sub header

These words are my diary screaming out loud

Friday, May 11, 2012

Some things I get to be proud of

First, just to get it out of the way (and this is not included in the things I got to be proud of)... Anyone who's turned on a TV or picked up a newspaper or been on Facebook in the past few days knows that the conversation has been dominated by conversation about gay marriage. I blogged about my thoughts on this topic back in late 2010, and I don't feel the need to rehash those points again.

Now that that's out of the way, moving on to the REAL topic I wanted to talk about. Anyone who knows me or who has been reading this blog for any period of time knows that I'm a huge music nerd, always have been and probably always will be. I've also always sang, and written off and on for a large majority of my life. I took the "sensible route" and never really pursued singing, which I can't say I completely regret, but I definitely get that slight pang of jealousy when I see someone else on stage and think I should be doing that, and I definitely get a huge rush when I do get the chance to sing on a stage, even if its karaoke. For the most part, though, I'm OK with the fact that most of my singing will be done in my car. I have several friends, some closer than others, who took the giant leap and have pursued their dreams, and I love nothing more than the chance to help them do so and the feeling of pride I feel when they do well. I've two such opportunities this week that I want to share.

First of all, Tony Lucca came in 3rd place on the The Voice this week. I, along with I'd assume a good chunk of 10 year old girls in 1990, had a HUGE crush on Tony when he was on the Mickey Mouse Club, and when I first got to meet him in 2007, I had one of my very few star-struck moments. I've had the pleasure of getting to see Tony play many times since then, and, because he's the type of guy to do so, getting to know him a little bit as a fan as well. So I, along with many of my friends in the Rock Boat family, felt nothing short of huge amounts of pride not only with Tony's amazing run on the show, but also because of the amazing class he showed in dealing with the drama that was Christina Aguilera. If you haven't heard anything of Tony other than what you saw on the Voice, do yourself a favor and go get some of his original music. Its all on iTunes, and I think you can still find his latest album on for free (with the option of paying what you want).

The other opportunity to be proud this week, while smaller in scale, was HUGE for me. When I met Amy Gerhartz back in 2005, she was playing coffee shops and restaurants in the Norfolk, VA area and working a day job at a music venue just waiting for the right show to convince her bosses to let her be the opening act. That chance came in December that year, when Jason Mraz and Better Than Ezra were playing. I was in the audience that night, and while I had met her once before, I fell in love with her music based on the short set she played. We became fast friends, even though within a few months both of us had moved out of the area - me to DC for the next Navy job, and Amy to New York in pursuit of her dreams. In the past seven years, I've watched Amy do everything she could to get herself out there. I've seen her play in seedy bars, do residencies in swanky NYC restaurants, move to Atlanta in hopes of breaking into the amazing independent scene there, work day jobs she hated to make ends meet, have deals and opportunities dangled in front of her only to have them not work out, but still continue on and grow in every possible way. Last spring, she released a five song EP, with the promise of more to come. The first time I heard those five songs I was in the car with Amy, and I couldn't even express how proud I was of her.

Since she moved to Atlanta, Amy's been able to gain exposure to a wide variety of people who have done pretty well at advancing the careers of independent musicians. That's how she ended up working with her producer, the amazing Brian Fechino, known also to many as a phenomenal guitarist. And I'll take a little bit of credit, although Brian may have had more influence, with getting Amy's name to the folks over at Rock By The Sea - I'd been suggesting her to them for a long time, and this year they booked her for their annual fundraiser festival. I was supposed to go down to Panama City Beach for the event, but between the new job and the trip to see my sister and her family that I have coming up, I just couldn't make it happen. But I got an email halfway through it from one of the organizers telling me that Amy was a hit, so I knew I couldn't wait to hear from her how it had gone.

Turns out, saying that she was a hit was an understatement. Apparently, Ken Block, the lead singer of Sister Hazel, was among many who fell in love with Amy at this event. He had seen her play and heard her music before, but apparently she went to a new level for him at this event. He gave her a shout out from stage during Sister Hazel's show. He led the crowd in getting her to play an encore during her show. Basically, he was her biggest fan, and made sure everyone knew it. Amy sold more merchandise than just about anyone at the event. She gained countless new fans. And all of this is just ahead of the release of the second of her five song EPs.

I am SO INCREDIBLY PROUD of Amy. Words don't even begin to express it. I told her I was going to start living vicariously through her, because only good things can come from here on out. The only way that I can really think of to show how proud I am of her is to tell you all to go buy her music!! The Volume 1 EP is available on itunes or you can order hard copies through her website. Volume 2 is coming soon (should be available for download at all the usual spots on May 15th) but until then you can listen to samples of the songs here or here. And she'll be touring soon, so keep your eyes open for dates in your area. And in general, because I have a feeling Amy's going places.

No comments: