18 October, 2010
philly works. it’s that simple. my experience as a musician playing in the city of brotherly love has been the model of what’s supposed to happen, when it’s supposed to happen, how it’s supposed to happen.
early on, i got hooked up with my friend jesse lundy, who was promoting with the awesome rich kardon at the point. they believed in me when i was still a wee pup figuring out my show. they set me up in little coffeehouses and opening for bigger acts in places like the TLA, until i graduated to my own shows at the point.
one of my favorite stories ever as a musician began one night at the point. i had heard susan werner at a folk festival in the summer of 1998. she blew my mind. i began to study her records and shows like a med student cramming for boards. i found out that she lived near the point, and through friends, had contacted her to invite her to a show i was playing there that fall. i put her name on the guest list that night, and after the show, i scanned the buzzing crowd hopefully, looking for her. i didnt see her, and felt disappointed that she had somehow missed the show.
about a week later, i went to my PO box in providence and found an envelope with a mainline return address. it was a typewritten note from susan werner! she had seen my show, but slipped out when the lights came on. she was so complementary and supportive and funny and tough, too. getting that letter was one of the sweetest moments of my young artistic life.
a few months later, i got the opportunity to open for susan at another special philly spot, the tin angel. it was the first of many nights on that fabulous, tiny stage. i got to watch a master work that room, and i took in every detail. 12 years later, susan is one of my closest friends, and our relationship has evolved way past my hero-worship.
just like new york, it was radio that changed everything for me in philly. bruce warren at WXPN and david dye at world cafe took a shine to “blackbirds”. they played my music, put me on their festivals, gave me so many fantastic opportunities to get in front of their loyal listeners. i’ll be forever grateful.
10 years later, i wouldnt be able to still be going strong without the belief and support of stations like WXPN. neither commercial, nor public, the listener supported model of radio is flexible, local, and responsive and grows relationships between artists and listeners.
from great promoters, to artistic heroes, to loyal radio support, philly has always been there for me. thanks philly!!