Friday, June 23, 2017

My Cape Cod Roots

            I feel that I was born at the absolute best time to appreciate Cape Cod for all that it is and was.  I am old enough to remember things ‘the way they used to be’, yet young enough to enjoy the way things are.  For those who are dying to know, I was born in 1977.  I straddle the line between generations that gives me insight into two worlds.  I am of the age where I was able to see and experience a little bit of Olde Cape Cod and watch as my home changed and adapted with the times.

              During my childhood landline telephones and phone booths were common.  I remember waiting for friends to call, and actually having to remember people’s phone numbers.  Yet as an adult I love the convenience and technology of smartphones.  I do not believe I could recite anybody’s phone number today.  However I could still rattle off my old home phone number, my Nana’s number, and a few friends from middle school as well.

            Throughout my childhood I would be tossed outside by my mother during summer to go off and play with my friends, only coming home when it was almost dark.  I do not believe we ever feared being abducted, though I am sure the bad people were not something invented in the last twenty years.  The Cape seemed more innocent though I am sure that it was not.

            I was born at a time when vinyl albums were mainstays.  I had a collection as a seven-year old that might shock people today with artists like Ratt, Twisted Sister, Quiet Riot, Van Halen, and Motley Crue lining my shelves.  Of course I had the first pressing of Michael Jackson’s Thriller as well and used to play it loudly out of my window on my Fisher-Price record player so all of the neighborhood kids could dance in the yard.  I had young hip parents which influenced my style growing up.  However as much as I loved making cassette mixtapes off of stations like Cape 104 and 96.3 The Rose I can honestly say I prefer MP3’s and iTunes to Maxell and Memorex.

            I am old enough to remember walking, or driving, to the video store to rent VHS tapes.  Yet I am young enough to fully enjoy Netflix and Hulu and the instant gratification they provide.  Sure I played Atari 2600 and the original Nintendo but they were bit parts of my childhood.  Admittedly I did spend a good amount of time at the arcade but Rampage wasn’t going to beat itself!  It was a time when walking seemed more common, like after family meals on holidays.  There was always a place to walk as a family.

            I am old enough to have seen the first two schools I attended close.  I went to South Yarmouth Elementary School on Route 28 with Laurence MacArthur as my principal.  The school would eventually bear his name before being closed in 2013 and reopening as a campus for Bridgewater State University in 2015.  I then attended John Simpkins Elementary located on the same plot of land.  It served as the town’s first high school before Dennis-Yarmouth opened in 1957 and housed Grades 3-5 after.  It closed in 2006 and was transformed into the Simpkins School Residences, senior housing, opening in 2014.

            I am old enough to remember the Cape Cod Mall in the days before it expanded.  In those days it was anchored by Woolworth, Filene’s, and Jordan Marsh and had a separate cinema on the property.  I remember spending Friday evenings searching Record Town and Tape World for my next musical interest.  However I am also young enough to enjoy the convenience of what the expanded Mall has brought with so many stores under one roof.

            I am old enough to remember Cape Cod icons such as Thompson’s Clam Bar, Mildred’s Chowder House, Joe Mac’s, and Mill Hill Club.  There were fewer Shaw’s and Stop & Shop’s and more Angelo’s, Purity Supreme, and A&P’s.  I frequented Bassett’s Wild Animal Farm in Brewster and visited the legendary Cape Cod Coliseum, although it was to see Sesame Street On Ice.

            I am old enough to remember the grounding of the 473-foot freighter Eldia at Nauset Beach in 1984 and not believing how big it was.  I saw the breach of North Beach in Chatham in 1987 and am amazed at seeing it healing itself.  Hurricane Bob and the ‘Perfect Storm’ of 1991 made me appreciate the wonders of electricity after losing power for many days.

            My childhood was a time when drive-in theaters were still the norm.  At their peak there were nearly 4,000 drive-in theaters in the United States, as of 2017 that number has dwindled to 338.  The Wellfleet Drive-In is all that remains of their legacy on Cape Cod.  However I have fond memories of being elementary school aged and visiting the Yarmouth Drive-In across from Captain Parker’s Pub.  I was lucky enough to see movies like E.T., Return of the Jedi, and Flash Gordon in the warm summer air.  Other drive-in theaters in Dennis, Hyannis, and Falmouth once dotted the Cape decades ago as well.

