Jesse Terry

Jesse Terry at Rockwood Music Hall

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Jesse Terry headlined a set at Rockwood Music Hall last night. Most of the times that we’ve seen Jesse he’s performed solo. The last two times he’s been refining a group sound.

JesseTerry

First he connected with Greg Mayo for a duo show, where Greg played piano on some numbers and guitar on others, singing some harmony with Jesse. Next, Jesse had a trio with Jeremy Goldsmith on guitar and harmony.

Last night Jesse used the same percussionist as the previous time (I’ll get to the band in the minute) and replaced Jeremy with a piano player (I believe Jeremy was unavailable, but I think Jesse purposely wanted to go for a piano sound).

I used the term refined above, because I think that Jesse has improved the sound each time and I’m not convinced he needs to tinker with it any further!

Jesse was excellent last night. His vocals are always great, as is his guitar play, but I think he was in a comfort zone with the band as well. Most of the songs were off of his upcoming CD, Empty Seat on a Plane, which will be released in July. There will be a CD Release Show at Rockwood on July 11th, 8pm, be there!

JesseTerryGuitar

Let’s get to the band. That will also allow me to say a few more things about Jesse’s performance in context. Left-to-right:

Matt Simons on grand piano and vocals. There were two things about Matt’s performance that elevated Jesse’s set: 1) the piano complements Jesse’s already excellent guitar skills better than another guitar (which was great too) and 2) Matt sang substantially more harmony, and was incredible on every song (as he always is).

MattSimons

A month ago we saw Jeff Litman on the same stage. I wrote the following:

The test came right away. Jeff opened the show with my favorite song of his, Maine. Let me digress and define what I consider to be a perfect song. If I can put a song on 24×7 repeat, for a year, and honestly not beg for mercy to hear something else, then it’s a perfect song, even if it’s not technically perfect in all respects. Maine is a perfect song. Got it?

Jesse Terry is a great songwriter in general, but he too has written at least a couple of perfect songs (using my definition), perhaps more. Early in the set he played one of them, Noise. His finger picking on that song is extraordinary and last night he was flawless. He started it off solo (which is how he’s performed it most of the times we’ve heard it). After one verse, the band came in.

Aside from the piano and percussion complementing Jesse’s guitar and vocals, Matt Simons’ harmony took an already perfect song and lifted it up even higher. Matt’s vocals were so good on every song that I call this one out mostly to make the point that this song basically couldn’t get any better, and yet it did!

Late in the set when Matt came in on the vocals I turned to Lois and said: “Oh man, they sound exactly like Simon and Garfunkel!”. Not the song, Jesse definitely has his own distinct sound, but their voices blended as seamlessly and beautifully.

Matt was wonderful on the piano as well, so Jesse was right to want to try a piano player when Jeremy Goldsmith was unavailable.

James Williams on cajon and percussion. James played with Jesse at the last show and was fantastic. That was true again last night. I don’t know if he introduced new tricks, if not, at least I noticed them last night. One example: it was the first time I noticed any cajon player striking two different sides at the same time (in this case, the front and back), generating different sounds.

JamesWilliams

At the last show I joked:

He had something that looked like a giant firecracker on stage. I don’t think he used it. At least I’m still here to tell the tale, if he did… Winking smile

I realize now that he did use it at that show, but somehow, I missed it. Last night, he used it late in the show and it was one of the most amazing instruments I’ve heard. Basically, it produces the sound of a large cymbal, but without the actual sound of the stick hitting the cymbal. It’s closer to the sound you get when a drummer uses two soft-headed mallets on either side of the cymbal and is hitting it really fast from the top and bottom. Awesome.

JamesWilliamsFirecrackerCymbal

He had bells strapped onto his ankles and he had a tambourine under his right foot (so he could create the sound of a cymbal strike anytime he wanted).

BellsOnAnkle

For some songs he put a Swan Percussion Knock Box under his left foot for a full kick drum sound (they are competitors with PorchBoard which I have written about a number of times).

You have to love it when a musician gets exactly the sound he wants from a particular instrument such that when the instrument is falling apart he won’t replace it. James’ other tambourine fits the bill. It sounded perfect last night, but hardly looks perfect. Winking smile

BrokenTambourine

Here is the set list:

SetList

The three of them were totally in sync. I’m very excited for the upcoming CD Release Show and hope to see you there (yes, I’m looking right at you!). Smile

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As usual, we were not there alone. Here are some of our friends and other musicians who enjoyed the set with us:

JessTerryPeter

BrianCollazoCaitlinCarleyTanchon

BrianCollazoChrisAyer

Jesse Terry at Rockwood Music Hall

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Jesse Terry headlined Rockwood Music Hall last night. Amazingly, it’s been just over seven months since we’ve seen Jesse perform. I was sick the last time he played Rockwood. Sad smile

JesseTerryGuitar

Since that time, Jesse has completed a new CD called Empty Seat on a Plane. It’s not officially released yet, but we have a digital copy, because we were smart enough to contribute to his successful PledgeMusic campaign (if you want the goodies early, you gotta help get them made!). According to Twitter, Jesse is in his car as I type, driving in NJ, to pick up the physical copies of the CD, so we’re getting closer.

In the eight previous times that we’ve seen Jesse, all but one have basically been solo shows (occasionally having someone sing harmony with him). He’s never disappointed as a solo artist, because his voice is fantastic (very pure) and he accompanies himself beautifully on the acoustic guitar (I particularly love his finger picking).

The exception occurred last time, when he paired up with Greg Mayo who accompanied him on both the piano and acoustic guitar for most of Jesse’s set at The Bitter End.

This time, Jesse had a core trio, adding percussion. He also had a guest vocalist on two numbers. While I will be very happy to see him solo any time, it’s clear that Jesse has created a very nice blend with this trio (perhaps inspired by recording the new CD with many studio musicians). The most important thing to note is that Jesse has remained 100% true to his personal sound. The trio supports and enhances him (subtly), it doesn’t change the core beauty of his music.

Jesse performed songs off the new CD, some off his debut CD (The Runner) and one of our favorites, Natural (which he finger-picked, solo). Jesse is a superb songwriter, but there are many great songwriters who will never write a song as good as Natural. Jesse has another one that’s in that league, Noise. I expect more of that caliber from him, since he continues to write at a furious pace.

The other members of the trio, left-to-right:

Jeremy Goldsmith on acoustic guitar and harmony. We just discovered Jeremy the night before, at the Full Vinyl mega-show next door at Rockwood 2. That night, Jeremy was on electric guitar. It turns out he’s equally good on the acoustic. He complemented Jesse with sweet leads throughout the set, and even harmonized on the guitar with some of Jesse vocals!

