Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Serenity Gardens (12.18.17)

Rocking in a winter wonderland, at Serenity Gardens. Photo by Kat.

Even a short hiatus from playing live can throw a musician off his/her game a little bit. My last show was on November 28, and it was just a couple of days later that the tell-tale signs of a bad cold started coming on. That cold ended up hitting me like a brick and progressing into a chest/sinus infection shortly thereafter. Thanks to the miracles of modern medicine, I was back on my feet pretty quickly, but in the meantime I had to cancel a couple of shows... it's hard to sing with a hacking cough, as you'd imagine.

That made me all the more appreciative to see a good-sized crowd gathering for my return to Serenity Gardens in Second Life. It had been a somewhat rough day, even as far as Mondays go. I got a call from an old friend who let me know that a former business colleague of ours, a gentleman named Richard Ruse, had passed away due to complications stemming from an aggressive form of cancer. I don't know how old Richard was, but he always seemed like a young guy to me; he was maybe 60 or so, if that. It saddened me greatly because Richard was truly one of the good guys... hilariously funny, super smart, and both an admirable businessman and a phenomenal musician. We'd worked at the same company in the '90s, when I was in my twenties. We'd discussed partnering our respective sales/marketing companies in the mid-2000s. Learning of his death was like a part of my youth having been ripped out from under my feet.

But as a fellow musician -- and I know this to be true -- the best way to honor a man like that is by performing music in his memory. So, amidst a bunch of other music I played, I dedicated one song to Richard (James Taylor's "Fire and Rain"). I didn't want to dwell on it or bring down the otherwise festive mood at the show, but I knew it was the right thing to do. I'm glad I did; I feel a little more at peace with his passing today than I would have otherwise.

All photos by Kat Claxton.

Speaking of the show... damn, for having been on hiatus for close to three weeks (most of which I was completely unable to sing and barely touched my guitar), it went really, really well. Serenity Gardens was all decked out in winter/holiday decor. I threw on a Santa hat for the occasion. We had a good crowd right from the start. Also, love them or hate them, there are certain songs that one can do this time of year that aren't even considered at other times. I'm not just talking about Christmas songs. You simply look stupid playing "Long December" in August.

Serenity Gardens set list...
This Afternoon (Zak Claxton)
Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth (Traditional/David Bowie)
Jane (Barenaked Ladies)
Ashes to Ashes (David Bowie)
California (Joni Mitchell)
Falling Down (Zak Claxton)
Pink Moon (Nick Drake)
From the Beginning (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
Holly Jolly Christmas (Burl Ives)
Long December (Counting Crows)
Pretty Pimpin’ (Kurt Vile)
Fire & Rain (James Taylor)
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Blane/Martin)
Serenity Improv (Zak Claxton)

Big thanks to each and every person who came out to the show last night, with special thanks to the following who helped support it!
ErikKottzen Resident, Triana Caldera, Snow Carrasco, Robert69 Little, RoxxyyRoller Resident, go2smoky Resident, Kat Claxton, Asimia Heron, TheaDee Resident, Bob43 Silversmith, Tyche Szondi, my happy manager Maali Beck, and the great management team of Serenity Gardens, Tilly Rose and Ilsa Wilde!

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