I was looking forward to returning to the friendly confines of Godfrey Daniels for First Night, the annual multigenerational folk show. This year, I had to reconfigure the concept with Dina Hall’s absence. But, I’m glad I trusted my instincts by booking myself with emerging songwriter Rachel Marie with her wonderfully quirky (and self-effacing dad) Bill Schachter. It turned out to be one of the nicest New Year’s evenings I’ve shared in recent memory.

I did a kids’ show to start off with at 7 pm. There was one kid, a highly charged boy named Charlie. I, thankfully, knew what I was dealing with, so, with only a handful of folks in the house at the time, I was able to attend to him while talking about my recent explorations in TA techniques. Scarves, etc. But I was able to get Charlie involved in a reasonable way, engage the adults and talk about what I do. After four sets the day before, I negotiated this gig with one kid in a good manner, and then took 15 minutes to get ready for two sets of adult material.

The hard work was done for now.

Bill, Rachel and I did two sets in a round robin, two songs and pass it on. The format was great. I started out with Green, Green Rocky Road to get folks singing and away we went. Rachel and I did Soar, a tune I played on her earlier.y CD, and it was refreshingly bright. From there on, the onstage banter and chat among us was quite entertaining and full of wit. That was no surprise, upon reflection. The interactions were quite breathtaking and full of love. It was, for me (and once again), an amazing personal and spiritual experience to sit in between two such amazing friends, a father and daughter and my fellow artists in front of an appreciative audience. It can only happen here, on this stage.

Each of us took some chances tonight, and that’s what I really got out of the show. And a fine show it was!

Rachel is an amazing songwriter and vocalist, dealing with life-style and career challenges while my friend Bill is dealing with serious health issues. Both of them addressed some heavy stuff tonight with humor and directness that is signature for both of them. And they pulled it off with integrity, class and musical craft. That gains my utmost respect for them both. 

I had a great time being the glue. I got to play Green, Green, Rocky Road, Santa Assassin, Lessons from Pete, a Bruce Cockburn instrumental Foxglove and others, and finished with, appropriately, Don’t Call Me Early in the Morning. We got a big round of applause at the end and left the stage satisfied with a very nice evening of music at the end of the 2018.

I couldn’t think of a better way to exit this year, stageright at Godfrey Daniels.