"I feel best in that little space between a smile and a tear"

I didn't want to let this week's passing of 94-year old jazz legend Toots Thielemans go by without sharing a little tribute and a lot of respect. Jazz guitarist, harmonica virtuoso, and whistler too, this gentle Belgian's musical gifts have been known to millions of kids who may not have heard his name til now - his welcome and familiar harmonica refrain that was the theme to "Sesame Street".

Music. It's my life because it is the language of life. I had the most incredible experience last night at the Epicure Café in the DC suburb of Fairfax VA. There were several fantastic musicians in the lineup over the course of the Songwriters Association of Washington sponsored showcase, and a very special guest. Karim Wasfi is a virtuoso cellist, but also happens to be the Principal Conductor of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra...

My last full day at Ferry Beach Park Association started with a cup of coffee on the beach as my bagpiping friend summoned the sun and saluted my ancestors homeland. We gathered for our last chapel in the echoing majesty of the ocean pines to the sounds of "Amazing Grace" on the pipes, bookended our week with a different hymn to Sibelius "Finlandia", sang "We Shall Overcome" hand in hand and "Amazing Grace" when no one was ready to leave...

An Independence Day weekend spent immersed in the swirling and ever-present past. Dedicated with love to my uncle Douglas McKnight, USN (1928-2016).

We spent a day over the 4th of July weekend bringing my cousin to visit DC for the first time. We caught a glorious sunny cool day, more like May than July, so we slathered on the sunscreen and walked most of the National Mall. It was my first visit to the World War II, Korean War, and Martin Luther King Memorials, and of course we did the traditional visits to the Lincoln and the Vietnam Wall.

It was an amazing experience. Along with my cousin, my 9-year old daughter had never been to the monuments. So in addition to my own awe, I got to explain some of the significant pieces of what she was witnessing. She carefully and solemnly did a pencil rubbing of one of the eight women whose names are engraved on the Wall....

One gift of aging is an appreciation for the constancy of change and the inconsistency of the journey.

I recently received several poignant gifts from out of the cosmos. Good and amazing things, and events which completely derailed me from some seeming momentum of thought and purpose. If you have ever thought that creative people are constantly creating and always have some vision for what they are doing now and next, I can emphatically say that’s not how my life goes. I wish it did sometimes, though I think I am grateful for some relief from the manic bursts of creative obsession...

Music has always been in my immediate family. My dad has sat in with me here and there at shows when I'm in the neighborhood, and my grandmother's sister was a renowned concert pianist. My dad's father's family had a lot of music too, but they scattered in all directions and we never had any contact with most of them in my lifetime.

Until last week...

In honor and remembrance of those who did not return. From the fields of Flanders, and the beaches of Normandy. From the frozen crags of Chosin, and the jungles of southeast Asia. From the deserts and mountains of Iraq and Afghanistan. From all of the places they went answering the call. On this day, and every other, we remember. "There's a hole in the sky...."

Many of my veteran friends say that Memorial Day is to remember the fallen, and that Veterans Day is the appropriate time to honor their service. I believe that every day is a day to honor their service, and every day is a day to work to end war. A utopian ideal given the nature of our species....  #MemorialDay #honorthefallen

While to my knowledge my family has not lost any on more recent fields of battle, several of my ancestors lost their lives on battlefields or their aftermath fighting to save the Union. This America, this one land struggling again as a house divided. I post this in their memory today... #Appomattox #Memorial Day #honorthefallen

Mother's Day seems a fitting time to share this tribute to the three mothers who most shaped and continue to shape my life. I am grateful to be old enough to be aware of how each of them shape my daughter's life. I wrote this a few days after she was born back in 2007. Happy Mother's Day to mothers everywhere, and in honor of those mothers who brought us life, wherever they are.
"A Circle of Four Women"

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Tour Dates

  • 10/25/2017
    The Music Cafe - Damascus, MD
     
  • 10/29/2017
    Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Greater Cumberland - Cumberland, MD
     
  • 10/29/2017
    Tree of Life Yoga Studio - Bedford, PA
     
  • 10/30/2017
    Institute of Musical Traditions, Saint Mark Presbyterian Church - Rockville, MD
     
  • 11/02/2017
    The Blue Side - Frederick, MD
     

HAPPENINGS

SPECIAL THANKS

Andrew is a grateful Endorsing Artist for Elixir Strings and Fairbuilt Guitars, and a member of the Virginia Commission for the Arts Touring Artist Roster. He also is a member of The Standing "O" Project and Concerts in Your Home.

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