Cranston, RI

I love this time of year, which begins a four month long Christmas Eve Holiday season, that includes the golden harvest season, pumpkin orange, THANKS GIVING, Christmas carols and Christmas shopping, Christmas trees, the smell of nutmeg and cinnamon, and good things in the oven the night before Christmas. Now that’s a Christmas Eve!!! And of course, if you’re preparing some sort of Christmas Performance, you immediately begin practicing the day you get back to school, in September.

I’m so happy we did a lot of dates back East and in New England this fall. We watched the leaves turn and jackets and scarves come out of the closet.

I’ve found myself these days, talking to some new audiences. And I love that. I’m finally getting to some New England destinations for the first time, and feeling a long overdue satisfaction. New England people are a special breed, just like mid westerners, and Californians, and New Yorkers. I won’t try to describe the long list of specialnesses that set you apart from everyone else in the world, but the specialnesses are pretty fabulous, and will surely include clam chowder and evergreens. We rolled into Cranston around 12:30pm. Driving into Cranston, you say, “Oh, yes, this is America today. This is a great look at wonderful, beautiful middle class america!” Unvarnished, needing a few repairs, and a paint job, but it is in large part who we are. It’s who I am, and what I came from. Many of these people have a reliable old lunch pail at home, that helped pay college tuitions, and made us “upwardly mobile,” doing better than our moms and dads.  God bless our hearts when they showed up that night. I could see them, as I stood there in the wings, waiting to begin,  and I was so proud to be here my people!

Our first time here.  But when we hit the stage, it felt like we were old friends returning home. Hey, that’s the greatest and it’s happening a lot these days, as we meet new audiences for the first time, and play and sing with them the stuff they’ve been listening to  for thirty years. That experience occupies a special place in audience reactions and response that is really quite unlike anything else. Excuse the elaboration and oversimplification, but that audience situation is different than playing and performing, in front of an audience that sees me every sixteen months. There’s an “at last” sigh and response, that is a thing unto itself!

I’m remembering now pictures lining the backstage walls of Engelbert Humperdinck, The Wailers, Tower of Power, Boney James, Stanley Jordan, etc. They must have had the same reaction, including, “Wow, I can’t believe it! Let’s call the agency and get booked again as soon as possible.”

Well that was my reaction too. They rocked in their seats, and danced on their feets. And they pull encores out of me and the band as we stood with eyebrows raised to the hairline in surprise to this fantastic reaction. All grins and smiles.

Some people in the first row even had brought pristine LP’s of “Breakin’ Away,” “High Crime,” and “Look to the Rainbow,” that I did quick signatures on from stage. Later we did an hour long CD signing in the lobby. And that was great fun, really enjoyable. Here it was again, that sigh of “at last.” I could really feel it, y’all.

So I said, I’m looking forward to getting back to Cranston, and I’m grateful and thankful to my new found friends there. You really did spread the word about me very early on. Stay tuned and I’ll see you soon!

-Love Al

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