When A Man Breaks A Woman’s Heart.

Mike Reid was a Pro Football player. (I didn’t know that). Mike Reid co-wrote “I Can’t Make You Love Me” , the tune that Bonnie Raitt recorded and Hornsby played piano on . (I found out about him from that record).
Well, a couple years ago Reid released a project called “New Direction Home”. It’s an introspective set of tunes about relationships. This guy is such a great writer/stylist. You don’t hear him on any radio and I’m guessing he just plays small venues, but, what a treasure.  Hope you get a chance to explore his writing. Here’s my favorite from last nights late set. (The camera is on autopilot so it moves to motion;) and the two girls to my left were moving :))

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Young and Foolish

I first heard this tune decades ago when I purchased the Tony Bennett Bill Evans record. The lyrics haunted me as a 30 yr old. I thought of my grandparents as I’d sit up late spinning this disk.

And now, through the years of entertaining folk, pop, country, and gospel, I had never dreamt of playing or singing these American Standards I loved in private.   There was never a real viable market for these tunes in the dance club days unless you just wanted to play a piano bar, sip Cognac or play a jazz club after your day job.  Well, playing dance clubs just don’t interest me any longer.  I’m loving doing the VintageBilly.com Billy Joel intimate “one man” Tribute and have decided this style would be the “other” style I play out unless it’s an original showcase.

Hope you enjoy this  Albert Hague and  Arnold B. Horwitt classic. This was my first rundown of the chart I had just finished. (Make a few changes, play it 50 more times and I’ll be ready to go:)

And, no, I’m still feeling young and foolish at heart. Ask my bride:)

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Italian Wedding

Had a great night out at my favorite vineyard. It was the marriage and pairing of a local Italian Chef and the Vineyards wines. Here’s a clip of an old classic sung in the traditional style.

And another Bennett classic from the evening.

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Learning a Lullaby, Testing a Mevo, Taking my Steroids:)

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Dates Coming This Week

I”ll be posting my first 3 dates for the VintageBilly Tribute this next week.

  1. There will be a pre-sell event at Buena Serra’s Restaurant in Champlain/B.Park area. We are working out details now. It will be a fixed Prix dinner menu with my set after dinner while you’re all relaxing with a glass of red or white or rose’. 🙂    The food is amazing, the wine list is very fair, and the chef-owner is one of my dearest friends of 35yrs. We will make it a cool night together.
    Who knows who will show up for dinner and a ticket. Price is not fixed yet, but Chanhassen is 60 bucks for nowhere near the food, vibe, and Billy songs done without the SNL vibe. In fact, I saw the Billy/Elton show last night at Chanhassen by my self.  I  spent my $80. on dinner and drinks with the 300 others at that sold out show. I went home at halftime.
    So if you like classic Billy and good food, this will be quite a nite. Be sure to like the new VintageBilly site on FB so we can let you know when events are. https://www.facebook.com/vintagebilly . If this night sells out quick we just might have to make it a regular hang.


I’ll have my full setlist I’m working from posted on the new FB page soon  This way you can see what tunes I’m considering to work from.

Stay tuned.
Look forward to seeing you:)


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“Vintage Billy”

1981 Frankfurt GDR

COMING SOON:  A Vintage Billy Joel Tribute…

Back in ’79 I was reading my bi-annual “Rootbeer Rag” newspaper from the Billy Joel.  He was talking about his move from NY to CA and how he changed his name and began playing piano bars to run away from his NY “problem”.  This adversity created the piano man album and Billy spoke of how it changed his concept of playing piano and writing.
I quit my band that year and decided to go solo.  First to Alaska where only gold miners and hookers would hear me, and then to Germany to begin forcing myself to play out of the “American Songbook”.

Now some 30 years later the live trend has moved to tribute bands across the country.
So since I did most of these tunes in the day,  I’ll be redoing some classics now in a one hour review.  First alone on the piano in smaller venues,  and then with a larger band when I feel the space needs a band.

Stay tuned as I book my first few shows this spring.


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Gigging in a Brave New World

Well as fall rolls around and I begin looking at the end of my first year back playing music after 17 years away from my solo show, I think of what I’ve done and what I’d like to do.

ctogershwinThere have been the mixed “american song book” gigs on keyboards, with all the old 60’s to 90’s pop stuff.  The acoustic guitar gigs revisiting all the 60’s to 90’s folk music I’ve played over the years.  The original gigs doing just my own writings on keys and guitar, the pop gigs that end with two sets of thumping dance music. And now I’m developing some corporate gigs again and looking back at that clientel that I enjoyed so much in the past.

