It’s the end of the year and maybe because my album The Old Guys came out in early 2018, it feels like the end of the cycle. I loved this album and feel proud of it forever but it’s just about time to move onto other things (namely, getting my book out).
I was recapping and thinking of all the good things that came along with the album release this past year, and that reminded me that I have a whole lot to be grateful for, and people to thank. The more years I gain, the more I’ve learned not to engage with what I wish would’ve happened or frustration at where I wish I was or what I had, but good old appreciation of all the positives. That’s what helps lift me up and give me another energy jolt to keep going.
So here we go – thank you to:
Wreckless Eric, my partner and producer and primo player on the album and a bunch of live shows this year. The line in Do You Remember That says it all, “you changed my life in seconds flat” when we met and I have learned and continue to learn so much from him. Plus I get to be part of his amazing family. Thank you! Love you!
The players on my album: Greg Roberson, Jeremy Grites and Doug Wygal and Brian Dewan and Artie Barbato. So much fun working with all of these guys, as well as Jeremy and Doug plus Steve Goulding and Ian Button playing drums on live gigs. I’m always moved to hear musicians doing their thing on my songs, it is validating and liberating to just go for it together.
John Foster who put The Old Guys album artwork together and is a patient, encouraging soul and great artist I feel fortunate to have him on the team, plus he gives the greatest hugs ever and even if I haven’t seen him for a year I know the hugs are accruing for the next time we meet in person.
Ted Barron took the promo photos I have used and used again for The Old Guys plus he made the Tom Petty Karaoke video. With above and beyond attention to detail and care, he is an amazing artist I’ve been lucky to have as a friend and neighbor and collaborator for almost thirty years.
Andrija Tokic mastered my album and it was a huge confidence boost to hear the tracks coming through the speakers in his awesome studio in Nashville and have him say how much he dug the songs. He also jumped right in to pump up Tom Petty Karaoke and the forthcoming The President Can’t Read singles – can’t wait to have new stuff to head down to Nashville and work with him again at Bomb Shelter.
I have known Robert Vickers since back in Tier 3 days/late 70s and he’s so supportive doing publicity – putting out your own records means having to blow your own horn and having Robert in my horn section helped a huge amount.
Lucy Hurst has been great doing the recent UK publicity, it means a lot to get reviews in Mojo and Uncut and the like.
Marc Riley and Michelle Choudry at BBC 6 Music welcome me and Eric so often on Marc’s show, the best!
Michael Shelley had me on his WFMU show and also interviewed me for the Please Kill Me website – always thoughtful, insightful and positive.
Gotta Groove pressing in Cleveland and Clay Pasternack helping out with distribution.
Radio – Joe Belock & all at WFMU, WGXC, Mountain Stage, Richard/Dexter Bentley Hello Goodbye; Dan Ferguson, WDVX, WUMB, KALX, KPIG, WXNA Nashville; Smelly Flowerpot, Boudin Dan, the stations who have been kind enough to play my stuff – I’m sorry if I left call letters out but I appreciate it every time I find out somebody played a track.
Kelley and Alan, the owners of Spotty Dog Books & Ale in Hudson & the crew & customers there – it’s given me a place to come back to between gigs and keeps me connected to our upstate community and helps pick up the slack financially, I’m so fortunate to have had this job – it’s made a huge difference in my life.
Magnet mag for the guest editor spot; Troy Michael of Innocent Words, Jennifer Kelley/Blurt and Charlie at Stereo Hysteria and Dan and Dan at WXPN gave me a boost early this year with their interviews. It means a lot that other writers like my writing – thank you everybody who gave The Old Guys a review or mention.
The promoters who put me on in your club, living room, cafe, radio station: Robert Johnson, Scott Stamper the Saint in Asbury Park, Jammin Java, El Cortez, Sound of Music RVA, Dawson St. Pub, Parlor Room, Beachland, Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge, Cafe Nine, Cat’s Cradle, Burlington Bar, Berlin, Thunderbolt, Will at Prince Albert, Old Cinema Launderette , Andi & Cath Lime Bar, Chris Hey Manchester, Ripton Coffee House. Brian Marrs Bar, Hemlock SF, Michael’s on Main in Soquel, HiLo, Spotty Dog.
Friends who helped make shows happen: Lindsay Hutton, Karen Hall, Rob Brookman, Michael Whyte, Dylan Hicks, Kate & Donna Little City Books, Tom Kohn Bop Shop, Tom Heyman in SF, Randi Millman, Dan Reed, cousin Ceci in Richmond; PJ & Abbie Hogan, Mary Sack, Tim & Susan Lee Knoxville, Mark Messerly/Wussy in Cincinnati; Danette Koke; Nick West and Raz at Betsey Trotwood, Andy Richardson, Mark Ringwood, Paul Rock and Wild Honey, Rain Perry, Sleepy John Sandidge, James Lynch, Doug Wygal, Michael Giblin & Ruth Prall, Mike Stuto, Stu Reid, Geoff Himes, Marcel and Mary Daguerre. If I left anybody out I am sorry!
I got to play gigs with these cool artists: Lenny Kaye, Johnny Dowd, Felice Rosser, Grahame & Ann Davies of the Crowd Scene, Joe Harvard, Slushy, Seven Deadly Five, Brian Dewan, Russ Wilkins & Lightnin Holler, Papernut Cambridge, BARK, Knife & Fork Band, Jon Coley, Alex Lucero, Ramblin Deano Schlabowske; RB Morris, Jon Byrd & Bob Woodruff.
Printing help from Clif Eddens who made the tea towels possible.
Ken Tucker NPR’s Fresh Air, having The Old Guys reviewed there was huge and the mention of my blog felt especially great.
My dad sent me a check early this year that helped answer the question “how will I pay for the vinyl pressing?” Even though he sometimes doesn’t get what I’m doing or why (“You want to put out a book now? Isn’t music hard enough?”) he always has my back. My brothers John, Michael, Patrick and Riley always show up to see me play. My sisters in law Natalie and Karen too.
Friends who put me up on tour: Rick and Monica Simpson, Kate and Scott/Chicago, Kathy and Kevin in Hull, Daisy Wake in London. Karen, Peter & Daisy Hall; Ilene Markell, Andy Dodds, Chuck Prophet & Stephanie Finch. Karen Schoemer book buddy, Norma Coates daily text support, Angela Jaeger for phone calls and Julia Gorton Kirk dear design guru; Sarah Lazin for keeping the faith with my book; the HiLo in Catskill & Supernatural Coffee in Hudson extensions of our own kitchen, Stockade Guitars & Le Shag in Kingston and Rob at Musica in Hudson.
John D. Lamb and the Springfed songwriter retreat in Michigan led to me writing the Philip Roth song two years ago, and I got to go back this fall, it was a restful and productive blast once again. Thank you Neil DeMause for the opportunity and guidance to write for the late great Village Voice & Alex Needham at the Guardian for including me in the Philip Roth tributes. These things helped make my year.
My daughter Hazel remains my inspiration and hero.
I couldn’t make records or write without people to listen and read…well then again, I could and probably would but what use would it be? An audience is never a given but I am lucky to have folks who are willing to spend their precious time engaged with work I do. That is the best outcome an artist can hope for. Thank you!