JeremyGoldsmithJeremyGoldsmithGuitar

Jeremy also sang some harmony, absolutely beautifully. More would have been just fine as well. Smile

James Williams on cajon and percussion. On his Facebook page, he lists his name as James Dwntwn Williams. Extremely impressive play on the cajon, shakers, tambourines (plural, he even switched between two of them in the middle of a song), bells strapped to his ankle, etc.

JamesWilliamsJamesWilliamsCajon

He had something that looked like a giant firecracker on stage. I don’t think he used it. At least I’m still here to tell the tale, if he did… Winking smile

JamesWilliamsFirecracker

There were a couple of hysterical impromptu moments between James and the guest singer, and James and Jesse. It would lose everything in translation, so I’ll leave it there. Basically, one of the reasons to go to live shows is to experience these types of moments. You laugh hard and naturally, and it cleanses many of the ills of being human.

Michele Riganese sang harmony on two numbers. Wonderful voice that blended with Jesse perfectly. She is a singer/songwriter on her own and plays around town, so we’ll likely get to see her perform her own material in the not-too-distant future.

MicheleRiganeseJesseTerryJamesWilliamsMicheleRiganese

Here’s the set list. Jesse noted that he rarely has one, and I believe him. He seemed to get uncomfortable having to stick to it, so don’t rely on this as the gospel order of what was played. Winking smile

SetList

Jesse’s back at Rockwood 1 on April 19th, at 6pm. Come on down and discover him for yourself. It turns out that both Jeremy and James are touring that week, so it will be a complete surprise to see who Jesse taps to join him that night. Whoever it is, I’m excited to hear them, because I know it will be special. Smile

You might think the following photo is of Jesse’s younger sister. You’d be wrong, it’s his mom!

Patty

Bryan Dunn was in the audience and we got to buy his new (still unreleased) CD. His CD Release show is at Rockwood 2, 7pm on April 6th. We’ll be there. Lois already listened to the CD and was blown away. I’ll be getting to it over the weekend.

HadarBryanDunn

Jesse Terry with Greg Mayo at The Bitter End

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I rarely post the night of a show. Since we got home early and we’re swamped tomorrow, I’m happy to get my thoughts down while they’re fresh.

There are a growing number of musicians whose shows we do anything we can to catch.

Jesse Terry has been on that list since the first time we saw him, September 5th, 2010. We’ve seen him six times since then, plus tonight, makes eight in total. Each of those shows has been a solo effort on Jesse’s part. For the most part, others were on the same bill, performing in the round or separate sets. Occasionally, one of the others would sing with Jesse on a song.

JesseTerrySinging

He’s great solo, and he works well harmonizing with others.

When Jesse announced the show at The Bitter End and listed Greg Mayo would be accompanying him on the entire set, those of you who know me have to realize that my heart skipped a few beats. Independent of Jesse, Greg Mayo is firmly on the above list of people I go out of my way to see as often as possible. Read to the end to see the next two (really three) times I’m sure I’ll be seeing him! Smile

Let’s cover the set list first, then the collaboration. Jesse travels a lot (he’s a road warrior touring musician). He recently returned from a week of entertaining the troops in Greenland and got closer to the North Pole than most of us will. Time at home is precious for two reasons: 1) He’s been married for just under eight months, so time with his wonderful wife is a priority and 2) He gets to write.

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He’s been on a tear lately and it showed in his set tonight. He played two songs (Scenic Route and Bitterroot Valley) that were written in the past week (or two?). He played other very recent songs (e.g., Pearl Diver). In fact, while one of his staples was on the set list, it’s the only song on it that he didn’t play, Noise (do yourself a favor and check it out!).

SetList

So, in addition to adding a full-time sideman in Greg, Jesse was stretching his wings and breaking out super fresh material in public (likely for the first time in a number of cases). If he, or any of you are wondering whether he needs to take them back to the drawing board, wonder no more, they came off really well!

JesseTerryGuitar

If anyone has to ask what I think of Greg Mayo, then it’s a certainty that this is your first visit to this blog. Welcome! Smile

Greg has so many things going for him that it would be unfair to list them all here (if I could even articulate everything) given that this was Jesse’s set and songs. For this purpose, there are four things to note (which is why Jesse picked him):

  • He’s an amazing guitar player
  • He’s incredible on keyboards
  • He sings extremely well (harmony and lead)
  • His sensibility as a sideman is up there with the best

Greg played on every song with Jesse. He sang some harmony, not on every song. He played roughly half the numbers on the piano (guess what percentage he played on the guitar?). Winking smile

GregMayoPiano1GregMayoPiano2GregMayoGuitar

The collaboration worked extremely well. I checked with the judges (me) and they scored an 8.5 (out of a possible 10). The Russian judge penalized them (probably out of jealously). Winking smile

GregMayoJesseTerry

Seriously, as good as they were, if they ever play together again, I personally guarantee it will be better, even if they do nothing different. Here’s why:

  • They played it a bit safe (IMHO). Those of you in the audience who saw Greg for the first time have no idea (literally) how good a guitarist Greg is. His play tonight complemented Jesse wonderfully, so I don’t have the slightest quibble with what he played, but neither of them wanted to take a chance on opening up Greg’s play the first time out (again, my opinion, neither of them said anything to me!).
  • Greg was a bit more open (aggressive, in the positive sense) on the piano, but not on every song.
  • There were way too few harmonies, because the ones they did, were wonderful.

How do I know they don’t need to work hard to improve, just play together again? Two reasons:

  • They’re both so professional, they now already intuit exactly what the other will do, and more importantly can do, and they will trust each other more, without even needing to plan it in advance!
  • The last two songs on the set were by far their best collaboration (Only a Pawn and The Runner). On both, Greg sang more harmony and with more power. Both had Greg on the piano, highlighted more. I believe that it’s proof of my previous point. Even within this first set, their comfort and confidence with each other grew rapidly.

Let’s put the 8.5 in perspective. Each of these guys can bring it half speed and be better than most other performers. Neither did that and Jesse delivered his usual A game. The collaboration brought it up a notch. There are a few more notches to crank up further.

I’m already anticipating the next time. In the meantime, you can join me in appreciating everything that Greg Mayo has to offer when he’s front and center.

This coming Friday, August 5th, 11pm, Rockwood Music Hall is a Greg Mayo show. The very next night, August 6th, 11:15pm, next door at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2, is a new group called The Crab Apple Singers (a rejiggering of The Big Apple Singers). Greg will be playing lead guitar and singing a bunch at that show, along with a phenomenal band.

If that’s not enough Greg Mayo for you (it’s not enough for me!), then you can come earlier on Friday. Same place, Rockwood Music Hall, 9pm, the amazing Rebecca Haviland is performing (what a voice, playing terrific songs). Greg plays the keyboards in Rebecca’s band. Nice bonus, since we’d show up for Rebecca even if Greg wasn’t there. Smile

Backscratch XIV at Rockwood Music Hall

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We’ve only been to one Backscratch before, but we’ll do our best to never miss one going forward. Last night was #14, but I decided to show off my mad Roman Numeral skills in the title. Winking smile This one was back at Rockwood Music Hall (not the original venue). I covered the last one and explained the concept thusly:

Here’s the concept: gather a bunch of musicians. Each plays three songs. Traditionally (or so the legend goes) each played one original song, one well-known cover and one cover of another of the evening’s musicians, which they were each assigned at random! Now, it’s often two originals followed by the backscratch.