Here’s the rub friends… How do you book all these types of gigs except by clubs and owners having heard and seen what you do and say,  “your back?”  Yea, we know who you “were” and yea, we want dates doing “x” style that you can do… like you do.

2014-07-14 20.00.35

So how will YOU know what I’m doing.. when I’m doing it?  Well, check my ReverbNation site and see what that gig listing tells you about what I’m doing.  Also you can Email me or message me on FB and ask me about a specific date.   So whether in my jeans and cowboyhats  with bleached beard to look older 🙂  or clean shaven in a tux with a scarf, I hope to see you soon out there where live music lives in the hearts of folks like you and I and we just cant survive without it.



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Gettin Ready for Montana

Welcome !

This month as I prepare for my trip to Montana this year, I leave you with a link to my final blog from last years trip.  Photos and Videos of the rivers I fish and the places I see.

IMAG0302This year I’m trying something different. I love cowboy music, and decided that since we’re gonna attempt to move to the Big Sky country in the next few … ? , that I’d start to develop a good set of Cowboy songs as done by old cowboy friends of mine “Riders In The Sky” and “Sons of the SanJoaquin”. So besides all my pop, jazz, folk and original gigs, I’d add a gig of Cowboy Stuff and begin marketing it to the High End fishing lodges and for the tourist events, (since most the people are tourists that go out over 25..) I’ll have some recordings of those tunes up on my app. soon, so stay tuned for what Ranger Doug would say “the cowboy way”..

Be sure to get my app for apple and android… it’s the fastest way to findout where I’m gigging from your phone without coming here or to your main computer. The app is sized for smart phones..

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Soul Man (writing in my dining room)

Welcome, here’s a new tune written this winter that I’ve not performed live yet! For lyrics and more info on this song, check out my 6yr blog : 

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Aug.20th 2013

When Nature Touches Art
A reprint from: http://craigtolson.blogspot.com/

I was walking in a silent and still snow storm.  At my side in euphoric joy was my giant black schnoodle Sophia. Covered in white snowflakes the size of dimes we slowly walked the giant tree lined streets in a rising foot of fresh snow. There as I turned a sharp corner I put my headsets on and hit play.   The hundred year old oak trees completely covered the street  from both sides and they were piled with three to four inches of powder on them. It was more than I’d ever seen in 57 winters.   A solo trumpet began to play as the giant snowflakes fell in the still night.  It was Chris Botti playing “Ave Maria” with the orchestra.  It was truly a religious moment. Gods Nature touching mans art. I’d never really had it all come together like that in all my travels. I froze in place and let that moment wash over me, never to be forgotten. For there are millions spent to create moments in movies like this,  but in real life it’s rare to experience.
And then there is “A River Runs Through It”.   If you’ve read my blogs over the years, I make reference to this movie.  As a life long fly fisherman and one who wants their remains spread over the holy mountain streams of Montana, the movie is pretty special. And so I watched it again last night. In the land behind my home with a projector and screen and a friend.  78degrees, light breeze, big stereo monitors and my tent right there for sleeping in and staring at the stars throughout the night. . These are the words I wrote as i sat.
“And The moon was full. Shining through the  oaks that swayed in the breeze. Awash in the warm gentle sounds of crickets and trains in the night I sit.  And from my seat in the long grass I stare at a nine foot screen in the distance.  Digital images and sound mixing with  the natural elements of perfect summer night. 
And there it was..
The rhythm of a butterscotch cane rod dancing over the glistening waters and calling my soul. Where the gentle strings brought  forth waters.  Waters that came from the river that runs through my soul , and are replenished by the mix of the sweet and bitter moments of life.”
And I now sit in silent stars and  think of the times where “God made” touches “man made” through nature and our lives. It’s the first cry from a childs lungs, it’s the last sigh from a dying friend. It’s the free ticket to the secret ballet of music and dance that we left on the night stand as we picked up the remote and closed our windows for another evening of air conditioned cable. For if it’s the things we’ve done that haunt us in life, it’s as well the things we’ve missed that bring us pain.
   And in the end, what remains is what we leave behind. Never the things; for surely they will perish.  And all that remain are the seeds we planted of love, that were watered with the tears of our fears, faith and hope. Hope of a clearer and more honest picture of life and life more abundant for those we leave behind.
And my songs? They are slower now, and my words are sharper. I  hug my friends longer, kiss with more passion and say I’m sorry more often.  I curse more and worship deeper. I accept more as normal and reject less as perfect.
And all that remain are the seeds we planted of love, that were watered with the tears of our fears, faith and hope. Hope of a clearer and more honest picture of life and life more abundant for those we leave behind.
on the eve of my 57th year


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