September in New England

Jim's WaldenWe are looking forward to our September return to the Greater Boston area for my loving daughter’s nuptials at Fruitlands, the summer home of Louisa May Alcott, at what I think of as the most beautiful month of year in New England, when the light is low and filtered and summer is softly waning. There is a stillness at this time of year- almost a breath held in anticipation of the change in seasons to come- with little hints of fall in the occasional dropped red or orange leaf during warm days and cool nights. Dear friend Jim Beatrice painted this beautiful feeling into his depiction of the cove at Walden Pond, where Jim and I spent countless hours in 2010 and 2011, where Kathy and I met for the first time and life came into full bloom. This painting hangs in our bedroom here in Malibu, and reminds us of our Yankee ancestry and our roots in New England. We are very excited about the celebration, our return and the chance to see family and friends.

The Boston-area van Gogh performances are coming around again in Spring 2017, and hopefully the boys and I will convene in Los Angeles between now and then. We are still working through the details on that one. Our target dates for Boston fall around the weekend of April 22nd.

In the meantime, I am holding fast to our new life here in Malibu, meeting new friends almost every week through our growing Composers Breakfast Club of Malibu, led by composer, producer, founding Oingo Boingo member, and all-around Renaissance man Richard Gibbs. What began as a little impromptu meet-up of 2-6, now averages 30+ with an occasional special guest speaker. This is just one of the wonderful aspects of life here, and I feel so blessed and fortunate to be part of it all. Thank you old friend and award-winning composer Michael Levine who introduced me into this talented and supportive community as soon as we arrived. As I write, I am looking forward to seeing the famed and talented Peter Asher (Beatles, James Taylor) who will join us this week.

Later this fall, Kathy and I will return to the UK and Spain, another bit of homecoming for me, and an exciting change of pace after a tumultuous year of construction, displacement and intensive business activities including a major consulting assignment, the sale of Audiam, a digital music publishing company I helped create to SOCAN, follow-up work on the sale of TuneCore to Believe Digital, and recently, the investigation of another assignment to accelerate growth and profitability for a nascent but well-positioned music licensing company. Each of these situations came from the work I’ve done in music, both directly and indirectly, and several of them came with opportunities to re-establish relationships with people I’ve met over the last 25 years. Very rewarding.

My LA music endeavors have focused primarily on co-writing this year and look to stay that way until 2017. The greatest joy for me has been working with young established and up-and-coming writers, and my continued co-writing with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame writer John Durrill. My ensemble work with Voices of van Gogh is on hiatus indefinitely as Scarlet tours with Rolling Thunder colleague Eric Anderson and John concentrates on the van Gogh pairing project with the Getty Museum. I am uncertain what is in store for me for new live performing opportunities here on the West Coast, only because I haven’t decided on a direction yet. On the publishing side, I had a very good recent quarter with television uses, and I recently signed with Heavy Hitters for new compositions co-written with John Durrill for our “Next Great American Song” project. I’ve managed to build a powerful musical foundation with fantastic alliances since I started my migration to LA five years ago. My tea bag fortune recently was, “Let things come to you,” so I’ve decided to practice that for now, which is a big change from how I’ve approached things up to this point. We shall see how it all unfolds!

One sad postscript… We lost another Renaissance man in late July. Sandy Pearlman, who recruited me into eMusic in 1998 after spending a year educating me about music and the internet, passed away at age 72. Sandy had a profound effect on my life, and, indirectly, on the lives of millions as producer of Blue Oyster Cult (he was also one of the writers of “Don’t Fear the Reaper”), Black Sabbath, The Clash, The Dictators, Space Team Elektra and many others. Sandy loved Harvard Square and (now defunct) Mile High Pie, was a professor at McGill, a Woodrow Wilson Fellow scholar at Brandeis, and an item with Patti Smith for several years. Sandy also spoke fluent Italian, among many other talents. It was a blast to go out for Italian food with him in New York. Sandy shrugged off great tragedy in his personal life and gave generously to his wife and to his mother before losing them both within a few short years of each other. Go well, Sandy.

Well,  I think that’s about enough for news here. As I read back over the paragraphs, it looks about as busy as I feel. I’m so glad I wrote about boogie-boarding last month, because since then I’ve been getting out several times a week so I’m feeling the summer here in Malibu- just in time for fall!

Happy Labor Day to all and I look forward to seeing and hearing from you in the weeks ahead.