Grill, or some delicious take away from the Aardvark Express.
There is always something to do, taste or see up here. And, did I mention I would love to have more live music? That would be awesome. One can never have too much live music!
‘The hills are alive, with the sound of music…’
Scott Harder Instagram Photo
SUSAN IN SEATTTLE
The Staxx Brothers www.staxxbrothers.com
Summit at Snoqualmie www.summitatsnoqualmie.com
The Commonwealth www.thepasslife.com
Dru Bru www.drubru.com
Washington State Ski and Snowboard Museum www.wsssm.org
Webb’s Mountain Grill www.summitatsnoqualmie.com
Aardvark Express www.aardvarkxpress.com
Band In Seattle www.bandinseattle.com
Rooftop of Nashville Underground, 105 Broadway
Nashville at Christmastime
As I sit in my red, vinyl beanbag chair, headsets on, cord attached to the turntable….
The holidays bring back a rush of nostalgic memories. My Christmas childhood memories are from our small wheat farm in Eastern Washington. The smell of almond extract, brings back memories of my Mom baking cookies in the kitchen. The scent of fresh evergreen, creates an instant vision of our scraggly tree, covered in silver tinsel. And the music of A Charlie Brown Christmas, is still my favorite.
After being a flight attendant for over 30 years, I have a few cities that I view as ‘home’. Places in the world, that I always feel welcomed during one of my quick visits. Nashville, Tennessee has quickly become one of those destinations. If you scroll back through my archives to September 2017, you will read my blog on how this warm and friendly city has taken over my heart. I create a new flight schedule every month, and one of my goals is to have a layover there every few weeks. I call it soul regeneration. This past December, I was fortunate to have a 30-hour layover there, 4 days before Christmas. I was ecstatic. I knew in my heart, it was going to be a magical experience. And I was right!
December 2017 Nashville, TN
Flying so many Nashville trips these past few months, has gained me a reputation for being a fun tour guide. On this trip, I had two Nashville Newbies; Kathy and Fredrica. When we rolled our suitcases onto the airplane in Seattle, we had no idea the people we would meet and the experiences we would share. It didn’t take long for the musical magic to begin.
During the boarding process, I greeted a lovely couple. Obviously, musicians, as he was carrying a guitar that we stowed in the First-Class closet. As the flight progressed I learned I was correct in my assumption. It was Gospel Rock musician Randy Stonehill and his wife, Leslie. I always enjoy my conversations with musicians and to hear their stories. One of Randy’s stories, is that his song with Amy Grant, “I Could Never Say Goodbye”, was nominated for a Grammy. I was thrilled to hear that, as we had tickets to the Amy Grant and Vince Gill Christmas Show at The Ryman Auditorium the next night. Before the end of the flight, he gifted each of us with a CD. I love the sound of his music, and will be keeping an eye out on his tours in 2018.
After enjoying a full night of sleep (a flight attendant’s dream) we were ready to experience Nashville. Off to the music races we went. The hardest part of Nashville, is trying to enjoy all the music. It’s EVERYWHERE! Each bar is filled with talented musicians.
The weather was pleasant, so we enjoyed roaming in and out of every establishment on Broadway. Being so close to Christmas, everyone was in a gifting mood. Thank you for our new CD John Stone!
Our last bar to visit, before our concert at the Ryman, was the newly opened Nashville Underground. I had been walking by it all summer during its construction, so it was fun to walk in and see it finished.
The minute we walked in, we were greeted with warm and genuine Southern Hospitality. Nashville Underground is the creation of American singer-songwriters Joey and Gavin DeGraw. We were lucky to be there before the official grand opening, so it was not crowded. And we were also lucky enough to meet Joey and his dad Wayne, and spend our entire visit with them! Nashville Underground is a 40, 000 square feet live music venue, that includes a restaurant and bars. 4 stories, boasting the highest, largest and only double deck rooftop on Broadway. When we were there, only the bottom two floors were open to the public. Joey graciously offered to give us a private tour of the entire club. WOW! Now that is some serious Southern Hospitality.
What a beautiful and first-class establishment. The attention to detail was astounding. Every floor offered a unique experience. The bottom floor had a top class 5-piece band performing to a comfortable bar and table area.
The second floor was a quieter restaurant seating, with one of the most phenomenal women’s restrooms. Seriously, women lay on the floor and take a picture of themselves, because it is so pretty! Oh, and numerous bathroom stalls… YAY!! Someone finally understands our needs. The third floor was lit with a video dancefloor, surrounded by a gleaming bar. Immaculate detail everywhere. And then we were up on the incredible top deck. One side has a real lawn with Adirondack chairs to relax on. The other side offered the most stunning view of Broadway and the Cumberland River. Breathtaking.
Joining us were two young women, that he referred to as his adopted little sisters. To have Joey as our tour guide, telling us his vision and journey surrounding its development … I mean, that’s a sign of smart, dedicated and sincere business owner.
At the end of our visit, we were back relaxing in front of the fireplace, talking and laughing with Wayne. I loved that. Here they are, a family of two well known, successful musicians, and they are just hanging out with us. I truly felt welcomed and comfortable. And the staff was excellent. Unfortunately, we never got to experience the food, because we were so busy talking and getting a tour. So, next visit I will be back for dinner. The menu looked mouthwatering. Underground Nashville is going to become THE place to visit, while in Music City.
The icing on our Holiday Cake, was attending The Amy Grant and Vince Gill Christmas Show at The Ryman Auditorium. I had never been inside before. To be sitting in a such a sacred venue, where so many artists had performed was true glory. And what a beautiful performance it was. Genuine, pure and filled with so much love. We found our eyes watering off and on throughout the performance. The talent, the beauty, the feel of family. The real meaning of Christmas, which is Love. And we can even say we sang at The Ryman; along with 2,300 other people to “White Christmas’. It’s hard to describe the beauty and power of the music.
Too soon, it was over, and we were walking back to the hotel. It was good that I had Kathy with me, because she steered me in the right direction, when my body started turning back down to Nashville Underground. It was time to get our Stewardess Beauty Sleep.