Backscratch was conceived by Martin Rivas and Craig Meyer, the same geniuses that brought Campfires to the world. Since Martin is touring in the UK and Europe at the moment, and Craig is probably on the road with Rachel Platten, neither was there. No matter, the MC duties were performed by Christina Morelli of NYC Art Scene fame.

We would have gone even if none of the musicians was known to us. That wasn’t the case last night, as only two of the nine performers were strangers to us. A number of them are counted among our favorites!

Jeff Litman opened the show because his band’s equipment was already on stage from his birthday set. He performed the more traditional 3-song set. He opened with a solo acoustic cover, Never Going Back Again, by Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac. What a way to kick off Backscratch XIV!

JeffLitman

Jeff’s band (Bryan Dunn, Matt Basile and Elliot Jacobson) joined him for the next two numbers. The first was his original, Everything You’re Not (from his current CD, Postscript). Jeff closed his trio with a cover of Valerie Mize (his backscratch), Promises, from her Auspices EP.

I’m not going to be able to name every song from every artist, since I do this from memory (and I don’t know all of their songs well enough anyway). Where I think I know/remember, I’ll say so.

Jesse Terry was up next, solo with an acoustic guitar. Jesse is one of our favorites, so we knew we’d enjoy his numbers. I was more curious to hear what his backscratch would be (they are assigned randomly). Jesse opened with Pearl Diver, a very new song (which we’ve heard before, since we do our best to show up whenever and wherever Jesse performs). Next up was Scared of Nothing, another Jesse original. His voice was incredible on both numbers.

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For his backscratch, Jesse drew Live Society. If you read anything I write, you likely know how much I love Live Society. Given how amazing Jesse’s voice is, and how well he handles the guitar, I admit to being extremely excited about this. He performed No One, which isn’t on their current EP. It was fantastic (both the song, and Jesse’s interpretation), so I’m seriously hoping it will be on Live Society’s forthcoming CD!

I played a critical role during the performance (which you might someday get to see on YouTube, since the entire evening was filmed by Sam Teichman). There was quite a breeze inside Rockwood and the sheet music (most of the backscratchers require some cheat sheet) was flapping off the music stand. I bravely reached up and held the corner of Jesse’s sheet for the entire song, saving the day! Winking smile

Please allow me a digression here (or skip ahead, I might not even be able to tell). I used the word interpretation above for a few reasons. First, there’s the obvious one (in this case), where Jesse is a solo artist trying to reproduce a song performed by a band that crushes three-part harmony, and is accompanied by guitar, keyboards, bass and drums (usually).

Second, the backscratch is often a song that was learned quickly, at times even on the day of the show, so it’s not likely to be a studied copy. But the most important thing is that it’s often a true artistic interpretation, in the sense of paying homage to the original artist by delivering it to them in your style (for most cases, the original artist is hearing it live then and there).

Jesse delivered No One in his own style. I absolutely would have believed it was one of his songs if he had introduced it as such. After singing it, he met Live Society for the first time. How cool is that, practically and conceptually?

LiveSocietyJesseTerry

Unfortunately, Jesse had to leave shortly after performing. He had an early trip this morning, heading to Greenland, just shy of the North Pole (of all places). He’ll be serenading our troops there for the next week or so. He didn’t get to hear the backscratch that covered him (we’ll get to that later).

Valerie Mize was up next. She performed two originals with her band (Antar Goodwin on electric bass and Tomo Kanno on drums). She opened with Downtown Train. She followed that with a new number. She played electric guitar on both, finger picking (beautifully) for the most part, and strumming without a pick the rest of the time. She has a beautiful voice.

ValerieMizeSinging

We’ve seen Valerie only once before, at the Soul Benefit where she sang backup. Here’s what I wrote about her performance that night:

For most numbers, there were three or four backup singers on stage. All but one sang lead as well, so I’ll mention them in a second. The only backup singer who didn’t sing lead on at least one song was Valerie Mize. She did a wonderful job. I’m sure if there was more time, she too would have taken a turn at the center mic and wow’ed us.

I’d never seen Antar or Tomo before. Both did a very good job and are well-matched with Valerie.

AntarGoodwinTomoKonno

For her backscratch, Valerie dismissed the band and moved to the grand piano. She sang Ophelia by John Schmitt. He too is one of our favorites, as is that specific song (title cut from his current CD). Valerie played the piano beautifully and sang a very soulful version of Ophelia.

ValerieMizePiano

Patrick Firth was up next. We’ve seen Patrick many times, but last night was a first on two scores. We’d never seen him perform an original and we’d never seen him play anything other than keyboards. Instead of heading for the grand piano in the corner, Patrick (his friends seem to call him Pat, but that feels presumptuous on my part) sat on a stool, center stage, and sang an original accompanying himself on the acoustic guitar. Very nicely done!

PatrickFirthGuitar

I already knew he had a nice voice (you can read about it in this post). Now I know that he can write and sing his own stuff (that night was covers) and play the guitar as well.

Patrick then moved to the piano and performed a brand new song that he wrote over the post three days (finishing it yesterday!). He plays with the Big Apple Circus and wrote it while in CT, on breaks, between shows.

PatrickFirthPiano

For his backscratch, Patrick played Grow by Nick Howard. What a fantastic job. We had just seen Nick perform a full set earlier that night (with a full band), next door at Rockwood 2 (covered here). He played that song with the full band. Patrick’s rendition was very different and equally beautiful.

Unfortunately, Nick hadn’t made it over to Rockwood 1 yet, so he missed hearing Patrick nail his song.

John Schmitt was up next. That alone would be reason enough for celebration. But, in a complete surprise for me, John brought up Greg Mayo to play guitar with him. John opened with Two Souls.

JohnSchmitt

Greg played some amazing guitar solos (surprise!) and sang a few words (way too few) of harmony (very nicely). He played Patrick Firth’s guitar.

GregMayo

Next John played Going Back (a fantastic new song of his, that isn’t on the Ophelia CD). Typically, he has a female voice singing harmony with him. Greg basically filled that role with guitar leads. Holy moly, it was awesome.

