Back in the ancient days of mail and stamps, etc., I always used to send out New Years’ cards. I started doing that kind of thing way back in 1991 when I was in New York on a nationwide tour with David Cassidy (yes, Keith PartridgeDanny Bonaduce opened for us), and I took a pic of myself at the “Imagine” monument in Central Park. (Actual film; pre-cellphone, pre-selfie.)

This year was a great one for me as a performing songwriter: Following in the footsteps of people like James Hurley, James Lee Stanley, and John Batdorf, I’ve begun performing at house concerts. These are where people can hear some of the best singer-songwriters, in a relaxed, intimate setting without drunks, espresso steamers hissing (usually always at the quietest moment in a song, right?), and where the artists are paid well. House concerts are a labor of love for those who host them. The granddaddy of all house concerts is Russ and Julie Paris’s series, in Oak Park. They have unselfishly hosted so many great performers in their lovely home, and their concerts are a model for anyone who thinks they would like to do this. Here is a link to how to host one, if that’s something you think you might like to do. They are popping up all over the country, and it’s my goal to play at as many as I can.

Now, if you’re not all partied-out on New Years’ Day, please come to the Firefly Bistro in South Pasadena at 7pm. My pal Brad Colerick has hosted a great songwriter night there called “Wine and Song” for some years now, and this is a special New Years’ Day celebration featuring the hilarious Eric Schwartz, neuroscientist/singer/songwriter Chauncey Bowers (yes, science is his actual career but his beautiful twisted tunes would suggest otherwise), and yours truly. The Firefly is a great restaurant to boot, and the New Years’ menu will feature (I’ve heard) black-eyed peas; a Southern tradition that is supposed to bring good luck for the whole year. Whether or not that’s true, come enjoy some good food and music, and you will feel lucky, I ga-ron-tee.

Oh, and though I will admit it’s nice to get a handwritten card or letter now and then, I couldn’t be happier that email makes it possible for me not to have to moisten hundreds of stamps to reach the people I care about on special occasions. And, truly, every ONE of you who said “Yes” to receiving my emails are important people in my life, and I am so very grateful for the hundreds of you who came to see my shows this year. I have put a “Gig History” on my website of most of the places I’ve played in the last few years, and when I look at it, I am reminded of your faces smiling back at me, and I feel pretty damn good. Hope to see all of you in 2014 and beyond.

Special thanks (in no particular order) to: Jeanette Lundgren, Donna Mason Adams and Matthew Burke, Julie and John Zipperer, Peggy Flinn Glenn and Helen Nicholas, Severin and Melinda Browne, Scotty Breadman, Bob Stane, Maggie Rowe, Brad Colerick, Saria Kraft, Sabrina Schneppat and Craig Lincoln, Mark Beltzman, Lauren Adams, Garry Corman, Wendy Hammers, Ron Sarfaty, Mark Pitta, Bill Berry, Teresa Tudury, Chappell and Dave Holt, Steve Brogden and FAR-West, Harriet Schock, Teller, Pablo Marz, JC Hyke, Eve Brandstein, Ron Maurer, Emery Emery, Robert Morgan Fisher, Rick Overton, Cynthia Carle, Paul Provenza, DJ Grothe, Aaron “Captain Danger” Steinberg, Kahlil Sabbagh and Ginger Smith, Brad Kay, Suzy Williams, Ric Taylor, Steve Witt, Ed Ivey, Leanne Summers, Bruce Gleason, Ian Dodd, Lissa And Jim Reynolds. Apologies to anyone I left out who helped put me in front of an audience this last year. – GS

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