In what seemed like a blink of an eye, our airplane landed back in the rainy clouds of Seattle. We all kept looking at each other, “Can you believe what we experienced? How lucky are we.”
My Motto for 2017 was “Expect the Best 2017”. And it fulfilled its destiny. What a wonderful year of music and experiences. It’s a good thing I take a lot of pictures, because it’s hard to absorb it all sometimes.
Thank You for sharing this musical journey with me. I truly hope it is inspiring you to seek The Passion that is in your soul. I’m rested and ready to see where The Music takes me in 2018.
SUSAN IN SEATTLE
Randy Stonehill www.randystonehill.com
Nashville Underground www.nashunderground.com
Bill Bungard Photography
7th ANNUAL SEATTLE WAVE RADIO JAMMIN’ CHALLENGE, HARD ROCK CAFE SEATTLE
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, headsets on, cord attached to the turntable……
My beanbag chair was in my teenage bedroom. A common shelter where music is discovered. Private journals are written. Secrets and ideas are shared with trusted friends. Guitars are strummed. It’s a safe sanctuary, where all dreams seem possible. The birthplace of future garage bands.
Growing up, I did not know any garage bands. It wasn’t until I was in college that I became aware of the local music scene. I attended Washington State University in the 1980’s, and one of my favorite local bands was Crosstown Rivals. I don’t know what happened to them, but I still have their pin! I love collecting pins. Bands…as a pin collector and a ‘Merch Girl’, add pins to your merchandise table. They are an inexpensive way for your fans to support you. I also have my very first Hard Rock Cafe pin from the 1980’s.
I love the Hard Rock Cafe, and try to visit one every time I’m in a new city. I also appreciate how they are a champion of local bands. And philanthropy. My favorite Hard Rock is in Seattle, located at the entrance to the famous Pike Place Market. Opened in 2010, it features memorabilia from legendary Seattle bands like Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Heart and Jimi Hendrix. The Seattle Hard Rock won my lifetime loyalty in their support of non-profits that are important to me. Whenever I have contacted them for a donation for any non-profit event, they always responded with a yes.
Love All, Serve All is the Hard-Rock motto, and they ROCK their walk.
November 18th, 2017 …7th Annual Seattle Wave Radio Jammin’ Challenge
Another important advocate of the local music scene, is Seattle Wave Radio. Created and owned by Linda and Mark Gordon, Seattle Wave Radio supports, promotes and connects emerging artists from Seattle or the Pacific Northwest. They are also in partnership with Raymond Hayden, Hard Rock Cafe Seattle, Music Aid Northwest, Utopia Media Entertainment, Songwriters in Seattle, London Tone Music and London Bridge Studio. An annual showcase event that I look forward to attending each fall, is the Jammin’Challenge, held at the Hard Rock Cafe Seattle. Over 300 bands entered the competition this year, in a 5-month period. In the end, it was narrowed down to 4 bands competing for the 1st place prize of performing at the Music Aid Northwest Gala at the Triple Door in March, plus $1,000 in cash!
I attended this year’s event alone, but I didn’t stay that way. Once I walked upstairs to the Cavern Club room, it was like attending a party. I recognized many friends from the local music community. A special shout out to Hard Rock Event Organizer and bartender extraordinaire, Jonathan Rodda! The minute he saw me he said SUSAN! And gave me a hug. He does such a fantastic job planning events and taking care of his guests. It always makes me happy to see him working whenever I stop in.
A special addition to this year’s VIP ticket holders, was a private performance from Immediate Regret. One of the bands from this past summer’s Ted Brown Music Live it Outloud rock-music program. Ted Brown Music offers this 8-week rock school, as an outreach program to teach young musicians how to write, play and perform rock music. All part of the impressive Seattle-Tacoma local music community, that supports new and upcoming artists.
Bill Bungard Photography
Jet Force Gemini was the first band to perform on the Hard Rock Cavern Club stage. A high energy, punk- rock group from Portland, OR. They poured every bit of themselves into their performance. If there is ever a power outage, just plug into their wattage and your world will keep rockin’! The floor was filled with their very devoted fans, singing along to every song from their debut album ‘Pistola Melodica’.
Bill Bungard Photography
Country singer/songwriter Afton Prater, was second in the performance lineup. Hailing from Bremerton, WA, 19-year-old Afton has already racked up an impressive catalogue of performances. Including “Best EP Alternative Rock/Country” for her ‘I Want a Truck’ EP. For a younger artist, I was impressed with how comfortable and professional she was on stage. A dynamic blend of country and pop, that even included Country Line Dancers from her music video song, ‘I Want a Truck’. Fantastic energy, that is already propelling her into a successful musical career.
Seattle’s Pop-Rock band, Carina’s Nebula, was the third band. After viewing their introduction video, I could tell they were going to be very fun and creative band. The band killed it with their performance, and ended with a charismatic Gospel Choir, unifying the room. But unfortunately, Carina woke up with a 102-degree fever, and lost her voice from a cold. If she had not been coughing and apologizing, I would have just thought she had a unique, raspy voice. Kudos to Carina for powering through and giving her best effort. You can check out their music on her premier CD “July 28”.
Bill Bungard Photography
The final band to perform was Seattle’s new Alternative Rock band, Enloe. I had seen Taylor Enloe perform as a solo guitarist, but I had never seen him with his new band. If you scroll back to my August 18th blog, you will be able to read on Taylor’s incredible music journey. From their very first song, it was obvious to me, that they would be the winners. This was a mature and tight band. With years of individual experience. Taylor has an extensive musical history, including being in the Seattle metal act, Sword of Judgement. I experienced their performance standing right next to the stage, and was completely blown away with the skill and finesse of his guitar. Especially since I know he is self-taught. This is a fruition of years of dedication and passion to his art. At one point in time, he came off stage and strolled to the back of the room, providing a personal performance for the judges. A true Rockstar that owned his talent and had every intention in walking away with the 1st Place Prize. Which they did. Bravo, Enloe! I am looking forward to watching your career climb from here. Check out Enloe by searching ‘Farewell To Blackened Days’ on YouTube, Spotify, iTunes and Pandora.