            I remember there being more salamanders and fewer turkeys and coyotes.  I was warned about jellyfish stings when stepping into the ocean, Great White sharks not so much.  I remember the noon whistle in Yarmouth scaring me on numerous occasions.  I remember more Friendly’s and fewer Dunkin’ Donuts, Bradlees instead of Walmart.  Cape Cod seemed much larger then.  A family trip to Edaville Railroad in Carver felt like a drive across the country.  Today Chatham, Provincetown, and Falmouth feel an arm’s length away.

            Amazingly for all of the changes I have seen in my time there are some things which remain the same.  The scent of Cape Cod Potato Chips cooking as you pass along the Mid-Cape Highway between Exits 6 and 7.  106 WCOD on the radio.  Delicious ice cream during the summer from places like Four Seas, Lil’ Caboose, and Ice Cream Smuggler.  Kids and families sledding on the golf courses during winter.  The Barnstable County Fair in July, the Cranberry Festival in Harwich in September, the Yarmouth Seaside Festival in October.

            Then there is the natural beauty of Cape Cod.  It is everywhere.  The National Seashore is as close as one can get to how the Cape must have looked when it was first discovered.  Summer drives along the shore routes in Eastham up through Provincetown are heavenly.  Route 6A is a blast to the past with its historic homes and tree shaded scenery, just like I remember as a child.

            Yes I feel I was born as the absolute perfect time when it comes to the history of Cape Cod.  I have watched the Cape change in some ways and stay the same in others.  This is only my story though, what things do you remember about Cape Cod as children?  What changes have you enjoyed?  What changes have you not liked?  Thanks for reading.  

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Chris Cornell & My Life

            Another sad, unnecessary loss.  Another voice that hugely influenced my formative years gone.  I know that I am only one of millions who woke up to the heartbreaking news that legendary frontman Chris Cornell was dead.  It makes it even sadder knowing that likely it was suicide.  It’s like a punch to the gut.  Reminds me a lot of Robin Williams, someone who was so loved and so influential yet could not find their own inner peace.
This was going to start off as a tribute to such a great musician and voice, and it still will, but before that I need to address the ‘how.’
            I saw someone on Twitter write today that ‘depression doesn’t care who you are.’  It is so true.  I have dealt with my own bouts of depression over the years.  The worst one came in 2001-2002.  It was at this point that I was on three different medications to combat this illness that is so hard to describe and so hard for people to see.  It is more than just ‘feeling down.’  It is much deeper than something you can just ‘snap out of.’  It just becomes your life, your own prison that you sit in waiting for another shoe to drop, the shoe that brings you back to who you were.
            For me I had a wake up call when my three medications negatively interacted.  I could not get up from my bed, feeling as if my stomach was full of liquid.  I thought it could be a GI bleed.  911 had to be called and paramedics had to come to get me.  They had to literally unscrew my bedroom door off its hinges to be able to get the stretcher inside and wheel me out.  At the hospital when trying to set me up with an IV the nurse missed the vein and ended up filling much of my right elbow with fluid.  It was a bad scene, I was angry at myself, at my head, that I had allowed this depression to take me down this road to where I was being rushed to the ER due to medication complications.  However that was not my true wake up.
            My aha moment was looking off to the right as I was being wheeled out of my house and seeing my 2-year old niece terrified and upset at what she was seeing.  I had never felt so badly as I did then, knowing that something going on with me caused that fear.  She made me fight it.
            I left the hospital and vowed to never take another pill for depression again.  I quit all three meds cold turkey.  Yes, I have had bouts of depression in the 15 years since, including one this year, but no matter what I try to put it all in perspective and keep going one day at a time.  I was lucky to have family and friends who helped see me through it because I let them know what I was going through.
            The sticking point is that last part.  Those going through depression need to summon that strength to tell someone what you are going through.  If not it can mask itself as someone being busy, or being anti-social, or numerous other things.  The thing is Chris Cornell had people that loved him, his wife and two kids and family beyond that who could have helped.  It may feel like you are weak because you are dealing with depression and asking for help, but it is the opposite.  It takes strength to admit you need a hand in life.  I did it and am here today.
            Chris Cornell joins Scott Weiland, Layne Staley, and my non-family hero Kurt Cobain on the Mount Rushmore of Grunge artists who are now gone.  It is amazing how death hits this genre so often.  He had one of the greatest voices I have ever heard in music.  With an unbelievable range and power that could reach through the speakers and slap you in the face.  I will not going into depth about favorite songs, they will be shared below.  Chris could be soft and soothing, or hard and untamable, back and forth.
            His gift was so strong that he made a name for himself with three different bands, Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, Audioslave, and on his own.  The Seattle scene of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s with Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, and more.  This is the music that I identified with, this is the music I grew up with.  It is sad and yet fitting that the people responsible for creating so much of this music were every bit as flawed and human as me.  This is what made them relatable. 
            I am so sad that Chris Cornell ended his life last night.  His memory will live on in his wife and kids, and of course his music.  Thank you Chris for being a huge part of the years that made me who I am, I will not forget you.  Rest In Peace

