I had the privilege of backing up, not one but TWO, Celtic Women this spring. The lovely and talented Lisa (Porter) Kelly and Chloe Agnew. Both ladies are as sweet and professional as they are talented. Lisa Kelly now lives in Peachtree City, GA where she and her husband, original River Dancer Scott Porter, have an academy for voice and dance. We performed many pieces from Celtic Women and the popular 'Trading Taps' bit from River Dance. The show was a blast to do and the studio of young singers and dancers were especially impressive. Thanks to Scott Meeder for the recommendation, and to musical director Cheryl Rogers.
I'm happy to announce a new project for 2017. I will be joining the immensely talented Craig A. Meyer and his 2 hit theater shows, 'Almost Elton John' and 'Piano Men'. AEJ is a wonderful tribute to Elton John and his amazing catalogue of timeless music. Piano Men is an equally incredible show where Billy Joel joins the fabulous Elton John as they perform the greatest hits of both legendary song writers.
I can't tell you how thrilled I am to join Craig and his talented team to perform this incredible catalogue of masterpieces.
I had the opportunity to play a gig with Jimmy Buffett last week at the Masters in Augusta and it was a real blast. Jimmy was extremely kind and every bit as laid back as his persona. 5 time CMA award winner, Mac McAnally was there with Jimmy. He, too, was a great hang. We played all the hits you might expect; Margaritaville, Changes In Latitude, Volcano, 5 o'Clock Somewhere, Come Monday, Finz, and Pirate Looks @ 40. It really was a great time and something special to play all those iconic tunes with the man himself.
Rockin' Volcano with Jimmy!
The RockTronix had a blast performing and giving a brief presentation to the happy campers at Camp Jam Atlanta this summer. They were very attentive and genuinely interested in what we were doing and how we were doing it, which according to the staff was not the norm. The hour session went by very quickly. Time flies when you're having fun, eh!? We hope to do more in the future here in ATL and elsewhere with Camp Jam. Kudos to Steve Freeman and the work he's doing with these camps and promoting music education! I also got to visit briefly with a fellow ATL drummer, the young, talented Torin Degnats from the Well-Reds. He was the resident whip-cracker showing those young hopefuls 'what it's like'! Go get 'em Torin!
Well, the summer is upon us and that means camp season!! I am proud to be a performer and conducting a masterclass/clinic at the Atlanta location this year with my band, The RockTronix. Can't wait to see and hear the latest young crop of talented hopefuls. To learn more about this national camp and what they offer, check it out here.
It's been a busy and interesting day. All the business details aside, I had the unique opportunity to witness a living legend practice earnestly for the love of his craft, school a younger generation of caring musicians during sound check, play his main axe with the artistry and expression one only dreams of reaching in a lifetime, and be a authentic and warm person.
It was my pleasure to provide Kenny's drummer with a kit for his 4 sold out shows in Atlanta this week at the Velvet Note. The band was a bunch of appreciative and kind hearted guys full of energy and something to say. I also learned that McClenty Hunter (drums) and Corcoran Holt (bass) were good friends of some of my old school Homies from North Carolina - Carroll V. Dashiell III and Vaughn Ambrose. Small world moment! Being around that level of musicianship and humanity was extremely refreshing and timely for me. I look forward to seeing where these guys talents will take them over the course of their careers.
The Spring AbbaMania tour was fantastic this year. Great people, great organization, great venues, great experience! It's SO nice to be part of such a well organized, well planned, well run playing situation. Special shout out to Todd Littlewood, uber manager, who goes WAY out of his way to be sure we are taken care of better than we deserve...and he does it from across the pond!
We began in the Dominican Republic (Same crew I did with the Elton John show!) and it was great. Nothing like 86º weather in February! Then we went from the West Coast to the East Coast...all the way down the East Coast from Massachussettes to Florida! Summer to Spring to Winter and back to Summer all in one month. Just one reason I love to tour!
Also, I have mentioned this to quite a few people, but I must give a huge public kudos to Ali Ward and Kirby Jo Long. These 2 vocalists bring it EVERY single night! No whining, no complaints, no excuses, no diva vibe. They bring it for 90 solid minutes (singing AND dancing!) anywhere from 18 to 25 days [straight] and always bring the house down. They are the bar setters for professionalism in my world. And, of course, the rest of the band and crew are the best to work with! Looking forward to the next run!
I just got back from a quick, but fun, trip to the Dominican Republic with a great show full of great folks. I was really sick days before but the Caribbean air cleared me up right away....not to mention the 88º weather was much appreciated in February.
I was playing with 'Almost Elton John', featuring Craig Meyer. It's insane how much he sounds like Elton. He kills it! It's a really fun show with tons of energy and some humor to boot. I was subbing for my pal, Guy Strauss. Guy is a great drummer/percussionist. He is also awesome at getting you prepped for a gig. He really cares that the gig goes well when he's unable to make it and goes above and beyond to be sure you know the ins and outs and have everything you need to be successful. Thanks Guy!
I'm about to head back down there to the same spot with AbbaMania this coming week. How crazy is that? This time we hit Santo Domingo again, but also venture over to Punta Cana. Can't wait!!