Today is Dad's first posthumous birthday. Two days ago, we did a tribute concert for him in a nineteenth-century church in Ewing, New Jersey.
While my sister beamed each song's specially chosen photo onto the church wall, we performed about thirty songs, including about eleven that I wrote this year about Dad and some of the people he loved. I was joined by some of the best singers and instrumentalists in the area. Jenny Cat on grand piano, Frank Burk on violin and backing vocals, Nick Crocker on guitar and backing vocals, and Righteous Jolly, James Feichthaler, Pam Crescenzo, and Nelson "JJ" McGarvey as my special guest vocalists.
Dad and I went to Nashville, Tennessee twice, checking out sites like the Ryman Auditorium, RCA Studio B, Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, The Country Music Hall Of Fame, Musicians Hall Of Fame, The Johnny Cash Museum. On the second trip, he was dealing very poorly with the heat and spent a lot of time in the hotel. One morning, though, Dad surprised me by asking if I'd like to go to Graceland. Google Map it - it's not close! All these years later, I don't remember the grueling drive (well, maybe a little) - I remember Dad and I going to Graceland. Graceland. In Memphis, Tennessee.
Thanks to Bob and Helen at 1867 Sanctuary Arts and Culture Center for everything, and thanks to Nick Crocker for recording everything.