Bill Bungard Photography
CONGRATULATIONS to all the bands! Beating out over 300 bands to be in the Final Four is truly impressive. I know that it was a difficult decision for the judges. And a special thank you to the judges, for dedicating their evening to supporting local artists. Bob and Shelley Tomburg representing Music Aid Northwest; Ramona Grotte and Ed Beeson of Gigs 4 U; Andrew D.B. Joslyn Independent Music Professional; Paul Sawtelle European Grammy Winner; Jared Squires 1st Place Winner of the 2016 Jammin’ Challenge with his band Pacific Drive, and of Tobias The Owl; Cirke Cherockee from Denmark and Danish XFactor Finalist.
And returning as celebrity emcee, was local Macklemore legend, Michael Wansley. ‘Wanz’.
Thank you, Seattle Wave Radio, Raymond Hayden, Jessica Lynne, Susan Renville, Ted Brown Music, Hard Rock Seattle and everyone who is an advocate for local music. What you do, makes a significant impact on the lives of others. I’m closing this blog, with a personal quote from Jonathan Olson, who performed as the lead guitarist for Carina’s Nebula.
“It was a pleasure to play. When Seattle Wave Radio puts on the Jammin’ Challenge, it is putting on more than a rock show. Seattle Wave is giving young people a huge opportunity in the music industry, and that is literally a dream come true to many of us. I used to walk past the Hard Rock Cafe and the Jimi Hendrix statue and gravesite, as a homeless child in Seattle. It meant the world to me to play at The Jammin’ Challenge.”
Barbara Potter Photography
Jessica Lynne and Raymond Hayden’s Chapel of Love
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, headsets on, cord attached to the turntable….
My first wedding memory was from when I was around 5 years old. I was a flower girl for my Great Aunt’s daughter. The only music connection to that wedding, was that I was wearing a satin dress, so I had to lay across a piano bench, so it wouldn’t get wrinkled. The next wedding I was in, was my oldest brother’s. I was a candle lighter, so I imagine there was music involved. But I only remember people thinking I was crying, because I was sniffing. Nope, I just had a horrible cold. Then I was in my sister’s wedding. It was a small house wedding. I think some serious religious songs were involved. No alcohol at any of these family weddings. Just the traditional church weddings, with coffee and punch. Although, I’m sure there were some hidden flasks. And then there was my own wedding. Hmmm, yeah, there were some issues in the music department. However, fast forward to our 30-year anniversary in September. We TOTALLY rocked that one…Rolling Stones in Amsterdam! I would refer to that as ‘” Well Earned Wisdom.”
She Says YES To The Dress! July 18, 2016
I have never been a witness to a proposal. So, when I received a text from Ray, saying he was going to surprise Jessica with a wedding proposal at her show, I said YES! I will be there. It was fun to watch Jessica’s eyes, as all her friends and family started arriving for her show. Ray was also playing the piano. He had it all planned out with the perfect song to lead up to her proposal. When he asked her to join him in the performing area, I remember her saying “Do you need a glass of water, honey?”. LOL. And then, he got down on his knee, pulled out her ring and proposed. It was beautiful and romantic. Musicians and artists know how to create the perfect scenarios. If the proposal was this fun, imagine the wedding!
I DO October 14, 2017
LET’S CELEBRATE October 22,2017
I’ve been a flight attendant for over 30 years, and I see a lot similarity between our lifestyles and musician’s lifestyles. Odd hours, always traveling somewhere to do our job and it takes a lot of planning in advance, to create an event where all your friends can make it. We don’t have Monday -Friday, 9-5 lives. Want to know what day musician’s usually plan a get together? Sunday. That is usually the only day they do not have an event…. although, that is not a guarantee. And, because they travel around so much, they have created many friends. So, trying to create a guest list for a special event can be rather challenging.
Jessica and Ray decided to have a small intimate wedding one weekend, and a larger reception the following weekend. The theme for both events was 1920’s Gatsby!
Their wedding was held at the Freestone Inn, Mazama WA. I did not attend the wedding, but the photos looked gorgeous! A beautiful collaboration of friends and family, to create a very special event, for a very special couple. Glowing and happy. I think I was glued to my FB that weekend, anxiously looking for photos!
The following weekend, a SUNDAY, their wedding reception was held at The Cultura Event Center in Tacoma, WA. What a wonderful time! I had never been to that venue before. It looked like a basic building from the outside, but once you walked in... WOW! A perfect setting for a 1920’s Style reception. Simply and beautifully decorated intimate tables, plus a couch area. A cash bar, accompanied with a mouthwatering buffet. Bryan Groves is well known for his talent and skills as a chef. He recently opened his new business, “Bryan’s BBQ Catering.”. Check him out for any upcoming events
It was fun to see everyone arrive and their attire. Soon, it was time for the music to start. Powercell! Lynn Sorenson, Manuel Morais and Jeff Mills. A totally killer band, with a rockin’ history, present and future. Lynn also performs individually in Heaven and Earth, plus joins Manuel in Spike and The Impaler’s, The Magic Bus and other bands. Jeff also performs in the popular 80’s cover band Night Wave and other side projects. Google them up. Whatever they perform in will rock your socks off!
Bill Bungard Photography
Throughout the evening, various vocalists and musicians joined them onstage. I loved it! To be able to enjoy this phenomenal collection of artists in such an intimate setting, was SO much fun!
We had Susan Kendall Morais delivering some serious rock vocals.
Bill Bungard Photography
Denmark's own Cirke Cherokee adding a little R&B “Respect”.
Bill Bungard Photography
Sherrie Vox Johnson brought Janis Joplin to the stage.
And Paul Sawtelle added his sexy saxophone.
Add a few vocals from Jessica and Ray, and it was pure musical magic!
Plus, added throughout the evening were conversations with other local musicians, attending as guests. A real treat for all of us music supporters. Jessica and Ray were glowing with well-deserved happiness.
