EXCITING NEWS! My articles about the NAMM show in January are finally up on the Guitar Girl site! After being hacked and losing all of our content on the website, Guitar Girl has diligently redone the entire site and we are back up and running. The articles are late, NAMM being in January, but the gear and information is still all pretty darn "new!" Some of the items that were to be released are still not available, but with Summer NAMM coming up in Nashville next month, we have yet to see more new gear! You can access the website and my articles here: Che's articles about Winter NAMM 2017! Hope you enjoy everything. Coming soon are some gear reviews as well as interviews and some gig reviews! Check out the whole site!
So, I had another birthday. Happy? Sad? What is the alternative? Haha! No, I am happy to still BE here on this earth and doing what I do, working as a professional musician, entertaining people all over the place, still writing original material and soon to have a new CD out, the 7th from my little record label, Youghiogheny River Records! It should be ready mid summer, but in the meantime I am working on a little EP as a preview so that there is something for you all to buy before the whole caboodle comes out. This news is coming soon!
Here are a few pics from my birthday. My friends took me flying and I also went skiing. Yes, in MAY. Skiing. The road was actually closed because they were working on SNOW REMOVAL. Yes, in MAY. Here are some pics of the flight - the planes at the airport. (Beautiful day, huh? PERFECT for flying!)
Me in the plane!
My neighborhood from the air! WOW!
My pilots and good friends, Verne and Sue!!! THANK YOU for such a great experience ON my birthday!
Two days later, after the holiday rush, Moondoggie and I went out to the Uinta Mountains to SKI! On the way we saw a young bull moose by the road just watching us and enjoying the day!
The mountains were still really covered with snow, especially the north facing slopes!
Here I am after climbing up a ways! It was warm but the higher we got, the more the cool wind whipped around us, so I was glad to have my little jacket!
Conditions were perfect, but that may have been my last chance to get onto my skis, due to our super warm weather.
Coming soon: book reports (since I am not doing that on Facebook anymore, because I am weaning myself off of that social media) and fashion reports, along with some music gear reviews for Guitar Girl that will also be posted here! Stay tuned!
I am back from a wonderful trip to Pennsylvania, where I visited friends and family, gigged, and just enjoyed every second of my beloved state. Went down to the Youghiogheny River, yes, one of the rivers that is mentioned in my song, Pennsylvania, and took a couple of shots.
And some photos of the beautiful azaleas and rhododendron that were in full bloom when I was back there!
Mom's birthday was fun, and we went to where she and my Dad always would go for her big day, DeNunzio's Restaurant and ran into one of the owners, old friend Tony! It was a great time!
Mom and I played golf at YCC.
That photo above also shows the cemetery where my Dad is buried. We giggled when I hit really well, that my Dad was coaching me from the grave! (It worked, whatever it was!) We had a fantastic time.
Of course I was back there, as usual, for Derby Day, and headed out to Junebugs for the race with drinks and food and family and friends. Here I am with Sara:
Prepping for Memorial Day, I helped Mom plant flowers on our ancestors graves in West Newton Cemetery, so we got to see the cemetery in full regalia for the holiday.
This is probably the most beautiful cemetery I have ever been in (and I have been in A LOT of them!) with lots of trees and real flowers (no fake flowers allowed in this cemetery, only natural arrangements and plants!)
and with the addition of flags with a veteran's name and rank on each flag pole, it just makes for a beautiful place.
And here I am planting flowers on my Grandparents tombstone.
I played a couple of really fun shows while there, too, including Driscoll's in the township, and saw a lot of friends!
L-R Sharon, Danielle, Kerrie, Greg, me and Kenny! Thanks for coming out to see me!!!!
I also got to jam at Sheree's 2 Thursdays in a row, which was super fun, and also go to see a band that Greg plays with on a Saturday night. Here I am with Joe and Karen!
And here I am with Greg (who sometimes plays drums with me!) and his son Kris, who just finished his last final of the year at college that morning, and made a point of coming to see me!
And friends/classmates Harry and Nina with Brucie in the middle!
One night Mom and I had dinner with McKenna and Ina, and had a blast. Mom hates selfies so we are now calling them "ussies." Hehe.
Greg, Sara and I finally had a day free when Bloom Brew was open, so we went to the tasting room
and tried a bunch of different craft beers from this great place right on the Youghiogheny River! I bought a couple of growlers and took some pilsner and a dark chocolate stout back to my Mom's and finished them off within a couple of days! Yum!
