Tag Archive: Tony Lucca

Day 21 – A Song You Listen to When You’re Happy

Tony Lucca – Foxy Jane

Again, this was difficult. Pin pointing just one song that I listen to when I’m happy?? Not going to happen – So picking the first one that popped in to my head seemed like the best way to go. I’m guessing it did so because it reminds me of my sister-friend Jayme, who I miss like crazy since she’s moved back home and I get to see her but once or twice a year (is it almost September yet?).. and that time Tony gave her a shout out singing “Take it Easy Little J-Dawg” on the Rock Boat. Or the fact that whenever I go see Tony live (especially if I’m with Jayme), I find it difficult to video this song because I just want to dance to it  – can’t hold a camera still and shake my ass at the same time, I guess.

Jaymerss this one’s for you!

There are very few things that ever render me speechless. I guess if you know me, you know I’m almost never at a loss for words. EVER.

That said, it took me a a few weeks to figure out how to even begin to describe or even discuss Tony Lucca’s “Rendezvous with the Angels.” That, and I needed to find my old thesaurus to figure out exactly how many ways one can say “phenomenal”, without being too repetitive.

I’m a little too old to have ever watched the “Mickey Mouse Club” back in the 90’s (you know, the one with Justin Timberlake, Brittney Spears, Christina Aguilera, et al), I was too busy with college and loving all things grunge (oh yes,  I was SO in LOVE with Eddie Vedder back then.. wow),  so I had NO idea who Tony Lucca was when Rachel (yes, the music guru), dragged me to see him play (also on the bill that evening: Keaton Simons and Curtis Peoples).  I hadn’t as of yet taken any of her musical suggestions, so didn’t realize that when Rachel says “go see so and so” the correct response was to, well, go.

She decided that since she was planning on coming in to NYC to see the show again (she’d seen them the night before in Boston) she would  take the Staten Island Ferry to come visit me and MAKE SURE I was going to make it to the Bitter End that evening.

On the ferry ride in to Manhattan, she told me about Tony’s background on MMC, and I remember thinking “well, I hope the other two are worth it.” Honestly, I don’t know what I was expecting. But when Tony took the stage, I was mesmerized by his voice, his lyrics (and the fact that he literally switched between Piano and guitar almost every other song).  Needless to say, by the end of his set, I had run to the merch table and bought his “Canyon Songs” and have been a fan since.

Because I literally never miss an opportunity to see Tony play, I’d already heard a few of the songs that were going to be on his recent offering “Rendezvous with the Angels.” Because it’s Tony Lucca, I knew the CD was going to be amazing.  What I didn’t expect was to be stunned silent by the sheer beauty of the entire collection. I REALLY didn’t expect, to put it in the words of one of my friends, to be “paralyzed” by a few of the songs. It’s really THAT good.

I’ve heard folks call Tony a “story teller.” I can find no better term to use myself. Tony’s lyrics do indeed take you on a journey. Whether it is one of loss and the longing to find the strength to move on after heartbreak in “Undertow”; The hopes and wishes and eternal love an expectant father has for his child in the beautiful “Always”; The desire to relive a lost love even if it’s just for one night “Stay with Me”; or the happy fluttery feeling at hearing from your long distance love in “Long Love Letter”; or, to the song that literally floored me, (and had me hit repeat a few times before I was ready to listen to the rest of the CD), “Song to a Martyr” (yeah, I relate to the theme… and yes, I guess I can say it’s my favorite track on a CD full of favorites).

Musically the CD takes you from the happy/poppy (I actually read one review that said it could be a toothpaste commercial?), “Make You Mine;” To the bluesy/gritty “Like Love”; to the heartbreakingly melodic “Nobody but You.”

In addition to the songs Tony penned himself, the CD includes a stunning cover of Billy Joel’s “Vienna” (PS:  my favorite Billy Joel song!) and a song Tony co-wrote with Melissa Polinar (I’m telling you folks you MUST check her out! http://www.myspace.com/melissapolinar), called “Back to Me,” which includes guest vocals by Sara Bareilles.

I can go on and on about how stunningly poignant and beautiful the CD is; How one minute you’ll be dancing around the living room, the next contemplating your broken heart.  But instead, I’ll leave you with a few video clips of some of the live performances of a few of the album’s songs.

I can honestly say that the majority of friends I’ve made in my life, I’ve become acquainted with through music. It’s strange , I know. My two best male friends? We became friends over a mutual love of Pink Floyd.  My oldest female friends? I met through our mutual admiration of a local band we all followed.  The folks I spend the majority of my time with these days? I met through musicians I currently follow.  The musicians I currently follow, I became aware of them through my musical guru, a phenomenal woman from Boston named Rachel, who I met –

Wait for it….

…On a Taylor Hicks fan site (don’t judge).

Back in the Spring of 2006, I was home, sick with pneumonia. While I had watched previous seasons of American Idol, I very rarely bothered until they’d hit the top 10 or less. This particular year, I hadn’t watched any of the season. I had no interest after Bo Bice had lost the previous year (what? I thought he was hot), effectively killing my 100% record of predicting the winner (yeah, I know, Carrie Underwood is very talented and totally deserved to win—but Bo Bice was HOT – and I loved his voice  – and his hair).