This was super difficult for me to write, because Jessica and Ray have so many people in their lives that are special to them. How do I include everyone? This is supposed to be a short blog! But, what a great problem for them to have. A true testament to the music community they have created. Everyone that I have met, are wonderful human beings. That’s what makes Seattle-Tacoma ROCK!
CONGRATULATIONS Jessica and Ray! And may your future be filled with notes of happiness and joy.
SUSAN IN SEATTLE
POWERCELL @PowercellOfficial Facebook
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Barbara Potter Photography www.barbarapotter.zenfolio.com
Bill Bungard Photography www.billbungard.com
The Rolling Stones, Amsterdam Netherlands
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, headset on, cord attached to the turntable….
The Rolling Stones. They are one of those bands that have always existed in my life. I don’t have a vivid memory of them, like I do of the Beatles. But, I do remember their music and seeing them on television. Who can’t remember Mick Jagger gyrating around onstage? Maybe I have a cassette tape of them from college…let me run downstairs and look right now.
Aha! A fabulous vinyl; Tattoo You from 1981.” Start Me Up”, of course! I know had more, but most of my vinyl collection was lost during my transient college years. I still have quite a few, though. My music selection was as diverse then as it is now. I have everything from Barry Manilow to KISS. Some very precious childhood memories. Especially now that our legendary artists are starting to pass onto another musical plain in life. Unfortunately, I did not attend very many concerts in my teens and twenties. I missed out on a lot. The Rolling Stones is one of the bands I never saw. When they announced their Europe 2017 Unfiltered Tour, I started searching for a city to see them. Amsterdam came up. I’m a flight attendant, who regularly flies to Amsterdam out of Seattle, so perfect! Of course, the tickets sold out quickly. But, I was persistent and kept checking Ticketmaster to see if any showed up. After 4 days of checking, I had success. One lone ticket showed up, so I bought it! I kept checking back for a second ticket and after half an hour, another showed up. RIGHT NEXT TO THE ONE I BOUGHT! I couldn’t believe it. My husband walked in the door later that evening and I said, “I bought two tickets to The Rolling Stones in Amsterdam! Happy 30th Anniversary!” And, a new adventure was about to begin.
A fabulous benefit of being a flight attendant, is the free travel privileges. We decided to go a couple of days before the concert, so we could explore Amsterdam. September 27 arrived, we checked in for our flight, and totally lucked out in being assigned Business Class seats! Excellent food, champagne and lie flat seats. A fantasy lifestyle. My crew was fantastic, as they are people that I fly with a lot. After the meal service, we chatted in the galley. It’s always interesting to find out who the other passengers are on the flight. This day, we had Randy Altig from Maximum Living, and his family onboard. It was interesting to hear about this life adventures, and his new book ‘Tuscany Next Left.’ I loved looking at his photos and listening to his stories. It made the 10-hour flight go by quickly. Soon, it was time to land, and we were off on our Amsterdam adventure.
We had two free days, before the concert. We spent them wandering around the Museum Quarter, and visited the Van Gogh Museum and The Heineken Experience. Every bar we entered was playing The Stones music, so obviously, there were a lot of people in town for the concert. It added more excitement to our trip.
The day of the concert arrived, and we headed down to the Central Train Station. The Amsterdam Arena is a 15-minute train ride from central Amsterdam. That is something I really appreciate about Europe; their well-organized transportation system. The Amsterdam Arena is the largest stadium in the country and home of the association football club AFC Ajax. It has a capacity of 54,033 people during football matches, and 35, 000 for concerts. We were very impressed with the layout of the outer area, which provided restaurants and bars before you entered the stadium. The first item on our concert agenda was to purchase t-shirts. It was a packed line that took nearly 30 minutes to get in front. We had to do lots of deep breathing to handle being squished on all sides by people, but we finally scored our t-shirts!
We had reserved seats, so did not rush into the arena. However, when it was time, the security process was thorough and well organized.
It was exhilarating when The Rolling Stones walked onstage! How do you process seeing lifetime legends for the first time? And, they were still amazing. I loved their screen backdrop on the stage. There were 4 separate panels, and the cameras would show all four of them during the performance. Even though we had good seats, it was still nice to see them so close.
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood. Ranging in age from 70 to 76, and still ROCKIN’ IT OUT! Mick is all over the stage, and Charlie is the solo drummer. I was so impressed by that. Usually in older bands, there is an additional drummer, but not with The Stones. Ronnie had just had a tumor removed from his lung. And Keith Richards. All I can hear in my mind now, is his very distinct, gravely laugh. But here they were, defying all odds of being together, after all of these years. Additional musicians were Darryl Jones (bass guitar, backing vocals), Sasha Allen (backing vocals), Karl Denson (saxophone), Tim Ries (saxophone, keyboards), Chuck Leavell (keyboards, backing vocals, percussion), Matt Clifford (keyboards, percussion, French Horn) and Bernard Fowler (backing vocals, percussion).
Their setlist was incredible. 20 songs, and I think we stood up for most of them. An interesting observation in comparing European crowds with American crowds; a lack of cellphones lighting up the arena. There were a few lit up, but for the most part, people were just ‘being in the moment’. I took a few photos, but I also wanted to absorb as much as possible. High energy, fantastic vocals and guitars. They switched off with solo performances, so either Mick or one of the others could go offstage to rest. But then, it was back to cranking it up! They obviously were having a wonderful time and still thoroughly enjoyed performing. On some of the songs, videos were shown from their performances from the 60’s. They are truly a rock and roll phenomenon. Too soon, the show was over, and we were left standing in shock. We just saw THE ROLLING STONES!
The train station looked completely backed up with people, so we hung out in a bar for a while. As chance would have it, we ended up talking to a couple of young, Scottish musicians; Jay Carrington and Ryan Lawrie. Ryan was a 6th place finalist in the UK XFactor 2016. Young men in their early 20’s, who are inspired by The Rolling Stones. That’s one of those amazing things about music. It doesn’t matter the age differences or cultural differences. We’re all the same in our connection with it.