Here we are!
Mother's Day was May 14th this year, kind of late, but Mom and I had a nice brunch at YCC, and then later I took her for a special treat, to Club Cafe to see the band, The Family Crest, a band I know from meeting them in Los Angeles. I am friends with Laura's family and was happy they were going to be in Pittsburgh when I was also there! Laura put us on the guest list and saved us a table right in front, where we had cocktails and munchies and really enjoyed their high energy music! What a fun night!
Laura took a break from signing autographs to get a photo with Mum and me!
Now, it is back to the old grind, haha. Will post more stuff soon. I will be starting a fashion blog - yes, from the hinterlands - to review and chat about what's up in the fashion business, and will profile designers and clothing as well as makeup and new trends. Coming soon!
Watched the new documentary on A&E about the L.A. Riots, since it has been 25 years, 25 YEARS, since they happened. Of course I lived right there in Los Angeles when this all was happening, from Rodney King getting beaten by the police to the trial of the 4 police officers being moved to the prominently white Simi Valley, which was shocking to everyone in the area, and then the verdict coming out as "not guilty." This John Singleton documentary, L.A. Burning: The Riots 25 Years Later, brought back so many memories that I have written a whole entry for the book I have been working on, even though it did not affect my music career, although it did bring "Where's The Fire?," a song that Tisa and I had written a few years before, to the forefront of our set lists with kind of an awe-factor.
Seeing footage and hearing stories that were new to me was haunting, knowing that I had driven to work on the big day of the rioting (the day after it began) and then sent straight home, going 80 MPH on I-10 through downtown, something no one could or would ever do again because of the constant traffic. There was no one on the road. NO ONE. Eerily empty. Coming back as quick as possible to get into my safe neighborhood, even though we were only blocks away from much of the burning down of shopping areas, I got off of the freeway at my usual exit, where there were some vehicles, and was horrified to see looting going on at the gas station at the traffic signal. Of course, no car on THAT road was paying any attention to traffic lights because no one wanted to get pulled out of their cars and beaten. It was total mayhem. And totally frightening.
My neighborhood was totally mixed: all races and ages and everyone got along (except for the lady who lived 2 doors down from me and across the street from my friend Mike, who always yelled at everyone to shut up, even in the middle of the day on a Saturday!) so we were all checking in on each other. Terry and Sandy, across the street, invited everyone over for daily BBQs since no one was supposed to leave their neighborhoods, especially after hours, since the city was on lock down, Marshall Law. The younger people checked in on the older people, especially Mrs. D, a Chicago born 1st generation American whose parents immigrated from Poland and Ruby, a 90+ black woman who grew up right in Los Angeles and said "Honey, I lived through the Watts Riots, we will all be just fine." Terry's Mom and aunts and uncles lived in one of the duplexes across the street and were very afraid. We all made sure everyone had food and felt safe. Our neighborhood was like what America is - mixed - and we all pulled together and shared our fears and whatever we had to help each other. None of us could believe that the grocery store and other businesses just three blocks away were completely gone, burned down. We could see the black smoke in the east traveling west toward us then past us, the destruction just unreal. It was like we were living in a movie scene of mass destruction. It was a terrible time of injustice in the world, not just in Los Angeles, but the acts of violence toward innocent people was completely uncalled for. People who had nothing to do with any of the cause of the riots lost their lives. People who lived good lives lost loved ones for no good reason. The injustice continued onto the streets with mob mentality. I was there. It was sad and scary. It was part of our history and the rioting solved nothing. The rioting took the true problem away from people's minds. The true problem was police brutality and racial discrimination. And today we still have these problems in our country. Rioting solves nothing.
This week, besides watching this doc, I have also been reading / listening to 2 books, one written by old friend Carmine Appice and the other a book about L.A. Punk from 1977-1982, those first years I moved to and lived in Los Angeles, by John Doe but with contributions by people I knew back then. It has been a week of shocks of memories flooding my brain, hurting my heart and making my heart warm at the same time, filling me with such a strange feeling of remembrance, melancholy, longing as well as feeling as though I really AM in the autumn of my life.
Back from Grand Targhee and wow, we had a blast! We had almost a foot of new snow every morning and the powder was awesome although the visibility was awful - someone said "That's why they call it Grand Foggy!" - but I did enjoy not just being there and performing with the band, but seeing friends from last year, new snow and skiing! The view from my room was beautiful
and even the decor in the room was cute and ski-themed!
