(Here’s to the New Year, not like the Old Year)

 Back in the days when the U.S. Postal Service delivered mail on Saturdays, I always used to send out New Years’ cards. As my circle of friends, folks who knew my work, and family grew in number, it wound up being a very expensive proposition. Plus, most of the time, I wouldn’t get it together to actually get the picture selected for the card, the card designed, and the mailing labels printed until well into late January. To repair this, I decided they should be Chinese New Year cards instead. So – even though it’s a little past due – Happy Year of the Snake, everyone!

The Chinese zodiac, which is what the “Year of’s” are all about, says this about Snake people: “… the Snake is listed after the Dragon, but its place and its significance as a symbol of worship is far less than that of the Dragon.” Since I was born in a Dragon year, I’m fine with that. Actually, though, truth be told, I don’t believe in astrology, Chinese or otherwise. But when I was a young teenager in the ‘60s, and I read that Scorpio was the “sexy” sign, I admit I thought… well… yeah!

In 2012, I played lots of local venues, from comedy shows, to spoken word events, to songwriter round-robins. One of my favorite shows was earlier last year at the Fremont Centre Theatre. My good friends Lissa and Jim Reynolds, who own the theater, put me on during the Pasadena Art Walk, and there was a nice crowd there, including some very good friends like Steven Banks (aka Billy the Mime) and Tom McLoughlin (not the “Billy Jack” Tom Laughlin, but THIS one).

In October I got to play hotel rooms, guerilla-style at FAR-West, along with the likes of Kevin Fisher, and Robert Morgan Fisher (no relation…that we know of). Plus, I had a birthday extravaganza where I nearly gave my wife a heart attack by inviting over 165 people to come eat, drink, see me do a show, and watch me turn 60 (a SEXagenarian, correcting my blog announcement at the time which added 10 years to my age).

I hope I’m becoming a fixture (like a soapdish, perhaps) in the LA singer-songwriter community.  I am always humbled by the level of talent here, but when I take a moment to look at how great those folks are that I often get to perform on a stage with – well, I figure as long as I’m not getting booed off, I must belong there, too. (Here I have to make a mention of the sad loss of John Braheny, a man to whom all songwriters, especially the many who were directly  helped by him, owe a debt of gratitude.)

2012 was a tough year for a lot of folks. We had our trials, too, but I’m not complaining. I’m writing a lot of new songs, and getting to perform some of them in some very cool places. Here are some that are coming up:

Feb. 17thFOLKTACULAR, created and hosted by the above-mentioned Robert Morgan Fisher. In the spirit of full disclosure, I go on at around 10:30 as the start of the “aprés-show,” appearing after the headliner, Dan Bern. Considering the fact that the concert BEGINS at 2pm with the rocking yet debonair Clive Kennedy, and I go on after Dan at 10:30, it’s about come when you can and you’ll hear great music.

THEN, a very exciting appearance on Severin Browne’s “First Fridays” series at Kulak’s Woodshed. I play a set at 8pm, then Severin plays with his great band, and, hopefully, some intermingling will ensue. I love Kulak’s, among other reasons, for the fact that it has a (real) grand piano. I sure like playin’ on them. And I love Severin because, well, who doesn’t love Severin? Although, to be fair, his wife Melinda Browne makes him even more lovable.

Coming up in late March, I get to do the Americana Music Circle for and with the incredibly tuneful Lauren Adams. More on that later, but save the date: it’s March 29th at Mare’ka restaurant. If you come you get to see the amazing Lauren, music legend Debra Dobkin (who played on my CD), great guitarist Nick Kirgo, and bassist extraordinaire (and former Victoria’s Secret model) Mark “Pocket” Goldberg play, in a place that calls itself an “Organic Watering Hole.” I intend to channel my inner Mr. Natural.

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