Keep pursuing your musical passions lads, we need you to carry it onto the future.
SUSAN IN SEATTLE
Photo Credit Jason Tang
Sweet Dreams, The Music of Patsy Cline.
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, headsets on, cord attached to the turntable….
On our small farm in Eastern Washington, there was not a lot of exposure to the outside world of music. Our kitchen radio was tuned to a tinny sounding AM station. And then we had our Magnavox black and white television. My Dad liked to watch Hee Haw, Bonanza and Gunsmoke on tv. I remember that during the opening credits of Bonanza, I would sit on my wooden rocking horse wearing a red cowboy hat. I was riding horses with Ben Cartwright and his sons. Giddy up! I also admired the ladies wearing skirts with white fringe that matched their white cowboy boots. I wanted one of those pretty outfits …. I still do.
Nashville, TN 2017
For the past 3 years, my musician friend, ‘Nashville Recording Artist Jessica Lynne ‘has been performing at The Sweet Dreams Music of Patsy Cline Show. Previous years, I was out of town. But this year I was home and looked forward to seeing it. However, I was not familiar with Patsy’s life story.
Quite perfectly, I was on a Nashville layover before the show, and could experience the new Patsy Cline Museum. It’s above the Johnny Cash Museum. Her life was cut short at age 30. But Patsy still managed to be recognized as one of the most influential, successful and acclaimed vocalists of the 20th Century. Her music crossed over from country to contemporary. She began hitting the charts in 1957 with songs like “Walkin ’After Midnight”, “I Fall to Pieces” and “Sweet Dreams”. Her song “Crazy”, written by Willie Nelson, holds the record for being the most played song on jukeboxes. Her life ended March 5, 1963, in a tragic private plane crash.
Although her life ended, her music did not. Millions of records have sold since her death. In 1973, she became the first female solo artist inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In 2002, she was voted Number One on CMT’s The Greatest Women of Country Music and ranked 46th in the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time “issue of Rolling Stone magazine.
The museum was easy to navigate, with interactive display windows filled with handwritten letters, record albums, clothing and even furniture from her dream home. A dream home she was only able to live in for a few months. She grew up in poverty, but her music lifted her up and away from that life. A life that ended just as it was beginning. Her voice and impact lives on, though.
Sweet Dreams Music of Patsy Cline September 8-9, 2017
The Triple Door Theater, Seattle WA
One of the great benefits of ROCKIN’ Through My Fifties, is that I have become friends with musicians. When I know the performer onstage, it adds a personal connection to the music. In addition to Jessica Lynne, I also knew two other artists at the Patsy Cline Tribute Show. Kate Voss and Jason Goessl. They perform together as Sundae and Mr. Goessl. 2017 was the 9th year of the tribute show. It takes place two nights, in honor of Patsy’s September 8th birthday. This was my first visit to The Triple Door. It originally opened in 1925 as The Embassy Theater. It reopened in 2003 as a renovated dinner and music venue, The Triple Door. My evening began by enjoying a Happy Hour in the Musicquarium Lounge, with fellow flight attendant friend, Sherry. She had recently been in Nashville, too, so we both had our new cowboy boots on for the show!
Soon, I saw friends Jessica Lynne and Susan Renville enter the venue. Susan owns her own event planning company, Renville Entertainment. They came over to our table, I made introductions and gave Jessica a special gift I had bought for her in Nashville. A little pin from the Patsy Cline Museum. I also bought one for Kate. They both wore them on their dresses during the performance, which made me smile. Jessica asked us if we wanted to see the Green Room and the stage! Susan and I said YES, and dashed off, with Sherry holding our table. It’s always fun to see the backstage action. And to get a close-up view of their gorgeous dresses. We even sneaked onstage. Wow! What a view.
Not long after, Kate Voss and Jason Goessl entered the venue. Busy day for them, since they had been at an earlier performance. Musicians are some of the hardest working people I know. Kate came out later, and we admired what she was wearing. Absolutely the cutest dress and pair of shoes.
Showtime! We entered the theater, and sat down at our table. What a lovely and intimate venue. Celebrating what would have been Patsy’s 85 th birthday, were the following Northwest singer songwriters: V. Contreras, Star Anna, Mackenzie Mercer, Jennifer Hopper, Jessica Lynne and Kate Voss. They performed alongside the following musicians: Rebecca Young, William Stover, Aaron O’Neil, Jason Goessl, Country Dave Harmonson. The MC was KEXP DJ Troy Nelson.
The minute they stepped onstage, we were swept away into the nostalgic past. It was hard not to sing along. I could see people swaying side to side, like a musical posse, out for sweet evening horse ride. I loved that they interchanged vocalists for each song. And, then there were the backup singers; The Recliners. Get it? Re-Cliners. That’s what made the evening so enjoyable, too. A lot of humor, intermixed with their beautiful voices. Each woman, brought her own unique voice to the stage. They all come from different pasts, different lifestyles, different music genres. But each had their own personal connection and interpretation of Patsy’s music. That is what I love about music. Boundaries are erased, and we all are welcome. Mixed in with the songs, were stories and humor. Jennifer Hopper playing the ‘Tra-Tra-Tra Triangle, with the Re-Cliners.
Kate Voss with her Melodica, which is basically a harmonica/keyboard combination. This was also the first time that I heard Star Anna perform, and was blown away by her intensity and strength.
I loved all the different costumes, too. V. Contreras wore an authentic, white vintage 60’s dress. And with her long, dark hair teased up, it was like watching Loretta Lynn sing onstage. And Mackenzie Mercer wore the traditional cowgirl fringe beautifully as she performed.
And of course, my dear friend Jessica Lynne. I always love to hear her voice away from her band and her original songs. My ear is accustomed to hearing her sing from her albums. When I heard her sing Patsy Cline’s songs, I listened differently. Especially since she was not playing the guitar. It was just her voice, filling up The Triple Door Theater. And, she looked so beautiful onstage. One of those “I’m proud to be her friend moments.” I got a little choked up, when she said a special Thank You to Susan Renville and I from the stage. That meant a lot to me.
