Thursday, October 29, 2009
I was lucky enough to spend the afternoon with my Aunt Gladys on Oct 27 before a show at Ciceros in St. Louis. Aunt Gladys is 91, takes care of herself, is as mentally sharp as anyone I've ever met...and she has a life behind her that I'm so intrigued by I just had to tell you...
She and her husband bought a little card shop in St. Louis on Feb 15th, 1940 (it was a Friday, she said). On Feb 18th her husband found out he was leaving to work on the construction of the Pentagon building so Gladys had a new business to run alone. They had paid $600 for the business and merchandise. Two years passed before David came back, Gladys paid the business off and had amassed $2,000 in the bank. They never looked back.
In 1960 after much delay and debate the two added records to their store because Gladys loved music and REALLY loved those little vinyl discs. Their legacy began. They owned three record stores during their career, sold two off in the late 70's and just ran their home store until retirement. When they sold the last store the new owner declined the purchase of all those 'old' records so Gladys packed them up and took them to their house where they got reorganized in her basement. A short time looking at them led Gladys to form 'Encore Records'. She started selling vinyl through national magazine ads, the paper and word of mouth among collectors. As local record stores folded and national chains gave up the vinyl industry Gladys bought them out. All of them. Dillards, Penneys, the mom and pops...if they wanted rid of their records Gladys was their gal.
She can't read the labels anymore and has a hard time filling orders taken online but when she needs help her daughters sort Michael Jackson red-vinyl or whatever the call is for and she gets the job done.
Aunt Gladys spent the day with me...the kid in the candy store...sifting through amazingly cool discs and photos from her past. I sang her a couple of songs as loud as I could sing them to accommodate her hearing loss, we drank a beer together, laughed a lot and had a fantastic time. She showed me some old St. Louis papers she and her husband had saved. Even a few from when she was a child. I got to read the story that was written about Charles Lindbergh's flight across the Atlantic, the Cardinals 1936 World Series victory, D-day...it was incredible.
Our afternoon ended with Gladys giving me the Tom Waits 45 single of 'Somewhere' from Westside Story, a rare Asylum Records release that I'd been eyeing and a promise to bring my daughters back next week. She said I had better not let her find out I was paying for a room in St. Louis as she had plenty of room and asked me a third time if I needed anything to eat before my show. She noted a couple of times that she was so happy to know that a Fox could actually sing. She said there hadn't been another in her lifetime and she could only play those record players and dream of it. We had another good laugh.
I'm so happy to have gotten to know Aunt Gladys a little better, since I've learned to appreciate the elders of my Fox heritage and look forward to our next visit. I'll tell you all about it. Enjoy your people while you can.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
How's it going gang?
I'm writing to invite you to a private show on November 6th. It will be at Hunter Valley Winey's new upstairs venue at 6pm and last until we're all tuckered out. I'll be joined that evening by HEATHER LUTTRELL of Atlanta, Ga. If you watched 'Rockstar INXS' when it was going on you'll remember Heather as the wild child with all the Butterfly tattoos (27, I think). She was in the final 4 before she got sent away and is an amazingly talented artist. Since 'Rockstar' she's launched a solo career that has drawn a lot of attention in the South because of her amazing voice, great songs and in part because of her frequent appearances with the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Leo Kottke etc.
There are 50 seats for the event and they are FREE! But you need a reservation.
So here's how: email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me you would like to reserve a seat for Nov 6th or
If we're close personal friends, just give me a call.
That's it. Be sure and act fast as these will go quickly and I don't know how soon we'll get little Heather back in the neighborhood.
See you soon, Lotsa love
Here's Heather's site: www.heatherluttrell.com
and Hunter Valley Winery is at www.huntervalleywinery.biz/
Sunday, October 4, 2009
I'd been wondering lately if there's a point when playing music all the time gets old, not that it's getting old to me but I wondered if it would. I don't think playing will, perhaps the way one plays might...
Tonight I remembered vividly why I started playing.
I got a guitar when I was 6 and learned a few simple songs and chords and when I figured out how to sing and play at the same time I had an overwhelming feeling of freedom. Free to scream or whisper my fears or hopes in any key I decided, any way I saw fit. Free to string together words to make me feel however I wanted to and perhaps make others feel the same.
I remembered that feeling as I played tonight and it rushed over me like a wave that takes away homes and leaves only the beach in it's path. I wish I could keep it with me all the time and I plan to try. I'm sure it will just come in and out of my life when it needs to.
I'm also sure that we ALL have some source of freedom and that it's not anything anyone gives us. It's a stone you find out of place on a trail and put in your pocket. It's a key to a place only you can find. It's the feeling of wind on your face when you were a child on the day that your dog lead you out of the yard. Your children feel it too.
Hold on to it. I'm keeping mine close. And thanks for letting me share my freedom with you. I appreciate it.