            Below I am sharing my ten favorite Chris Cornell tracks, in no particular order.  Take a listen and see why this loss hurts so much.  Thank you.

Soundgarden - Superunknown

Audioslave - I Am the Highway

Chris Cornell - Sunshower

Temple of the Dog - Say Hello 2 Heaven

Soundgarden - Fell On Black Days

Soundgarden - Outshined

Audioslave - Shadow On the Sun

Chris Cornell - Billie Jean

Soundgarden - Rusty Cage

Soundgarden - Birth Ritual

Monday, February 13, 2017

Hurtling Toward Forty

   I had a choice about what to blog about tonight. Either the impending stress load known as Valentine's Day tomorrow, or a more lighthearted subject, namely getting old.
   I am personally not a big fan of Valentine's Day as I think it puts so much unnecessary stress on a relationship, of any stage.  Rather than pull the petals off of a flower for those who might think tomorrow is the ultimate way to show love I will go with option two of the blog.

   I am going to turn forty this year.  That's right the Big 4-0 is barreling down on me like a freight train.  In 262 days I will no longer be seen as a young man, at least not by anyone under 70.  Sure I have a very youthful appearance, I am routinely mistaken for being ten years younger than I am.  However that does not change the fact that the hands of time are moving forward never to stop until the end.
   When I was on the verge of turning thirty I had only very slight heart palpitations at the thought of no longer being a twenty-something.  It was not a big deal since I was not even half way to being a senior citizen.  Now?  Now I am ten years from AARP.  It's scary when I actually sit down and look at it and look at where I am and where my 18-year old self thought I'd be at forty.  Granted there is still nearly nine months until I cross that line but it is doubtful that some sort of earth shattering event will happen between now and then.  That is not to say things aren't continuing to trend in a good direction, it is just that it's a slower, more organic climb rather than a rocket.
   I look around at the vast majority of my friends, they are all married, many with children, many owning their own homes.  I have none of those things as of this moment.  It does not mean I do not want them, it just means the right opportunities have not arisen yet.  That sounds good.

   Does this mean that I am not where I should be, or where I am meant to be?

   I would love for some folks forty and above to share where they were at that age.  Whether they felt they were right where they wanted to be, or if they felt that they were still getting their lives together.

   I feel I am still getting things put together.  Some days I am frustrated by this, other days I have more patience and tell myself that all things come in time.
   Where do you fall on this?  Is forty the new thirty?  Is age just a number and you're only as old as you feel?  Or are the little creaks and cracks I am starting to feel the beginning of the end of my warranty?

   Okay enough of the seriousness, here is a photo I took at West Bay in Osterville this week.  It was cold but just a reminder that there are only 35 days until spring!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Next Challenge

            I became a runner in 2011, ran a race after 6 weeks, ran a marathon a year and a half later.  I got my first book deal in 2012, got in the newspaper, magazines, television, got a 2nd book deal in 2013.  I have wanted and I have gotten.  I have taken on challenges and I have succeeded.  Now as I sit here at the end of the Summer of 2014 I find myself restless, listless and without motivation.  I am in need of some sort of new challenge, a new goal.  I want to get into the best shape of my life by the time my birthday rolls around.  How do I do that?  No miracle pills, just hard work and sacrifice.  That means giving up things I love for the greater good.
Tonight I literally indulged in all of my food and drink vices this afternoon as a sort of last hurrah.  Chinese food, 5-Hour Energy, fried chicken, vodka, yup I had it all and now that’s it.  My goal, my challenge like I said is to give all of these up at least until my birthday November 2nd. 
Out?  Alcohol, caffeine, bad foods, probably other things I’m not thinking of. 
In?  Healthier foods, getting up earlier, hitting the gym 6 days a week.  No, I’m not training for any sort of competition per se, this is more for myself in general, a test of my will power.  I think that 10 weeks of living basically ‘straight edge’ can only be good for me as I approach Age 37.  I am certain that this is not going to be easy.  I love my coffee, my 5-Hour Energy, my stimulant-filled pre-workout drinks, but these have got to go for the time being.  I need to see just how I function without them.  Except for very brief attempts I have lived on high doses of caffeine and stimulants since Age 21.
            I don’t know how far I can go with this.  Although making it public increases my own accountability.  I will do my best to keep people who care posted about how this process goes but it is going to be a lot of careful research about what I can eat that’s good for me, something that I am not an expert on.  Running was the way I initially dropped 40 pounds in 2011-12, my diet did not change in any extreme sort of way.  I am thinking that maybe if I add the diet to my workouts I can get that ‘magazine cover’ body I have been close to at times.
            Tomorrow is Day 1, my birthday on November 2nd would be Day 77.  So let me sleep on it and get started in the morning.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sandwich Heritage Day Book Signing