The band was fantastic. The sound was fantastic. And the ladies blew off the roof of The Triple Door with their voices. I’m so glad I have all their names, so I will recognize them for future performances in the Seattle area. And, I will return next year, for the 10th Annual Sweet Dreams Music of Patsy Cline Show!
After the show, the ladies came to the back and talked to the fans. I love that individualized touch, and of course, to get photos! Plus, get a close look at their dresses. So much fun!
And now it’s time for Sherry and me to get busy looking for our Cowgirl Fringe to next year’s show. Because, you KNOW we’re going to wear it!
SUSAN IN SEATTLE
Experiencing Music City, Nashville TN
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, headsets on, cord attached to the turntable….
I drop the needle, wait. And wait and wait. Because after writing these blogs, I realized that my parents did not own a record player when I was a little girl. There was not a needle to drop. The only way I initially heard music on our small wheat farm in Eastern Washington, was from a radio. My Mom would play contemporary music on the house radio. But, my wheat farmer Dad? He always played country music in the pickup truck. We owned horses and my Dad rode in our local Sheriff’s Posse. I remember seeing him ride his horse at the Palouse Empire Fair rodeo parade. I also remember watching the tv show Hee Haw. Men in overalls singing, and of course, Minnie Pearl wearing her hat with a price tag hanging. That was my exposure to country music. Hee Haw, and occasionally Johnny Cash on the radio.
Country Music started coming back into my life, approximately 4 years ago. Both of my parents had passed away, the family wheat farm was sold and I was grieving. As I mentioned in one of my earliest blogs, meeting local country artist Jessica Lynne, is the avenue that music used, to bring me back ‘home.’ And it was initially through her song “Calling me Home”. Quite appropriate. Because, that’s exactly what she did.
In the spring of 2016, Jessica Lynne (by now we were friends and I was on her music support team), was recording an EP in Nashville, TN; Music City Even though I was a flight attendant, that was a city I had never been to before. After listening to her stories, and stories from others, it became this mysterious destination. A city filled with magical music. It was exciting when she released her EP “Catch Me If You Can”, and to market it as Nashville recorded. Suddenly, I had a bucket list item to fulfill. I wanted to go to Music City.
It did not take long for that bucket list item to be fulfilled. This past May, the airline that I fly for announced a new flight destination out of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport; Nashville. I was ecstatic! Nashville, here I come.
I had no idea what to expect on my first layover in Music City. However, I was thrilled to find out our hotel was only a few minutes’ walk to Broadway, AKA Honky Tonk Row. I had one main goal, besides listening to music. I wanted my first official pair of cowboy boots to be from Nashville. The selection of boots is overwhelming. They’re all so pretty and smell so good. But, my perfect pair found me. Literally. They fell off the rack, and onto my head. Boots purchased, I headed out to find live music. And boy, did I Hit the Jackpot! This was the week of The Stanley Cup Playoffs. Broadway was blocked off, and a huge stage was set up for a free concert. Right when I walked by, the gates opened. I ended up right next to the stage. I had no idea who the musicians were, because I was not familiar with many country artists. I now realize what a lucky girl I was.
The artist that was onstage doing the soundcheck, was none other than Kip Moore! I was right next to the stage, and was not going to move. He was awesome, and I knew it was going to be a special afternoon.
The crowds started to swarm in behind me, excitement rising. The concert began, with two newer artists. And then, out came Brett Young. Everyone went wild! I had no idea who he was at that time. But, now I know he had the #1 country song on the radio, “In Case You Didn’t Know”. He ended up sitting on the stage right in front of me, singing it! Totally amazing. I dragged myself away to make the 4:00 pm pickup, to work my next flight. But I was hooked. I was coming back to Nashville.
My next layover was 30 hours. We landed at midnight, and had the whole next day and night. My fellow crew member, Laura, was on a boot mission initially. But we met up later, and joined hitting the honky tonk bars. It’s amazing how great the music is…everywhere! And every bar has a unique style of music. From traditional country, to more current style. Soft acoustic to rousing fiddle players. My local musician friends, Ray Hayden and Jessica Lynne, had recommended The Listening Room. Laura and I headed there for dinner, wearing our cowboy boots, of course. We were seated right next to the stage. 3 singer-songwriters sitting on stools, taking turns performing. An excellent recommendation
My third layover arrived; another 30-hours! My co-worker, Dawn, wanted to buy cowboy boots. Do you see a tradition occurring? After her boot purchase, we met up with our other crew members who were also out buying boots. We enjoyed some music at the honky tonk bars, a Southern Style bar-b-q dinner, followed by more music. This was also the day that country music legend, Glen Campbell passed away. Thank you, Glen, for giving us so many years of music to share in our lives.
And then there was my 4th, and recent 30-hour layover. Wow, one that goes down in my memory banks as incredible. My friend, and fiddle player, Kat Bula, recommended seeing The Time Jumpers at 3rd and Lindsley. The minute we landed, I bought a ticket. And, I was lucky, because it ended up being a sold-out show. I spent the day walking around and exploring different streets and bars. One of the favorite bands I listened to was Kenny P. I asked him to sing “She Talks To Angels”, and he did a powerful cover. I’m keeping my eyes on him.
I headed down to 3rd and Lindsley, for The Time Jumpers, with very little expectations. I just figured I would be listening to some wonderful local performers. I walked in, found a place to stand at the bar, turned around and looked at the stage. And there, sitting on stool a mere 25 feet away was Vince Gill. Casually doing a soundcheck with his guitar. This was going to be a very memorable night.
It was ShowTime, and out came the Time Jumpers. All ten of them, including Vince Gill. Guitars, fiddles, accordion/keyboards and a drummer. I found myself getting choked up. I was experiencing the history of country music. Later, my friend Kat, gave me a more thorough description of it. “Western Swing from Texas, with Nashville pickers, banding together to play some of the best music anywhere!” For a whopping $20 ticket. WOW. Absolutely, one of the most impressive shows I have attended. I would go back anytime.
