Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Musical beginnings

As a child, I sang myself to sleep every night. After a round of early flute lessons, (Mrs. Rowe) and school chorus, (Ms Randall) I learned guitar from Albert Tulipani and piano from George Lehman. And from the first, I wrote songs & poems.

I started playing and singing in public when I was a freshman in high school. (Those high school talent shows.) Played a lot during college where I was a music major for three years. Every weekend, I played in little country churches and coffeehouses in proximity to Philadelphia, under the name Misti.

In the 80s I played near here often at a place called the Branchville Junction (which used to be a bar but is now and antique shop), as well as quite a few other places around here including some bars and private parties. For a couple of months at one point I used the name Sneakers Brady.

In my travels, I got double booked, sang though pretzel fights in a college bar etc. Once down in Milford, I had a bar stool kicked out from under me right after the only gig of a band I was in for a while (called the Hammertown Project) Once at the little Branchville Junction, which was usually a quiet spot, a fight broke out - they threw the guy out into the parking log and locked the door until the police came. I just kept singing while people hollered and a chair or two fell over. What the heck...  My very last paid gig before giving it up for a decade was in hotel bar where two guys who were drunk out of their minds and danced together despite the fact that I am not really a dance band! Go figure.

When I lived in North Conway, NH (around 1990), and was working as a reporter there, I used to play my songs at an open mic at a little coffee bar called ZUM ZUM's. This open mic was really open -- to poetry and monologue as well as music.

North Conway was a great trip with musicians like Dickie Tilton and Peter White and poets like Arizona Zipper who read his amazing Haiku off a match-book while Dickie Tildon improvised on the keyboard. There was a fine group of poets there who called themselves the White Mountain Poets. I have some good memories of my time in that place. The photo was taken in North Conway, New Hampshire by a colleague at Jackson Square's USO Night.

Now here it is 2010. Let it be a year of music.