Because of the pandemic ALL performances and festivals were cancelled this year. The only place I was able to play was at the Port Sanilac Museum in Port Sanilac, Michigan where we put together safe shows. All of these were outside on the expansive museum grounds which allowed the audience to spread out safely. We had individual microphone covers for each performer. When a performance was complete, the next performers waited until we wiped down all of the touched surfaces.
This was the first time playing in public since this all began and I hoped everything would go safely. I had my doubts and was ready to not perform and leave if people did not follow the safety guidlines. I am happy to say that everyone did and continued to throughout the summer. I think this reflects the nature of the people that come to see this kind of music. They are all about the music and being responsible. Thanks for letting us play!
Being "locked down" and having time to think about what was going on, I had alot of time to write and, as you may imagine, the songs reflected the times. So, these performances and songs reflect the times we were (are) living in.
All of the songs were written by me.
Frog On A Mountain
"I read an article in a magazine about frogs in the Sierra Nevada mountains and how their numbers were dwindling and they were separated from other frogs; and I thought to my self, this is kind of where I feel I am at (and everyone). Feel like a frog on a mountain."
"I was watching a video a nurse made documenting going to work, coming home and going back to work during the height of this pandemic. This song was written based on this. It is dedicated to all of the health care workers."
"In the Fall of 2019 I built eight birdhouses and mounted them all around our yard. I am so glad I did as, during this pandemic, it has been one of my simple joys watching birds move into them, build nests and have youngborn and raised. This song tells that story."
"This song was started as notes I made at some point and set aside in the pile of notes that you think of and never do anything with. When this hit, I lost friends that I could not say goodbye to in the traditional way and I discovered my scribbled lines and it turned into this song. This is dedicated to Janine Kirchoff and Rickey Novak.
August 8th - with Dennis Hanselman on percussion & Barry Shigelone on bass.
This was not rehearsed and they had never heard the songs before. I just asked them to accompany me.
Last Chance Motel
"This is the name of a motel just outside of Port Sanilac, Michigan (where I live). A friend of mine used to stay here whenever he played in the area and everytime he said the name it made me smile. It is a quick and short song like motel stays."
"I work in the city, but live in the country. A bunch of us were sitting around at work and people were discussing their lawn and removing weeds, fertilizing, getting rid of crabgrass and making their lawn perfect. One guy I work with, he is a Yooper in fact, but lives up here. He turned to me and said 'Aren't you glad we have country grass?' I said yes. Thus this song was born."
Good To See You Again
"This is from my last CD "On Roads". It seemed very fitting to play. Some times songs come back again. It was so good to play again and see everyone"
"This was written with the passing of John Lewis. It is based on his saying, "Good trouble". Sometimes you have to say something even though it might get you into trouble. But it is good trouble. Something that needs to be said."
October 10th - with Dennis Hanselman on percussion & Barry Shigelone on bass.
Once again, this was not rehearsed and Dennis and Barry had never heard the song before. Tom had sung "People Like You" with me many times in the past.
Life's Short Song
"This is the title of my newest CD that was put on hold when this pandemic hit. I had all of my tracks done and was inviting people come in to add to it. That ended with this pandemic and it sits waiting. But that only made this song more important. You never know what is going to happen."
People Like You
"This is from my first CD with "Thumb Folks" (Myself, Dean Barnett and Tom Schichting). It was written for the people at the coffeehouse in Lexington, Michigan when I first started playing out again in 2000. It seemed like the perfect song to play in the times we are now in. I am so thankful to be able to play for all of you again."
All of these videos were taken by Nancy Tremblay and edited by me. The first ones were rough as it was not planned to record and she held the camera as best she could. Towards the end she had a tripod to hold the camera.
The sound was a mix of the video sound, a phone recording and a direct line off the sound board. The first couple were recordings off the phone and video, the rest had the direct board feed too.
Thanks to the Sanilac County Museum for supporting us in putting this whole thing together.
Dawn Malek, Museum administrator
All of the volunteers!