So, there I was, sick, in bed, flipping through the channels, pausing momentarily as Ryan Secrest begins to introduce some guy named Taylor Hicks, who was apparently going to sing “Something” by the Beatles. My initial reaction was to groan. As a Beatles fan, I’m very very  critical of anyone who tries to remake their songs (seriously, I love U2, but their version of “Helter Skelter”? not so much). “Something” is pretty much one of my absolute favorite songs (note to any man who ever wants to grab my attention, THIS song, DMB’s “Crush,” or “Pretty Girl” – David Ryan Harris or Ernie Halter version, is sure to make me melt… just sayin’).  

Now I’m with most folks who love music in believing that this show is pretty much nothing more than glorified Karaoke.

But then the guy started singing.

And he did a phenomenal job.  


I immediately go on line to see if there were any sites where a video of this would eventually become available. I wanted to see it again… and again… and again.  I stumbled on an entire website devoted to Taylor Hicks, which apparently had videos and mp3 downloads of all of Taylor’s performances. Of course, in order to get these gems, one must register to join.

So I did.

 I figured I’d get the vids and/or mp3s and that would be that.  But then I started reading the threads…

 And I was intrigued.

I’ve never seen such blind devotion towards an as of yet (‘yet’ being back then), relatively unknown. Now, I love people watching, and studying human nature in general, so clearly, I decided to stick around.  Having never been a part of “fandom” I never truly realized how crazed some people can get. I’m not talking your average fan who will go to shows and buy CDs and try to meet the object of their devotion. I’m talking about people who devote a majority of time to that person in such a way that would make a more normal person fear for said person. But somewhere in that congregation of crazy, there were a few folks who seemed normal. And by normal, I mean they didn’t think that the goofy gray-haired guy shit flowers and farted bubbles or was their future husband because he shared the same birthday as their cat. (I shit you not – this is a true story)

Now despite the infatuated and the dillusional, some of the info on the site was useful. For example, I found out that Taylor had released two cd’s independently, prior to his appearance on American Idol. I took a listen and loved what I heard (seriously, listen to “Somehow” or “The Fall,” you’ll totally understand). The man was nothing if not talented. So I began to visit the site regularly and eventually wandered in to the chat room where within hours I met a few ladies who have become some of my closest friends in the world. 

After the Idol finale, where Taylor won (and my streak of being able to predict the winner was restored – seriously, I have predicted the winner each year since, at top 10 week… Now if only I could transfer this talent to the lottery, I’d be all set), I began meeting these ladies in person at events in which Taylor would be performing. Suffice it to say, I saw A LOT of Taylor Hicks over the next year or so. July 21, 2006 Rachel  came down from Boston, on a very soupy day, to see Taylor perform on GMA. The minute we met in person, there was a mutual recognition of kinship. It was like hitting the friend jackpot. I’m generally pretty skeptical when I first meet someone, but with Rachel, it was an instant friendship  – One that has continued way beyond Taylor Hicks.

Eventually I, and all of the friends (out of something like 4000 members, I’d say there were 10 of us that weren’t insane), left the site -screaming.. seriously.. the people in charge over there? Nuts. Not even kidding a little.. (one day, I WILL write blog about THAT experience and why I fear super fans so much – seriously, the cat thing, not even scratching the surface of the surface of the crazy).

The friends I made there, in addition to being some of the best friends I have ever had, friends who supported me and my husband when he was sick, helped me pick up the pieces when he passed away and who even now, as I go through yet another crappy time in my life, are there to hear me out and help me, have also become the ones I plan vacations with (most of my vacations are music related) and who have introduced me to some of the best music (and the best musicians) I have ever known.. which also, has brought a whole other new group of awesome people into my life (and given me a glimpse to other potential crazies out there).

Rachel had been telling me about this guy Ernie Halter for months. “Go see him, I SWEAR you’ll thank me. You’ll LOVE HIM.” Eventually, (January 2008),  I took her advice and went to see him at the Bitter End.  

She wasn’t kidding.

I continue to thank her to this day.

If YOU haven’t checked him out, you REALLY should… http://www.myspace.com/erniehalter … you WILL thank me (and Rachel, and his mom for forcing him to take piano lessons, and his label – Rock Ridge Music- for letting him record his stuff the way he feels right..and…), I promise. He is an amazing singer/songwriter, and beyond that he’s a fantastic person! But don’t take my word for it. Give him a listen, and then go see him perform. He’ll be on the road this summer with another amazing singer/songwriter named Tony Lucca http://www.myspace.com/tonylucca . Both of them are coming out with new CDs this summer… I can go on and on (and probably will in future posts), but right now? Just go check them out.

But by going to see Ernie Halter (and Tony Lucca, and Keaton Simons and Curtis Peoples and…) I also have met some phenomenal people who I see regularly, speak to almost daily and who genuinely make my life so much better than I ever thought possible in the aftermath of my husband’s death.  

And I can trace all of this goodness in my life to…

Yep, Taylor Hicks.

So thank you Taylor. Without you, I wouldn’t have met my musical guru; my iPod would probably not be nearly as filled with awesome music; and my life, as it is today, would definitely not be nearly as blessed.