John is currently raising money to record that song professionally. We contributed early. Even though we did (quite happily), we noted to each other that the raw version John has up on his donation page is quite beautiful. We worried (privately) whether people would wonder why he needs/wants another version. Having heard how different it can sound by just adding another guitar (admittedly, one played by Greg Mayo!), made us just contribute a second time. We no longer doubt John Schmitt’s wisdom. Smile

Greg then left the stage and tried to take Patrick’s guitar with him. John kept it, asking Patrick if he could use it for his backscratch (John had broken a string earlier, and had to use a different one in its place. I’ll spare you the groaners about a broken G-string.) Winking smile

Patrick agreed to let John use the guitar, until John admitted that his backscratch was none other than Patrick. At that point Patrick said: “Then NO!”. Of course, he was kidding, but it was funny nonetheless.

I don’t know the name of the song, but it was great. So, Patrick can indeed write, and we already knew that John can deliver. A great combo!

Lara Ewen was up next, accompanying herself on acoustic guitar. I had never heard of Lara, so I didn’t recognize the two originals that she played. They were both nice and I like her voice.

LaraEwen

For her backscratch, she drew Jesse Terry. She was quite funny in pointing out that most people give excuses like “I had to miss your performance because I was at the North Pole, but that in Jesse’s case, it was the truth!”. Winking smile She added that she was happy about that, because she was reasonably sure she was going to butcher his number.

She chose The Runner (the title cut from Jesse’s CD). She was correct in knowing that she hadn’t quite nailed the song, but I certainly wouldn’t say she butchered it, just that certain parts caused her some grief. Winking smile

Benjamin Wagner was up next, also accompanying himself on acoustic guitar. Benjamin was the only other performer I hadn’t heard of before. In this case, it turned out to be a little less mysterious. He has a full-time job and a one-year-old, which has slowed down his live performances dramatically.

BenjaminWagner

Of all the performers, he was the chattiest. While I found his style entertaining and the content interesting and well-delivered, he was also the only one who cursed (and quite a bit at that). I’m no prude, but it was still jarring in contrast to the rest of the show.

He has a very good voice and plays the guitar well enough. That said, neither of his two originals (Giving Up the Ghost and Dear Elizabeth) grabbed me.

He inserted his backscratch in between them. He drew Lara Ewen and chose One Day. Wow, I really liked it a lot, both the song and his performance of it. So, I know Lara is capable of writing songs that will grab me, and I know that Benjamin is capable of delivering a song in a manner that will engage me as well. Neither pulled that off with their own originals, but the sample size was two in each case, so let’s toss that out and start again, the next time I see either of them.

Benjamin blogs regularly and he posted his thoughts about last night’s show.

Nick Howard was up next (and had arrived by then). He played solo acoustic, quite a contrast to his earlier full-band set at Rockwood 2. One of the two originals that he played was Grow, which he had performed in the earlier set. It’s the same song that Patrick Firth had covered for his backscratch, but Nick was unaware, since he hadn’t made it in yet.

NickHoward

That made three performances of Grow in one night for us. All were quite different from each other (even though Nick himself performed two of them!). All three were very well done.

Nick’s other original was Falling for You, which he had also performed with the full band in the earlier set. Once again, his solo performance was different and beautiful. As I noted in the earlier post, he had to work harder to get his voice heard over the full band. In the solo set, his voice was just right.

For his backscratch, Nick drew Benjamin Wagner. I don’t recall the song, but I remember thinking it was nice and that Nick did a good job with it.

Last, but certainly not least, was Live Society. They were without their guitarist (John Kaiteris), keyboard player (varies) and drummer (Erik Perez). The three singers, Brian Collazo, Jason Vargas and Kevin Collazo were joined by their regular bass player, Anthony Candullo. Anthony also played acoustic guitar on one number.

BrianCollazoGuitarAnthonyCandulloGuitar

Two special guests joined them: Patrick Firth on grand piano and Greg Mayo on acoustic guitar.

Live Society reverted to the classic format, one famous cover, one original and one backscratch, mirroring the opener (Jeff Litman) as the only acts who did that last night. That was more than fitting, as they asked the crowd if any of us had done the calculus to guess who their backscratch was? Even you who weren’t there should be able to figure it out. I’ll give you a minute while I get to their other two songs.

GregMayoLiveSociety

They opened with their original Better Man. Gorgeous! They followed that with I Second that Emotion by Smokey Robinson. Jason Vargas took the lead for a good portion of the song. It was fantastic.

JasonVargas

For their backscratch, they drew Jeff Litman (please don’t tell me you haven’t figured it out yet). They performed Open Arms. Frist, the bottom line: Wow! Now, some details.

Jeff’s version is wonderful, but it’s straight up power Pop. Live Society owned their version, which was about as Mowtown/R&B as you could hope and it couldn’t have worked better.

All three of them traded singing lead. Yes, you read that correctly. If you’ve followed my other ravings about Live Society, then you know that I have started a campaign to get them to have Kevin sing some lead. He did, and he was terrific! I had to tease him/them after the show, pointing out that it took a backscratch to get Kevin to take a lead. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of a trend. All three of them can sing, including Kevin!

KevinCollazo

What a way to end a spectacular evening.

Backscratch was listed as 9-11pm on the Rockwood schedule. Before the show started, the sound guy told Christina that the previous show had run over and he would appreciate her trying to keep it moving at a rapid pace. Ha!

Last night’s show ran over by only an hour. No one dawdled. Let’s do the math: nine artists each performing three songs, averaging four minutes = 108 minutes. That’s nearly the full two hours, without accounting for time between songs, banter, and oh yeah, changeover between acts (sometimes including moving equipment around). The fact that it’s not scheduled for three hours is the joke, not that it ran over.

Update: A number of people commented to me via email and Twitter that the site correctly listed it as three hours, albeit confusingly. That’s correct, in the sense that there was no artist listed at 11pm. But, the show was listed as 9-11pm, which was explained to me as meaning that 11pm was considered a continuing start time. Wow, not the clearest communication. Anyway, I’ll still knock Rockwood for not making that part clear, but Christina Morelli did indeed deliver an on-time performance! 🙂

It was late, obviously, but I can’t imagine having missed it. Smile

Jesse Terry and Carley Tanchon at Sessions 73

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At 8pm we were at Rockwood Music Hall catching a set by Derek James and the Lovely Fools. The minute the set was over we hopped in a cab and headed straight up First Avenue (no turns from Rockwood all the way to Sessions 73).

We had never been to Sessions 73 before, but any opportunity to see Jesse Terry and Carley Tanchon (separate sets) is a perfect excuse to check out a new place.

We got there just as Jesse was setting up so I didn’t have a chance to check out the rest of the place (from the site, it seems like the room opposite the bar is a restaurant, and they might even have a separate room for larger shows, but I’ll have to return to verify that).

While Jesse was soundchecking, Lois snapped a photo of Carley with Jesse’s wife:

JessTerryCarleyTanchon

The bar is a long narrow room with a very nice stage set up in the corner (right up against the First Avenue windows).

This will be a super-short post (by my standards) for a number of reasons, the most important being that I’ve written about Jesse and Carley quite a number of times, and neither broke new ground last night (no one expected them to). I’ll point you to my most recent post about both them, when they appeared at a house concert.