Both days of shows were so much fun, what great people work there and play there! Saw my friend Chris who was there last year
and he took a great photo of the band that we are now using as a promo pic! (THANKS CHRIS!!!!)
It was so foggy on the mountain on Sunday morning, that after I got some freshies I decided to pack it up and try to make it back to Powder Mountain for their last day of the season.
And made it for a few runs
and some fun with my ski buddies!
Having too much fun. (OPEN YOUR EYES, CHE!!!)
The photos got blurrier and blurrier as the day progressed!
Fun times, but now it is time for spring.
Another wonderful day. I connected with my home boys, at Snowbasin, for lunch and a quick get together during their ski trip here in Utah, where they are skiing 5 resorts in 5 days! Today was perfect! We had a wonderful lunch outside in the sunshine, but didn't take too much time away from their logging in miles and altitude! Here I am with Paul
Dave was on a golf trip to Italy that my folks also attended with a group of golfers from our area, which also included a visit to Vatican City where they all MET the Pope, John Paul II. (I know, wow!) So it was a fun and heart warming afternoon for me!
Today is also a big day for birthdays! Tisa turns 29 again, and my friends Trevor, Scott, Peter, Austin, Lexie, Liza and Joe all celebrate their big days today too, but it's the biggest day for my little pumpkin, Bisou, AKA (thanks to Jessica Bryant) "Pea Soup!" She turns 12 today and wanted nothing to do with the fresh tuna I put in her bowl. Just wanted her kibble, treats and milk! So that is what she got!
That's all for today! Except anyone in Idaho or Wyoming, I'll be in Grand Targhee this weekend with the trio, Wildflower Moon! We will be playing at the Trap Bar 4-7pm on Friday and Saturday, so stop in after skiing that powder that is supposed to fall in excess this weekend! Would love to see ya!
What a fun weekend of music! At my last Deer Valley, EBS Lounge show, I noticed a couple that looked familiar and voila, my friend John and Isa had traveled from SoCal to ski Deer Valley and just happened to come into the lounge while I was playing. We all hung out in Mammoth Lakes while skiing at Mammoth Mountain years ago, before I moved to Utah, and hadn't kept in touch too much, but are so happy to be reconnected!
I am so happy that we recognized each other after chatting about how we all looked so familiar to each other!
The next day my band, Wildflower Moon, played in the sunshine on the Plaza Deck at Snowbird and really had a blast. Here are a few pics, thanks to Rod, of the crowd
and our stage,
(yes, that is me on stage with the red hat, tuning my pink guitar!). We also had the pleasure of meeting our new biggest fan, Pablo, who comes from Spain and really was having a blast at the show. Drummer Rod may be out of a job soon!
We hope to be back there sometime this summer! Thanks to both resorts for continuing to book me and my band!
This weekend the band heads to Grand Targhee Resort in Wyoming, so if any of you happen to be skiing or riding there, or happen to be in Jackson over the weekend, come out to see us at the Tap Bar right at the resort! We will be rocking out!!!!
Spring has sprung, kind of, with a little bit of summer and a little bit more of winter! When Punxatawney Phil said 6 more weeks of winter, I don't think he meant ONLY 6 more weeks! And also, for WHAT AREA of the world? Not JUST Pennsylvania, right? Here are a few pics from just the other day!
The creeks are all raging and making rivers and tributaries, because the snow is melting! It sounds wonderful too! The elk are out,
the sunsets are extraordinary,
and it's the perfect time to take nice, long, neighborhood walks up and down the streets!
I LOVE this kind of weather!
My CD is ALMOST completed! Earlier this month I went to Los Angeles and was able to finish my parts of recording vocals and any guitar parts that I needed to do, and now we just have a few more bass and guitar parts, mixing, mastering and then pressing the CD for distribution. Its all so exciting since I have been trying to work on this for years, and finally a year ago began the process of picking the songs and deciding who would be the best person for me to record with. (Ed Tree!) The whole lengthy process, only because of my infrequent travels to Los Angeles, has taken more than a year, but I am so pleased with how everything is sounding. And at the moment, I will be giving you all 16 songs! Some have been recorded before but in a different way, and two of them are written by friends. My next job is to figure out the order of the tunes for the CD as well as start getting the photos and cover art together along with credits and those details that many people don't realize are a bit part of the whole pathway to making a recording. I have a working title, but will not release that info until it is more in pen than pencil.
Stay tuned for more news!!!