Halfway through the show, a young woman that I had talked to earlier, ended up onstage singing with Vince Gill! Brittany Brodie from Canada, fulfilling a dream of singing with one of her favorite Country Artists. I talked to her later, and she was so excited. Her song “I Do” had just charted on the New Indie Chart! An exciting night for her. Another emerging artist that I will be following.
The night closed with Ranger Doug yodeling. It was wonderful! And, they were all so nice to talk to. That traditional Southern Hospitality that you hear of.
When is my next trip to Nashville? I’m not exactly sure, but I hope it’s soon. I’ve fallen in Love <3
SUSAN IN SEATTLE
Andrew Landers and Mainstreet Struggleville
As I sit in my red, vinyl beanbag chair, headsets on, cord attached to the turntable….
I honestly cannot remember a time without music in my life. I was either listening, playing or singing it. Music has always served as a connection to other people. My extracurricular childhood activity was singing in the school choir. And, even though I grew up in the small, farming town of Colfax, WA I was blessed to have the same choir teacher, the entire 12 years. Mr. K. David Coe. A man passionate about music, who possessed an artistic temperament. I wonder how many wooden pointers sticks he broke during his career. However, he taught us to love and respect music. That love of music carried into my college years at Washington State University. Not only did we enter singing competitions in my sorority, we spent a lot of time reenacting our favorite MTV music videos in our rooms. Hairbrushes and curling irons the perfect props as microphones. One of my BFFs, Marie, especially loved music and to sing. She is an alto. I’m a soprano. So, our harmonies blended. And, she created the best cassette mix tapes.
30+ years later, we’re still singing and harmonizing together. It brings us joy, and connects our lives and spirits. Music does that.
Rockin’ Through My Fifties has illustrated how intertwined all of our lives are. I’m constantly experiencing Six Degrees of Separation. We are all connected in some way…if you just slow down and take the time to notice.
About 1 ½ years ago, my musician friend Jessica Lynne, held a pledge support party at her home. It was to help raise finances for her upcoming recording contract in Nashville, TN. Recording an EP can cost musicians several thousand dollars. It’s not uncommon to ask for support from fans and followers. One of the musicians joining in was Andrew Landers. He brought along his guitar and voice, for an acoustic singer songwriter event. Request an idea for a song, and they create one on the spot! Lots of fun and creativity involved. I immediately was impressed with not only Andy’s talent, but also his presence.
A warm, loving and humble man. And father of SIX children! Now, that takes a lot of love in your heart, to become a parent to six children. I knew that he was going to be a growing presence in the Seattle-Tacoma area community.
In the fall of 2016, my friend Marie asked me if I wanted to go to Louie G’s in Fife, WA to listen to one of her favorite local musicians; Andrew Landers and Mainstreet Struggleville. “Marie, how do you know Andy? He’s part of the local music community that I’ve become friends with.”
“He and his band performed out our party last summer.” “WHAT? The party that I messed up my dates on? ” ...Head hangs low. So, we bought tickets and showed up for Andy’s show. Raymond Hayden (band leader of Grieve The Astronaut) ended up sitting at our table. Sparks started flying when my two worlds collided. In a very good way. My past and my present were joining. Ray got called up onstage to perform with Andy during the show. When he left our table to join Andy onstage, Marie gave me a “Wow, that’s cool!” look.
I love Andy’s music. It’s a blend of American Folk, jazz, blue grass, southern rock and everything in between. Combined with his good-humored personality and ability to story tell, you feel like you’re wearing your most comfortable pair of jeans, while hanging out on the back-porch swing, on a peaceful summer evening. When I started researching his background, I found that my instincts were correct. A former pastor who had also been involved in music therapy programs at hospitals and senior homes. Music is a healing force. And when combined with his sincere and loving spirit, the effects are like receiving a warm hug.
Andy performs by himself acoustically, and with his band, Mainstreet Struggleville. That night, Andy was performing with his band. And, as an added creative component, an artist was painting behind them. His art illustrating the music he heard. Although, I enjoy Andy’s music acoustically, the band adds more joy and happiness to be spread throughout the room. An upright bass, electric bass, drums and a saxophone rounded out the music palette. Marie was thrilled when Andy played one of her favorites songs, City of Rose (Portland I’m Coming Home Tonight) from the soon to be released album, “Whereabouts.” It made me SO happy, to see one of my lifetime BBFs, loving the music being created by this incredibly talented music community.
When she said they would be performing again, at their neighborhood summer party, I made sure and cleared my calendar. I wasn’t going to miss it this time!
The day of the party arrived, blue skies and sunshine. Perfect for their home located on Budd Bay WA, with a gorgeous view of Mt. Rainier.
When we pulled up, I saw Andy’s 1972 VW bus parked out front. The classic symbol of a modern day, troubadour hippie. After an excellent meal of tacos and margaritas, the music started. To be able to enjoy their music at a private show, was such a treat. Marie’s ability to create great party mix tapes in college, had grown into great parties with live music. I filmed a few live feed videos for Facebook, carefully circling around the band. Tripping over an amplifier cord was not on the taco bar menu. And we noticed boats pulling up and anchoring out in the bay, to listen.
A professional 5-piece band, in my friends’ backyard. What could be better. I always enjoy sitting close to the musicians, so I can watch them play their instruments. It’s that music connection, of being able to watch their hands and see into their eyes. The upright bass is a jazzy, blues classic. Accompanied by a wailing saxophone, bass guitar and drums, it’s the perfect combination for an afternoon of musical delight. They performed both original songs and sing along rock classics. A fun and carefree afternoon of storytelling, mixed with the rich roots of American folk and blues. To quote Andy “Music is my compass, it’s how I see the world and long to see it better. The songs that I’m singing every night are the songs that I need- not to learn how to play, but to learn how to live better.”
To close out the evening, Andy and the band played a rousing cover of “We’re All Irish Tonight”! Introvert, extrovert…it didn’t matter, we were all madly dancing around, doing our best version of the Irish Jig……And then we all ate Andy’s VW bus.