Jesse was up first and selected a wonderful set of his music and some covers. He invited Carley up to sing with him on The Weight by The Band (excellent!). To close the show, he asked people to pick one of two choices. I yelled up Natural (which wasn’t one of the choices, rebel that I am!). Jesse looked for confirmation from others to make sure I wasn’t overruling the collective desire. He got the nod, and proceeded to melt everyone in the bar. Smile

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Carley also performed a mixed set (mostly originals). Her cover was an homage to Stevie Nicks, her favorite singer. She even bothered to learn the tricky guitar parts that she and Jesse used to hum when they played it together in the past. Winking smile

CarleyTanchon

This was a bar, so I won’t complain that occasionally people talked. At times, so loudly that you had to wonder why, since this was solo acoustic music, they could have heard each other without the screaming, but hey, it’s not unexpected here. That can make Sessions 73 a hit-or-miss place to see someone you really like, but possibly a good place to discover some talent if you can put up with the chattering (which I can, in this situation).

The other complaint is that the sound guy is about the nicest person you could imagine (hey, I know, that doesn’t sound like a complaint!). Unfortunately, he didn’t get the vocals right last night (and there was only a single person singing for all but The Weight).

The vocals were off in that they were a drop too loud, but really had too much punch in them. It wasn’t quite reverb, it was more like being attacked by the vocals. It was worse in the mid-range, so Jesse suffered the effect more than Carley.

In a horrible ironic twist, while Carley introduced her last song, he must have noticed it too, and he turned off the effect (he didn’t lower the volume). Her voice became clearer instantly. She then sang the song (amazingly, Blues in C, check it out!), with no ill vocal effects. So, it can be done right at Sessons 73 as well.

We had a fun (but another late!) night out. Come join us at Rockwood 2 tonight at 9pm for the amazing Delta Rae!

Jesse Terry, Michael Logen and Carley Tanchon at a House Concert

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For people who see live music as often as we do, I’m still amazed that it’s only been eight months since our first-ever house concert. We’ve been to a reasonable number of them since. Last night brought us full circle. We attended a concert at the same house that kicked it off, with the same headliner, with two other artists.

I’m normally very long winded (for the newcomers here, it’s because I write purely for myself, to remember the events in detail). Today, since I’ve written about all three performers (Jesse most of all), I’ll be briefer about them. You can click through above to see more about Jesse from the last house concert, or the links below for my coverage of Michael and Carley. You’re welcome! Smile

Jesse Terry was spectacular (again). In addition to selecting (and performing) a great set, he was on fire with his banter (quick and witty). He dedicated two songs to our amazing hostess. He dedicated another to a therapist in the room (a deeply moving song called Silver Hills, that melted everyone’s heart when Jesse introduced it). He dedicated another to Lois (I think just because he knew he could make her cry, he’s cruel that way!). Winking smile

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Jesse made reference to a video shot in Vanuatu. He mentioned that it’s the last documented case of cannibalism (we found out later it was roughly 25 years ago). None of the people in the video look like they were involved in that incident, but you never know, so be careful (especially of the one guy who dances behind Jesse, looking a little too happy!). The woman in the pink dress is now Jesse’s wife (not yet when the video was shot) and the woman in the straw hat, bikini top and shorts is Carley, another of the performers last night:

Ain’t No Tellin by Jesse Terry

Here’s Jesse telling the story about the video:

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And the lovely ladies who appear in the video:

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And the effect the story had on Carley!

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Michael Logen alternated songs with Jesse (like he did the only other time we’ve seen him). This time it was only acoustic guitar (he played the grand piano as well at Rockwood). I’ll repeat that Jesse was right when he said we’d love Michael, we do!

MichaelLogenGuitar

Michael has a wonderful voice, plays the guitar and harmonica beautifully, and writes excellent songs, many of which are very moving. We were happy to buy his CD last night, Things I Failed to Mention (we ran out too quickly after the Rockwood show), so now we’ll get to hear them over and over.

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At Rockwood, Michael harmonized with Jesse on Noise (a song they co-wrote), while accompanying him on the piano. Last night, he also harmonized (beautifully) and accompanied Jesse on the guitar. In fact, Michael added a bit of harmony to a few of Jesse’s songs last night (and Jesse returned the favor once or twice). I was sitting less than two feet from Michael, so I could hear every note, but Lois asked him to sing his harmonies louder, because they were so well done!

Carley Tanchon opened the show. We had a tiny taste of Carley, singing harmony with Jesse on one song at The Bitter End. Then we finally got to see her goods at her CD Release Show at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2. That was a full band, all-out Rock ‘N Roll show.

Last night was solo with acoustic guitar. Still, everything I said about her in that show applies. Aside from the generic fact that Carley has a stunning voice, it’s a bit hard to imagine a better fitting voice for a house concert. No microphone? No problem! Her voice projects so clearly and cleanly. She has such power, but there’s no yelling about it.

CarleyTanchonPerforming

Jesse called Carley up to sing harmony on Ain’t No Tellin (the video above). Of course, the harmony was gorgeous.

They closed the show by calling Carley back up again and all three (but mostly Jesse and Carley) sang To Love Somebody by the Bee Gees. Of course they nailed it, but more interestingly, nearly everyone sang the chorus with them, quite well.

Excluding an intermission, they played for three hours (or a bit more!). It was by far the longest house concert we’ve seen. It was awesome, but made for a very late night, since we still had to drive back to Manhattan from Long Island.

Here are a few photos from before and after the show:

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Now that I’ve gotten the music out of the way, let’s get to real point of last night, eating our hostess’ food! Ah, you think I jest, but I don’t! Last year’s meal was one of the best home cooked meals I’ve had. I’ll admit (now) that I was bit nervous if the second time around would live up to my own memories and expectations.

OurAmazingHosts

No need to worry! There was an even bigger choice, so there were a few dishes I didn’t get to taste, but everything I ate (which was a lot of variety) was simply amazing. Pasta Puttanesca, Beet Salad, Rigatoni with meat sauce, Meatballs, Tandoori Chicken, Indian-spiced Chickpeas (cooked, not a salad), Bean Dip with Chips, Homemade Breads (made by a male guest!).

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Every bite was excellent, but I still can’t get the taste of the meatballs out of my head. If my godson had been there, I don’t think they could have gotten him to leave. Winking smile

The reason I didn’t eat everything (I skipped the Poached Salmon, Asparagus Salad, Grilled Chicken, Basmati Rice, Veggie Wraps and a few other dishes) is because last year I was too full to enjoy the incredible desserts. Since I am occasionally capable of learning from my mistakes, I saved room.