            Happy Birthday Sandwich. 375? You don’t look a day over 370.  I had the chance to be a part of Sandwich Heritage Day this past Saturday, June 14th.  It was a lot of fun.  Held at Sandwich High School there was a lot to see and do if you attended.
            I was privileged to be stationed at the author table put up by Vicki Titcomb and Titcomb’s Books.  I came in as part of the second wave of authors at 2:30.  Ironically the author’s seat I took over when I arrived was that of Jim Coogan, my high school history teacher and author himself.  He helped build my love of history back then and I was finally able to tell him so.  One of the other authors I signed with, Shirley Pieters Vogel, author of Faith, Favorites, Fun, and Fotos of Cape Cod, was extremely nice and I really enjoyed speaking with her.
            I am still learning how to schmooze and speak to total strangers but with each signing I get better.  I try not to pressure people into buying, figuring if they thumb through my book the photos and words will sell it for me.  The highlights of my signing time were first off signing for a military family who had recently moved to the area after being in Germany for a few years.  The second highlight was my sister Ashley surprising me with her copy of my book.  She makes it a point to try to come to as many of my events as possible so that I can sign the book in a different spot.  She stayed for the rest of the event to give me some family support which is always good.
            In addition to having a chance to sign books for the people who gave my work a chance there were several other events going on that afternoon.  There was a Cape Cod Baseball League game getting ready to start at 4 between the Falmouth Commodores and Bourne Braves.  There was also face painting, Wally the Green Monster, and games emceed by Dan & Stephanie from WCOD. However, the cupcake contest was what nearly everyone was waiting for.  There was a table underneath one of the two tents lined with different cupcakes made by amateurs and professionals alike. They all were unique and looked delicious but there were only a chosen few who could be the ‘judge’ of which was best.
My sister Ashley and I
            The celebrity guest judges for the cupcake contest included Maury Povich and Connie Chung among others.  They arrived in an old green school bus and immediately began meeting and greeting.  I am not going to lie I held a copy of my book In My Footsteps: A Cape Cod Travel Guide in my right hand and waited for the celebrity couple to head for the tents.  I shook their hands and mentioned that I was going to be   Connie was interested in the book although Maury claimed he ‘forgot his wallet at home.’  She said they’d check me out after the cupcake contest was over.
signing my book over underneath the second tent.
            Not wanting to risk it I signed my book for them figuring I’d give it to them if they didn’t want to pay.  After the contest I made my way over with the book and overheard Connie tell Maury that she needed to come and ‘get the book.’  I ran back and they bought my book and I was able to get a photo with them and the book.  It was a great moment.
            After that the attention shifted away from the tents   This ended our time at Sandwich Heritage Day.  My sister and I helped Vicki load her car back up before watching a few minutes of the baseball game.  Each and every event I am a part of is special; it is not everyone who gets to do something they love.  I truly enjoyed Sandwich Heritage Day, working with Titcomb’s, and meeting Maury Povich and Connie Chung.  I will not soon forget it.
Standing with Maury Povich, Connie Chung, and my book.
and toward Fenton Field where the Cape League game was beginning.

Links, Links, and more Links

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Kurt Cobain & Nirvana 20 Years Later

           20 years is a long time by any stretch of the imagination. I am finding it difficult to fathom that it has been 20 years since Kurt Cobain died.  He was the man, well, part of the band Nirvana, which influenced the direction of my life more than anyone.  I am a writer today because of him.  It’s been 20 years, I still remember like it was yesterday.  Forgive me if this all comes out in a rambling haphazard way, I do not like to write blogs like this in a structured way.  I like it to be free flowing from my mind to the screen with little if any editing.
            Before I can remember the end I choose to remember the beginning.  I’ll never forget that night in August 1991.  I was 13; heading into 8th Grade, summer was coming to a close.  I had been hanging out with my friend Matt and we were in his bedroom when he happened to turn on the radio.  Coming from the tiny speakers was this sound that was unlike anything I had heard before. 

