candy davis- i start out with my partner because she is truly inspirational. leader of our band, she just keeps writing and performing music, making cd's, and doing pr for the band, entirely on her own time and her own terms.
dave lynch- a guy who probably has no webpage- was a guy who employed me as a house painter in the 1970's in rural iowa and actually invited me to be part of my first band, the dogs of love, though we only played at one gig that i remember, at an american legion hall. dave had leanings toward hank williams and beer, though the beer came as a natural complement to house painting. he's the one who once sent me to the paint store saying, an iowa paint store only has three colors, farmhouse white, john deere green, and international red- and we're painting houses, so i'm sure you'll bring back the right color.
sarah mclachlan- who figured out how to rise to the top of the folk world, then made this, a video about how the music industry wastes money that could be feeding people. either a political, heartfelt statement or masterful pr move, either way, it moved me.
greg brown, was kicking around iowa city at the same time i was, wrote songs about iowa, life and fatherhood; was more determined to make it than i was; always got a great bass and rythym section to join him, and really made it by going up to st paul and joining up with garrison keillor and prairie home companion; now i understand he has married iris dement and moved to kansas city. though i'm sure he wouldn't remember me, i did meet him once or twice; once he gave me a word of encouragement on my music, when i was playing at the mill- and i actually was his paperboy for a while, when he lived on brown street, but even then he paid his bill by mail, and i didn't have occasion to see him, at 6 am, in the bitter winter mornings of the late 70's.
yvette burns and marnie leverett- my first piano teacher and my mother- i list them here, because they have encouraged me for a lifetime, and it's really paid off. they would both say: just do it. you can get a lifetime of enjoyment from it. and they were right.
odetta, who showed that all christmas music is not the same, nobody owns it, different takes on it can show it in light you might have never seen. similarly, when jimi hendrix did the star spangled banner at woodstock, though many people thought he was being disrespectful, i thought it was the best version ever. it was full of his own soul, his own take on it. once, at a fourth of july party, i took out my fiddle and did my version of his version of the star spangled banner. maybe not the same musical accuracy that i could have had if i did it tonight. but, i learned that he was right. put your soul into it, really lean into it, and they'll recognize it for the best you can do. and they'll take their hats off to it.
i met tom petty one night at about 3:30 am at a rest area of the ohio turnpike. i'm tom petty, he said. i'm tom leverett, i said to him, not, at the time, knowing who he was. he'd just become big; i remember, i heard one of his songs that same day, a little later in the day, but didn't know who he was at the time he'd said that. most likely he was on tour; why else would someone be so wide awake at 3:30 am? for me, it was because i was back in northern ohio.
a bagpipe player in toronto, who taught me that if you go busking, pick a good city (toronto, i figure, is the best in north america)- then, pick a good instrument, one you can hear for about a mile. then, pick a day when a northern city is warming up, say, in april. then, and maybe only then, you can make a fair pocketful.
robert russell, a friend of mine here in town, loves the delta blues, but plays for a band called creole stomp. sticks doggedly to delta blues in his heart; if he can, he goes down to the crossroads to hear the masters. a town as small as this can't appreciate him fully, as he's really good, but now that he's with the band, he gets out, and lots of people hear him. dennis stroughmatt, lead fiddler in the band, went down to louisiana, learned both cajun fiddle and the language, now there's a role model for you. or, for me, one who loves cajun, loves french, and loves fiddle.
missed a few, i realize. but it's late, it's been a while, i've lost track a little. life has been busy, but i finally played fiddle again tonight, first time since t'sgiving and the hole in my head. some operations, flu in the family, and hosted a good holiday in spite of it, but now, still trying to finish and move on with our lives. in fact i tripped on the plug in the middle of this post, and the post alone took me days; i started it back in 2007..it is, after all, now a new year, and i wish you all a good one.