While trying (unsuccessfully) to avoid stares from Lois, I did indeed indulge in a number of desserts during intermission and after the show. They were all amazing, but I have to shout out to the chocolate covered strawberries (OMG) and the blond-mini-kisses covered pretzels. Desserts were provided by a variety of guests, so a special thank you to all of you!

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Merry, you outdid yourself! So, now I’m already nervous about the next house concert and what you will serve to delight me (that’s why you’re doing these shows, right?). Smile

Jesse Terry, Michael Logen and Alex Wong at Rockwood Music Hall

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We were looking forward to last night for a few months. We’ve seen Jesse Terry a number of times and he never disappoints. We’ve seen Alex Wong many times and couldn’t believe it’s been nearly five months since we’ve seen him solo (we did catch him a couple of months ago as part of The Paper Raincoat). We’d never seen Michael Logen before, but Jesse told us we’d love him and that turned out to be an understatement!

We love the format, singer/songwriters in-the-round. Each sings one song and yields to the next person.

Jesse kicked it off, then Michael, then Alex. Each played five songs.

Jesse played all of his songs on the acoustic guitar. He has an exceptional voice, writes wonderful songs and has a spirit that brightens any room he’s in. I’ve written about him recently, so I won’t prattle on. I’ll just note that he closed with Noise, one of a number of his absolutely amazing songs, a perfect way to end his set.

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Michael Logen played both acoustic guitar and grand piano for his five numbers. He too has an excellent voice, plays both instruments very well and writes wonderful songs.

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Early on he played a song called Human After All. Absolutely fantastic song. The entire time he was singing it, I kept thinking I’ve heard that song on a TV show recently. I could almost sing along with it, it was that familiar to me. After the show I asked Michael if it had ever been placed on TV. He said that it came close, but didn’t make it.

This morning I searched for where I might have heard it before. Oops, not only did I quickly find out where I heard it, I actually wrote about it already, without knowing the title. On April 25th, we saw Backscratch 13 at Rockwood. One of the best songs of the night was by Sierra Noble. She mentioned that she co-wrote it with Michael Logen. I noted what a small world story that was. Here’s that part of my post:

The other one is a small world story. I’ve written a number of times about a great singer/songwriter, Jesse Terry. We’re going to see him again twice in May, once in Rockwood (next week) and the week after at a house concert (where we first saw him). Appearing with him at both shows is a friend of his, Michael Logen. Jesse has told me how much I am going to like Michael. One of Sierra’s originals was co-written with Michael Logen. Martin sang Michael’s part in gorgeous harmony with Sierra.

Now I have to hear/see Michael and Sierra perform it together!

While Michael had his own last song, he accompanied Jesse on Noise, playing the piano and singing beautiful harmony with him. Jesse announced that he co-wrote Noise with Michael. Why am I not surprised, given each of their obvious talents. Well done boys!

Alex Wong also played acoustic guitar and grand piano. In fact, he opened with a new song, Always Something Better, playing both (sort of). He started on the guitar. Using his loop, he laid down a percussion track by banging on the guitar body. Then he rubbed the strings to make a whooshing sound, also looped. While those two tracks were repeating, he put down the guitar and sang the song at the piano.

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It’s a very deep song and it will be on Alex’s first solo CD, coming out in the fall. Our anticipation is officially building already.

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Next Alex returned to the guitar and joked that he’s not a loop master, even though he was about to use the loop for a second consecutive song. We’ve heard Brooklyn Blurs dozens of times, in many configurations. Last night was a very fresh take, with percussion sound effects provided by the loop, with Alex playing the acoustic guitar while singing. Fantastic!

Joining him on three of his numbers, including Brooklyn Blurs, was Melissa Tong on violin. Melissa actually stood with her back against the far wall, in the audience. Melissa is always a welcome addition to anyone’s set!

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Alex got all of us singing twice. First on The Same Old Things. The second was on his closing number, which will also be the last song on the new CD (he announced that, I’m not predicting the future).

In past shows, I’ve called the closing number the “Yeah Yeah Yeah” song. I finally broke down and asked Alex the name of the song after the set. It’s Are You Listening. I am now! I’ve loved the song (co-written with Nate Campany) from the first time I heard it. I loved it last night as well.

The chorus is very complicated, threefour Yeah’s in a row [correction: someone on FB commented that it’s four Yeah’s in a row, not three. Oops. I was too busy enjoying singing to properly count 😉 ]. Somehow, we mastered it. It’s very spiritual sounding (those words and melody), not like the Beatles version. Winking smile

Another amazing night out, with a bunch of friends enjoying the show with us (the way it should be!). We will be getting an even bigger dose of Jesse and Michael a week from tonight at a house concert. We are so excited.

Jesse Terry and Gavin Slate at Rockwood Music Hall

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Yesterday promised to be a perfect late afternoon / early evening. It didn’t disappoint!

Jesse Terry is an amazing singer/songwriter (many easy ways for you to verify that claim for yourself, on YouTube, his own site, MySpace, etc.). We’ve seen him perform at a house concert, then at The Bitter End. We’ve been waiting patiently to catch him again, given his touring all over the US.

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Jesse was listed at 7pm. Whenever we go to Rockwood, we check out the act before to see if we’d enjoy them, mostly to raise our chances of getting a seat. Listed before Jesse at 6pm (first set of the night) was Gavin Slate. A single song on his MySpace page was all I needed to hear to be sure we’d enjoy his set.

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It turns out that Gavin came down from Toronto just for this show. He’s good friends with Jesse and rather than have two separate sets, they combined the two and played together. I knew that in advance because I follow Jesse on Twitter (and our mutual friend also told me), but some of Jesse’s supporters didn’t walk into Rockwood until 6:40, thinking he wouldn’t be on until 7pm.

Jesse and Gavin alternated songs throughout a 105-minute set. That was great because there was obviously no break between the 6 and 7pm slots, so we got at least 7.5 minutes extra (two songs worth) from each of them!

We love the in-the-round format in general. Even when it’s only two people, there’s a freshness from having each rest their voice and fingers between songs. The banter is typically a little faster paced because the performers feed off each other. The only thing missing is that while Jesse and Gavin are good friends and have tremendous love/respect for each other’s music, they don’t tour together (this was their first-ever formal show) so they don’t sing harmony on the other’s numbers.

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I can rave about Jesse all day long, but let me summarize by saying three things:

  • He writes beautiful songs
  • He has an extraordinary voice
  • He plays the guitar beautifully (I love his finger-picking in particular!)

All three were in play last night. Jesse debuted (at least from our perspective) a number of new songs, including one he just finished this week! They were all fantastic. I mentioned to his wife (they were married in December) that she is an obvious inspiration to him, because his songwriting continues to be on fire.

Jesse will be back at Rockwood on May 6th, for a 2-hour shared set with another of our favorites, Alex Wong and Michael Logen. They’ll be on from 7-9pm. Not to make the same mistake (listing-wise), I heard Jesse mention that Keegan DeWitt is part of their set too. He’s listed separately at 9pm. So, this is more likely a 4-person shared set from 7-10pm. Should be epic!