            I only caught the final minute and a half of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit,’ but that was all I needed.  I had to find out who made that sound.  It was as if that song in 90 seconds had tossed a brick through the window of my life revealing something amazing on the other side.  I carefully stepped through and never looked back.  Within a few weeks Nirvana’s Nevermind was released and I bought it.  This was one of the very first compact discs I had ever purchased.  I still have it; the thing was played so much that it is coated with scratches and ‘cd rot.’ It is pretty useless now, but the memories remain.
            Kurt Coabin’s angst in his lyrics spoke to me as to what was going on in my own life.  I was part of a divorced family setting with a stepfather who was not kind to me as I entered my teenage years.  I was not happy with who I was or where I was and thought nobody would understand.  Kurt was 10 years older so he was like a big brother sharing what he was dealt with.  I kept thinking if I followed his path I’d end up like him.  I wanted to be a singer/songwriter so I could find a way to express my own inner pain in a way that was creative and inspiring.  I hoped that maybe I could do for others what he did for me.  He made me make sense.
            I would eventually find out I was pretty much tone deaf and couldn’t play guitar worth a lick, but the writing part of the equation was actually quite good.  I would write song lyrics and poetry that were littered with real life raw emotion, things I didn’t like to share.  The poetry later became short stories and novels before evolving into the travel writing which landed me my first book deal.  It is easy to trace the steps back to that night in Matt’s bedroom where I heard that lovely ear-splitting music that changed my life.
            I remember in 1992 or 1993 trying to explain to my Dad that Kurt Cobain was my generation’s John Lennon.  Being a child of the 1960’s and a giant Beatles fan my Dad of course could not see how the scrawny, screeching, feedback blasting kid was anything like the man who sang ‘Imagine,’ ‘Give Peace A Chance,’ and ‘Instant Karma.’  I could not convince him back then maybe because it was still happening, Generation-X was current, not in the past.  These days it surprises me that my Dad can finally see what I was trying to say. 
            Nirvana was to me what The Beatles were to him. 
            Then in a flash it all ended.  The Grunge movement that killed hair metal, that knocked Michael Jackson off the top of the Billboard charts.  The Grunge movement that was so anti-mainstream that the mainstream had to go and find it.  It was over April 8, 1994.
            I remember coming home from school, Sophomore year.  I put on MTV, back when they were actually a music network.  There was the story: A body had been found in the room above Kurt Cobain’s garage.  Selfishly I hoped it was someone else, but deep down I knew better.  In short order it was confirmed who it was.  What made it worse was that he had ended his own life.  As the days and weeks and years passed I would learn so much more about what made Kurt Cobain tick, his stomach problems which led to drug addiction.  It made his suicide a little easier to swallow, maybe that’s just me making excuses for him. 
            In a snap his music and message were a part of history.  Now he is seen as a legend, a mythical figure, in the likes of Jim Morrison or Jimi Hendrix.  I actually get it now too since I was a part of the whole Grunge movement, but it is still a little weird to hear Kurt Cobain spoken of in that same way.  I remember needing to hear more of Kurt’s words so badly that I ended up purchasing every bootleg and B-Side filled disc, this was long before the With the Lights Out boxed set came out to make all of those songs easy to find.
            It’s funny now looking back at the videos and interviews and thinking that Kurt Cobain and Nirvana were larger than life figures but I am now actually older than he was when he died.  It’s weird that Dave Grohl’s band Foo Fighters have actually been together longer than Nirvana now.  I remember that my friend Rob and I had plans to go and see Nirvana as our very first concert during the summer of 1994.  They were supposed to headline Lollapalooza, but of course that never happened.
            I remember I tried to measure the impact Kurt Cobain had on music in general in the years after his death.  I made a chart for college that showed a list of the album sales of other grunge/alternative bands in the 5 years after Nirvana was finished.  It was as if Nirvana left such a hole in people’s musical lives that they scrambled to find the ‘next’ band like them.  There were some very deserving, awesomely talented bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice In Chains who got the recognition they should have.  Pearl Jam is a stretch since they are usually seen as The Rolling Stones to Nirvana’s Beatles; they were/are every bit as good as Nirvana.
            On the other side though there were some weaker ‘alternative’ bands that saw huge record sales in the same 5-year period, bands like Bush, Live, Collective Soul, and countless others.  Don’t get me wrong, those bands are good, but they only got as big as they did because of the gaping hole Nirvana left.
            I’m not going to turn this into complaining about music after Nirvana though.  I am just amazed that it’s been 20 years now.  April 5 is the actual date as Kurt’s body wasn’t found for 3 days.  So I choose to celebrate his life and music for those three days.  I might never have an album, or play guitar, but I am a writer now and it all goes back to that night I first heard ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ on a little alarm clock radio.   
            I have celebrated his life and message basically since the moment I found out he died.  I think now a lot more people will figure out the impact of Nirvana thanks to it being a round number like 20 Years.  It also helps that there is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction coming up, plus numerous magazine covers out right now.  I am not saying that everyone has to recognize Kurt Cobain as my generation’s John Lennon, but maybe if you think of who had that kind of impact on your life maybe you would understand what I am saying.  That’s how it will make sense to you. 20 years is such a long time especially when it still seems like yesterday.