And that’s what I love about Andy and his band of musicians. Everyone feels free and welcome to be who they want to be, in the presence of their music. I’ve always had this illusion that musicians don’t see or notice me from the stage. That Wallflower feeling. However, at the end of the evening, Andy grabbed my hands and said one of the sweetest things, that I’ve taken to heart. “Susan, you are such a joy to watch from stage. Your smile and spirit are just beautiful.”
We are a mirror to the musicians. They get to watch and observe their music flow out and through us. Witness their music coming alive in another person’s spirit. The whole connection ‘thing’. Something that all of us human beings are born with. The desire to feel connected and accepted.
Thank You Terry and Marie for such a fun night of music and festivities! We’re already looking forward to next year’s party with Andrew Landers and Mainstreet Struggleville!
Local Seattle/Tacoma WA Artist Spotlight, Taylor Enloe
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, headsets on, cord attached to the turntable …
I remember how my relationship with Music first began. Do you remember how yours started?
Like many people, my relationship with music began in church. Sitting with my family in the pews, singing out of worn hymnals. The organist and the choir wearing heavy robes. Usually quite solemn.
I blame my failure in becoming a backup singer, totally on my lack of exposure to singing Gospel Music in church… I’m SURE that’s the reason ;)
But, after my church music, came singing in the school choir and learning to play the piano. I loved feeling the music flow through my body. During this time, I also started watching the TV show American Bandstand. On a black and white tv, and usually the bands were lip syncing. Half of the time their instruments didn’t even have cords attached to the amplifiers. It was fun to watch, but difficult to develop a relationship with the music …. Because it wasn’t real. For me to truly understand the music, I need to be in the presence of the artist. Or else, I can’t determine what is real, and what is fake.
That determination came to light, after a conversation that I had with the artist I’m writing about; Taylor Enloe. I was selling merchandise at a Jessica Lynne and The Cousins show. Taylor walked up and introduced himself to me. ‘Hi, I’m Taylor Enloe, guitarist for Grieve The Astronaut.”
Yes…. The band’s website that I’m writing this blog on. I know the band leader Raymond Hayden and the drummer Mike Burt, but the rest of the band I haven’t officially met. I’ve watched him perform before, but we’ve never shaken hands and had a conversation. He said he read my music blogs (Thank You!) and wondered if I ever wrote about music I just listened to. If I did, would I be willing to listen to his music and write about it.
An interesting, and perfectly timed question. I had been approached by another company, asking if I would want to listen to music and review it. I was not sure how to respond to that. However, after my conversation with Taylor, I could identify and set up boundaries for my music reviews.
For me to give an honest and truthful commentary about an artist’s music, I must be in their presence. Either through conversation, or at a live performance. Ideally, it would be both.
So, I said YES. I would listen and write a blog about Taylor’s music.
If you scroll back through the archives of my blog, you will read my review of the Grieve The Astronaut concert, March 2017. It was my first one. What an outstanding performance, and Raymond Hayden kept saying he had brought his new Secret Weapon into the band. That Secret Weapon was lead guitarist Taylor Enloe.
The audience went wild during that show. Taylor totally shredded it up on stage. So, it was interesting to start researching him online, and realize what an all-around excellent musician he is. There are various videos of his performances with several bands. His craftsmanship as a guitarist was obvious.
But then on YouTube, I found his powerful solo performance of his recently released song, “Farewell To Blackened Days”. An acoustic guitar and vocal piece, that really showcases his talent. When the energy and power from a band is removed, the true soul and skill level of an artist is revealed.
“Farewell To Blackened Days” is a skillfully executed song, that shows the truth behind Taylor’s work as a musician. Beautiful guitar riffs, accompanied by his powerful vocals. I felt like I was seeing the real Taylor. I was curious to know more of his background and his relationship with music. I had heard he was self-taught, which I thought was fascinating. That takes a lot of drive and determination, to teach yourself an instrument. So, I asked him to write a little bit about himself. It always helps to understand where an artist is coming from, when you know the road they have traveled.
This is what he wrote:
“I started playing guitar when I was 11, after hearing ‘Voodoo” by Jimi Hendrix. My grandfather bought me my first acoustic and I started teaching myself from there. After moving to Gig Harbor, WA from Stockton, CA when I was 13, my brother and I shared our first electric guitar. Dad had given it to us for Christmas. That year I got really into the band Rage Against the Machine, and would come home every day after school to jam out to their albums. Shortly after High School began, my brother introduced me to Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘Randy Rhoads’ tribute album. And, that completely changed my life. I became obsessed with metal and shred guitar.
When I was 15, my brother and I started our first band, Wilde Thunder (RIP Alex J. Kelley). It was kind of like hair metal on steroids. After a year of that, a few friends and I started our next band, Sword of Judgement. We were thrash metal, very much in the wheel house of bands like Megadeath and Overkill. We were together for a little over 4 years and played a lot in Seattle, opening for many national heavy metal bands.
In 2011, I went on a mission trip to Ensenada, Mexico and committed my life to Jesus. After that, I felt like I was being called to ministry and began leading worship at church. Late last year I decided to pursue my own music again and recorded my first EP “Been Here Before” and have only recently returned to the music scene after finally finding my dream band. Along the way, I got asked to join Grieve The Astronaut with Raymond Hayden, which has been an absolute blast. I am also doing solo gigs with my wife and leading worship on Sunday’s, whenever possible.”
Wow…that’s quite the story and journey! However, that is exactly what I love about music. It really does represent what is going on in an artist’s life. And, that’s why we are so drawn to it. Whatever we are going through, we can find a song that walks along with us, on that point in our journey.
I’m really looking forward to watching Taylor’s musical career grow, and of course, hear more of his performances! The next Grieve The Astronaut concert will be at The Auburn Avenue Theater, on September 16th. This is the ticket link.
You can also find Taylor’s work, on the following media sites:
SUSAN IN SEATTLE
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