AlexWongHadar

Gavin was a complete mystery to us, other than liking what we heard on MySpace. Like  I said above, we were not disappointed. Gavin has an excellent voice, plays the guitar well and writes very interesting songs. He has a relaxed style on stage and told a few good stories (one in particular had us in stitches and I had to go up to him after the show to chat about it!).

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We bought his EP after the show and listened to it this morning. Wonderful! When I loaded it up, the Gracenote database had it classified as Pop. That surprised me, since Gavin was playing solo with an acoustic guitar last night and I would have described it as closer to folk. But, the production on the EP is terrific with a full band and I have no trouble accepting these songs as Pop. Very well done.

We heard all four of the songs last night. Each was completely recognizable on the EP, yet very different. More than the instrumentation (which was dramatic enough), the harmony on the EP struck both of us immediately. Gavin can certainly tour solo and hold our attention completely. It’s nice to know he could show up with a full band and make good use of them as well.

We weren’t scheduled to be in the city this Friday, but Jesse announced that Carley Tanchon has her Record Release show at Rockwood at 7:30pm at Rockwood 2 that night (April 1st). We were able to change our plans and we’ll definitely be there. Hope to see you all there as well! Smile

Having just discovered The Meatball Shop two days earlier (well, not actually discovered, but rather finally experienced), it was hard not to work that into our plans again. Since the show was early, we decided to have an even earlier dinner there. Five of us took two cabs down there. Ours arrived a bit later than theirs. We walked in at 4:30pm. The place was crowded and our three friends were seated at the bar. We could have sat at the bar as well, but not near them.

In a bold (and highly unusual) move, Lois decided to try and force Spring to appear on the spot. She made the executive decision that we would eat outdoors! It was definitely brisk, but surprisingly not the least bit uncomfortable. We had another amazing meal (I branched out and had the same exact dish, but this time with pork meatballs instead of beef).

Jess and Jesse Terry Wedding

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Yesterday’s post ended with: “Congratulations to Jesse and Jess as your new life together begins in a few hours!”

This is the sequel to that post, sharing some memories from an absolutely gorgeous wedding ceremony that we were honored to be invited to.

WeddingProgram

Just like the night before, things weren’t exactly hitch-less as far as timing is concerned. This time, traffic wasn’t to blame. Someone (I don’t know who, so I’m not just protecting the guilty party) Winking smile accidentally left the video camera in the hotel room. So, even though everyone was gathered, the ceremony was delayed until the camera was retrieved. We were sitting with three friends, so the time passed very quickly.

The wedding and reception were held at Tomes-Higgins House in Greenwich, CT. There was a grand piano in the corner (eventually played beautifully by Justin Coutu), but the majority of the music in the wedding came from an iPod, sitting in a speaker dock, sitting on top of that piano.

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The first song played was Over the Sun We’ll Fly, written by Jesse Terry as his engagement/proposal song for Jess (Jessica Groom). Here is a YouTube video of him singing it for her (and proposing in front of the audience!) at the Bluebird Café in Nashville:

Jesse Terry performing Over the Sun We’ll Fly at the Bluebird Cafe

After that song, they played Moon River, while the wedding party came down the aisle. The flower girl and ring bearer stole the show (a few times).

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Officiating was the Reverend Andrew Williams (Drew), Senior Pastor at Trinity Church in Greenwich, CT. In these Internet-crazed days, most people associate WWW with World Wide Web. Yesterday, it was Pastor Drew’s: Wisdom, Warmth and Wit. All three were in full bloom and moved Lois and I throughout the ceremony.

PastorAndrewWilliams

I hesitate to share his first humorous statement, because I know it won’t come across with the warmth that was obvious in context. When Jess and Jesse settled in before him, he said that their entire lives were destined to bring them together on this day. “Both families prayed for this to happen. Looking at Jess, clearly, Jesse’s family prayed a bit harder.” Winking smile

JessTerryGreetingTheBrideToBe

There was a spontaneous roar and any worries that this would be a stiff ceremony were dispelled immediately.

The Pastor led us in prayer and song. Jesse’s grandfather read from First Corinthians 13 and his mother read A Prayer of St. Francis.

GrandfatherReadingFirstCorinthians13MotherReadingAPrayerOfStFrancis

The Pastor gave a number of inspirational talks and blessings. The one that overwhelmingly got to Lois was a message to the couple to go through life learning to dance together (poor paraphrase by me). He spoke about the various stages of learning to dance and the feelings people experience. He related them to his family (wife and kids) in a beautiful way, giving a more practical sense to a theoretical topic. The dance manual? The Bible, of course!

PastorAndrewWilliamsWeddingMessage

After the ceremony, Lois bolted straight to the Pastor and asked him whether he would be willing to give her a copy of his message so we could post it on the blog. He told her that he would email it to her. If/when he does, I’ll update the post and include it here.

Update: The Pastor emailed Lois today! I include the wonderful Dance Instructions in their entirety, unedited, at the bottom of this post!

I already mentioned the flower girl and ring bearer. The flower girl’s enthusiasm was literally bursting at the seams. When the Pastor asked for the rings, the tiny ring bearer jumped up and announced: “I have them!”. The entire room started giggling.

The Pastor was not the only one to crack a joke. Right after the ceremony concluded, our friend leaned over and said: “Not every bride is also a groom!”. If you don’t get it, check back to see Jess’ maiden name in the parens above. Smile

When the ceremony was over, all of the chairs were removed from the two rooms and tables were rolled in as the food was brought out. It was very nice not to have to run from one location to another to shift from the ceremony to the reception. As the wedding party took photos, the rest of the guests started the other kind of party, celebrating the happy couple’s nuptials.

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Jess and Jesse Terry are two of the nicest people you will ever meet. Sharing this joyous occasion with them and their loved ones was truly an honor. We wish them a life full of love and happiness and hope to share some of it with them along the way!

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Pastor Drew Williams’ Dance Instructions:

1.  Dancing Lessons

As you stand at the threshold of your marriage, I believe that the Lord would have me give you some dancing lessons.

Let me explain:

Your marriage is God’s gift to you both.

Not happenstance.

Not the outworking of a random series of events.

Your marriage is God’s gift to you both.

God has chosen you and He has chosen you for each other.

This gift is given in love and is part of God’s plan to enable you both to be all The Lord created you to be.

His desire for your marriage is that it should be a place where:

  • all your gifts
  • all that makes you both fully alive

all of this should have its fullest expression.

But for this happen – you are going to have to let the Lord teach you to how to dance.

‘A time to dance’ Ecclesiastes 3:4

Irony here is that I am of an age where according to my children I dance just like my father!

I would like to show you how to dance with your Heavenly Father.