                    Lounge Act
                    About A Girl
                    All Apologies


Sunday, November 10, 2013

If You're Going Through Fiddle Hell

            Last night I had the opportunity to take in a unique bit of culture.  I made the nearly two-hour drive from Cape Cod up to Concord, Massachusetts to check out something called ‘Fiddle Hell.’  It was a collection of some of the most skilled string musicians on one stage.  I will be the first to admit that I know next to nothing about fiddling, fiddle players, songs, etc.  That said I was able to appreciate the talent and time it takes for one to become viewed as one of the best at what you do in any field.
            Upon arrival in Concord it was easy to get a good vibe. Even in the mid-autumn evening there were musicians carrying cases all over the place.  The historic buildings of one of the oldest towns in America were lit up preparing for the Christmas season already.  The cool crisp air completed the scene.  It felt like a very friendly and safe environment perfect for families.
Fiddle Hell actually goes for an entire weekend with workshops, meet and greets, concerts, jam sessions, and even contra dancing.  Fiddle Hell has been held since 2005 and is the lovechild of Dave Reiner and the Reiner family.  They did a tremendous job hosting the event.  The central location for musicians and visitors alike this year was The Colonial Inn.  It was built in 1716 but not used as a hotel until 1889.  Located next to Monument Square, Concord’s town common,
Outside the Colonial Inn
the Inn was within sight of the first battle of the American Revolution in 1775.
 There was a concert held at the Concord Scout House on Walden Street at 7pm on Saturday. The Scout House is an 18th century barn which was turned into a community meeting center in 1930. Inside it has a dilapidated charm which added to the ambiance of a fiddle concert.  The wooden seats were a bit uncomfortable but again it all seemed appropriate.  Host Dave Reiner began the concert and his sons were an integral part as well one emceeing and the other playing piano.
I will reiterate that I know nothing about fiddling so I will not try to pretend that I could appreciate the references to famous fiddle players of the past.  All I can do is report what I saw and heard and that I truly enjoyed it.  My personal favorites were the father-son duo of Ed and Neil Pearlman who played Scottish music of fiddle and piano. I also liked Neil’s black fedora which made me feel better about wearing my own to the concert.  I made a point to seek him out and shake his hand for his music and hat.  I enjoyed Berklee Artistic Director Matt Glaser and his ‘Red Wagon’ song which brought the crowd into play to help sing.  He, along with many of the performers, has a charming eccentricity that makes you feel you already know them and could sit and chat with them even if you have no musical talent or knowledge like myself.
I may not play an instrument but being a writer and photographer who works nonstop bettering my craft I can relate to how much time and effort goes into making an upper echelon fiddle player.  It was a really fun evening and something new in my life.  I could not name each and every player from the concert but have included links to some pages so their work can be heard and appreciated.  Even if you are not a fan of fiddling take a moment to listen because it doesn’t take a fan to appreciate hard work and dedication. Those are qualities that lead to success and that everyone should have.   

Great job Fiddle Hell!

     My first book, In My Footsteps: A Cape Cod Travel Guide, is now available at,, and, and stores everywhere!  Follow me on Twitter and YouTube for more on In My Footsteps!

            Matt Glaser - Berklee Profile Page
            Concords Colonial