Welcome to the December, “year end” edition of “O”vertones for 2017!!! It is with a grateful heart that I extend a sincere “THANK YOU” to everyone who helped to make 2017 a fantastic year, by supporting the new CD, “A Bright Horizon Line”, as well as all of my tour dates in the eight months since its release.
As I look back, I am reminded that at this very time last year, I was nearing completion of my very first Kickstarter campaign, in a mad scramble to reach my goal, so that I could fully fund a new CD. As most of you know from reading my monthly musings – the campaign was a success, and I spent a late January weekend recording with Neale Eckstein in Sudbury, MA. “ABHL” came into the world on April 1st of this year, making its debut on the Folk DJ Charts in the Top 20 albums for that month. The CD also received critical acclaim from several publications – all of which is very important. But I will admit without apology, that finally achieving a long standing goal of receiving a review in No Depression Magazine – nonetheless a stellar one – was truly a highlight of my year. The material on the new album seems to have connected with listeners in both live concert, and recorded format, and continues to receive airplay on Folk and Roots radio. As of this writing, “ABHL” has been included on the list of year end favorites by Chris Kocher, host of The Signal on WHRW in Binghamton, and was also included among the incredible-too-many-to-mention company of the album selections for No Depression Magazine’s Year End Readers Poll. More to come, hopefully…..
As I alluded to in my November newsletter, I am currently “home for the holidays”, and well into the new year, performing locally for the most part, and less frequently until the roads are a bit clearer for safe travel. Although….. I did receive an offer the other day for a co-billed show in February at a venue in Oxford, NY, which is just outside of the Binghamton area, so I may be hitting the highway sooner than originally planned. Stay tuned for details….
On December 29th, I will make my 141st, and final live performance for 2017. I have covered so many miles, at a wide ranging variety of venues this past year – from bars and restaurants, to tasting rooms at wineries, distilleries, and breweries, to coffeehouses, concert clubs, listening rooms, house concerts, farmer’s markets, a streaming webcast, and showcase slots at a music conference. Making new friends, seeing dear and old ones, and experiencing so many of the landscapes that weave the fabric of this country – all result from a life in music, which fortunately connects me to so many people, and takes me to places that I believe no other career ever could, or with as much satisfaction. I awake each morning, deeply grateful for this journey.
And, so it seems, that 2018 is shaping up to be another busy year in my little world of being a touring songwriter, with 61 dates already scheduled. Among these will be a greater number of house concerts, forays into new territory, returns to favorite haunts, and a newly minted songwriter’s series which I will be hosting in a monthly residency. More on that later in the newscast, but first, a recap….
On November 30th, I hosted my 3rd annual “Davey O. & Friends” concert to benefit The Food Bank of WNY. With any project that needs to be nurtured and grown, tweaks are made along the way, and hopefully, those changes will lead to success in the form of incremental progress along the way. Among the tweaks made to this year’s event, were to change the show day to a Thursday from Sunday, an hour earlier start time from 8 pm to 7 pm, individual sets by the performing artists as opposed to an “in the round” format, and in an effort to make it more of an interactive event, we added a basket raffle, and a 50/50 raffle.
When I reached out for donations to the basket raffle, I was overwhelmed by the incredible generosity displayed in the amount of donations that were made, many at the personal expense of the donors. Between the percentage of what was taken from the tickets, what was raised from the basket raffles, 50/50 draw, and a pair of generous donations from friends, I am delighted to announce that this year’s event raised slightly over $1,000, or over 6,000 meals for those in need the WNY area. This year’s event truly smashed the ceiling in terms of its success!!!
Mark your calendars – the 4th annual “Davey O. & Friends” will be taking place on Thursday, November 29th at The Ninth Ward at Babeville, for the same cause, but with a new lineup, and perhaps another tweak or two!
A bluebird takes up residence…..
At some point during this year, I was introduced by mutual friends to Mark Buell. Mark owns a storefront music lesson center, aptly named, Nickel City Frets. NCF, is located about 25 miles east of the city of Buffalo, in the quaint village of Akron, NY. In addition to offering lessons, Mark started presenting concerts featuring locally based Folk and acoustic music artists in the main room of the store, which, with its rocking chairs, sofas, and varied instruments as wall décor, has the intimate feel of performing in a house concert setting.
Shortly after performing there for the first time in mid-November, Mark reached out to me for advice on ways in which he could grow the live music performance aspect of NCF, perhaps with some regularly scheduled events, such as workshops, a poetry reading night. It wasn’t long before I came up with the idea for a once a month, “songwriters in the round” series. Named “The Bluebird Sessions” in honor of The Bluebird Café - the famous singer songwriter venue located in Nashville, TN, I will be hosting these shows, which will take place beginning Friday, March 23rd, and will continue throughout the year on the third Thursday of each month. An early start time of 7:00 pm, along with an affordable cover of $10, and some of the best local and regional songwriting talent, should make this series something that will have local fans of the Contemporary and Traditional Folk, Americana, and singer songwriter genres marking their monthly calendar for. Our goal is to provide a family friendly, alcohol-free, setting for music lovers of all ages to enjoy and discover new artists, to build this series into something that becomes a buzzed about “place to be”, and brings residents from Buffalo, as well as surrounding communities in to support both local, and touring artists, and most importantly - a small business and local venue!
Most of these shows will feature three additional solo artists, along with the occasional duo, and whenever possible, the split of the artists will be evenly gendered, including yours truly as host. Since announcing the series a couple of weeks ago, I have received numerous submissions from interested artists. Between those submissions, and reaching out to ones I know personally would be a good fit for the series, the response has been outstanding. A handful of available slots remain, and those who have already confirmed dates will make up what should prove to be a stellar lineup for this inaugural season!!! Among the confirmed artists include – Carolann Solebello, Debra Cowan, Eric Lee, Rob Lytle, Louise Mosrie, Jane Fallon, Rupert Wates, Jerry Falzone, Maria Sebastian, and Savannah King. Several of these artists are critically acclaimed songwriters, who have won awards for their work at festivals, as well as in major songwriting competitions. Google their names, and see why!!!
The complete schedule (please mark your calendar if I am coming your way!!!), along with what remains for 2017, is available at – www.daveyo.com/tour
At this time, I thank you once again for making 2017 a wonderful year in which to make music. We are at a time when gathering in community, and support for all the arts – is needed more than ever. May the light of expression which resides in those who use their voices, pen, or their paintbrush, pencil, or chisel to share their views of the world in which we live, never be dimmed.
I can only hope that my songs have found a sympathetic reflection in your world, and have touched, and/or inspired you in some way. With wishes for a Happy Holiday season, a Merry Christmas, and all the best in the coming year!!!!
In gratitude - Davey O.