In doing this I want to look at:

  • theory,
  • practical dance tips
  • and then an invitation.

Let’s look at some theory first.

2. Dance Theory

2.1 Following the Manual

There is a dance manual!

In the beginning it was the word of God that created.

God spoke and chaos became choreography.

Make this dance manual a living part of your marriage.

Read it together.

Work at it together.

Pray through it together.

2.2 Following Emmanuel

So there is a manual and there is ‘Emmanuel’ – God is with us.

Dance that is truly inspired always contains something that is extemporary.

The wind blows wherever it pleases.

You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.

So it is with everyone who is born of the Holy Spirit.

Let The Holy Spirit lead you

and you can be sure that you won’t have a ready answer for those who want to know your next move

but there will be moments in His leading when it will feel that you have been lifted off the dance floor altogether.

And here is where you find eternal perspective.

So there is some dance theory.

  • Embrace The Word of God.
  • Embrace the Holy Spirit.

What about some practical tips?

I had a list here of twenty five practical tips.

I have narrowed it down to two.

3. Practical Dance tips

What we have here in Jess and Jesse are two solo routines that now have to be re-cast by the Lord so as to be one amazing salsa partnership.

3.1 Practice

So the first practical tip is exactly that.

You need to Practice.

In the Old Testament David was a terrific dancer – he had all the moves.

But when he married he took a year out from the Battle field where David and his wife joined the Lord on the dance floor and worked out some new steps.

So take plenty of time in the next year to put in some practice;

push back the furniture,

roll back the carpet

and enjoy the music!

Tell your family and friends that you can’t come out – you are having some dancing lessons.

They will understand!

When we were first married my wife and I had some ballroom dancing lessons.

We learned a lot about each other in those evenings.

We learned that:

  • I had very poor rhythm but I could remember the next move.
  • We learned that my wife was great at keeping time but could not always remember what came next.

So we hurtled around the dance floor – her shouting out the rhythm in my left ear and me shouting out the next move and trying to avoid her feet.

Sometimes I was leading and sometimes there was really only the appearance that I was leading.

I see now that Lord was teaching us something that would serve us well.

A good dance partnership is clearly all about just that ‘partnership’ –

but there will be times when it will be your responsibility – Jesse(y) – to discern in God the next move – and take a strong lead.

There will be other times when you – Jess– will sense the Lord’s timing and you are going to have to help Jesse take that strong lead.

And all of this takes practice.

Sometimes it may feel to you that the Lord is using your marriage to slow you down.

Actually this is all about timing.

Don’t underestimate the deep significance of what God is doing through these slow tempo seasons.

And for later – the Lord would have you both remember Isaiah 40:11 ‘The Lord gently leads those that have little ones.’

3.2 Physical Touch

Practically speaking, there is something very Latin about the way the Lord dances.

‘When I found the one my heart loves. I held him and would not let him go.’ Song of Songs 3:4

This is a dance that you have to feel; to have and to hold.

I want to give you something – very precious.

My wife gave this to me on my wedding day.

It is one of the most precious things

I have and I had to ask her if it was OK for me to give it to you.

Can you feel that? On our wedding day, as we said our vows my wife held my hand and said that.

Can you feel what is being said here?

And in the days that have followed – during the birth of our children, in the moments before I was ordained, during times of great joy and in times of sorrow – she has held my hand and this is what she says to me.

And this is what I say back.

And nobody else knows except us and the Lord.

Find the same secret language – you are very welcome to borrow from our vocabulary – but find this physical language and use it.

Don’t let today be the last time you kiss your wife in public.

Be indiscreet on public transport and hold hands for goodness sake!

Physical touch is essential language in a great dance partnership.

So you have some theory and some practical tips and now I want to extend to you both an invitation.

4. Take hold my right hand

There is a clear warning in the Bible that the dance floor may be strewn with the occasional obstacle.

The apostle Peter, talks about many kinds of trial.

But even in that warning there is an incredible encouragement hidden in the cadence of the language.

The Greek word Peter chooses to describe these ‘many trials’ is ‘poikilos’, which literally means many or multi- coloured.

Peter uses that word only one other time and that is to describe the love of God ‘in its many colours.’ (1 Peter 4:10.)

His point is this.

Along the way, our troubles may be multi- coloured but so too is the Father’s love.

There is no colour in the human situation which the love of the Father cannot match.

‘For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.’ Isaiah 41:13

Take hold His right hand.

Dance with the Father.

Finally

How might I conclude?

In just a moment you are going to move from two solo dance routines to dance with one another.

It will last the rest of your life.

So then finally this:

Live every day of your long, happy and healthy marriage as if it were – the last dance.

Amen.

Jesse Terry at The Bitter End

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What do you do the night before you get married? Have a wild bachelor party? Meditate on the changes your life is about to experience? Not if you’re Jesse Terry, a wonderful singer/songwriter who hails from Nashville. You give your family, friends and fans a chance to celebrate with you.

Jesse Terry played a 35-minute set at The Bitter End last night (he’s getting married today!). We had heard about Jesse for over a year from one of his biggest fans and finally got to see him perform three months ago at a house concert at that fan’s (our friend’s) house. I covered that night in this post. We’ve been big fans ourselves ever since.

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Last night started off a bit shaky. Jesse and his entourage (fiancée, mother-in-law-to-be, others?) allowed two hours to make a 40-minute drive to the city. With crazy holiday traffic, it wasn’t enough. After scrambling to set up, Jesse’s set started 15 minutes late. That’s fine, it only added to the anticipation. Smile

Jesse played a seven song set of mixed genres. The third song was Natural, one of two songs that Lois plays over (and over, and over, and over…). Jesse switched from up-tempo strumming to fantastic finger-picking for this heart-tugger. I linked to the YouTube video in the last post, but I’m going to do it again, because you need to hear it (even if you’ve heard it before!). Smile

Jesse Terry performing Natural at the Bluebird Cafe

A couple of songs later Jesse asked for any requests. Lois was first with a request for Noise, but we heard at least five other people call out Noise, including Jesse’s father! Noise is another stunning song, finger-picked to perfection. I can’t resist linking that one either. Winking smile

Jesse Terry peforming Noise at the Bluebird Cafe

If you don’t know Jesse, don’t be fooled into thinking that everything he does is mellow finger-picking (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) Winking smile Jesse is simply a wonderful singer/songwriter who isn’t shackled to one style. These two songs just happen to blow both of us away.

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To close out his set, Jesse invited up his duet partner, Carley Tanchon to sing with him. Jesse and Carley performed together for months on a South Pacific cruise. It’s on that cruise that Jesse met his bride-to-be, Jess (yes, they’ll be Jess and Jesse Terry). Smile

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Carley has a gorgeous voice (you can check it out in the link to her MySpace page above). The two of them sang beautifully together and ended the set on a high note.

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Congratulations to Jesse and Jess as your new life together begins in a few hours!