Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Chuck Leavell and Marmalade Sky

What a night.

What an earth shattering, volcanic-to-the-core, musical, magical, mystical night.

And that was just the lobby music. Chuck Leavell didn't even make it to the stage yet.

Let me explain:

As a musician and a dad, I am convinced that the best way to teach a kid to play music is to NOT teach them. Instead, give them the opportunity and freedom to really love something. To be excited and happy about it. I always wondered if my daughter Rachel would ever be interested in music. And until last year, she didn't really show any signs of it. Oh, we tried the ballet thing. We tried the violin lessons. It all eventually fizzled out and I didn't push it in any way.

Instead, I waited.

And then it happened. Rachel saw the Beatles on YouTube.

From then on she dove into the Beatles with all the passion of a sixteen year old. She devoured every song and every chord and every record. She read books and put up posters and memorized John's harmony lines and picked Ringo as her favorite even though she would give the world to meet Paul. We watched the Beatles anthology DVD together and and ripped apart George Martin's productions. I took Rachel on a concert road trip and she packed up all her Beatles CDs and we had a real father-daughter love fest for a week.

And the next thing that happened was, "Dad, teach me the C chord ..."

After that, I never saw my Martin 00-21 again as it was held hostage in my daughter's room as she practiced and whispered and studied and tended to her sore but excited fingers. Rachel has a friend named Lauren, who also loves the Beatles and plays guitar and has a wonderful voice. They formed a duo and play, obviously, only Beatles songs. Rachel and Lauren practiced their guitar strumming and harmonies and laugh and sing and call themselves Marmalade Sky.

They had their premier in the lobby of the Kentucky Theater last night, singing in the outer lobby right before WoodSongs began. Fans mingle together, pour themselves a free cup of coffee, enjoy some conversation ... and listen to real music while waiting for the theater doors to open. Yes, I felt like the proudest daddy in the world watching my little girl preparing to sing in front of people for the very first time. I stood in the lobby as they practiced and couldn't help but appreciate the irony ... Chuck Leavell was on the show this night and he was standing next to me, watching the rehearsal.

Chuck is one of the most successful and sought after musicians on the world of rock. He played on many of the Allman Brothers hits, like Jessica. He toured with Eric Clapton and is a major part of the huge UnPlugged album. He's been a band mate of the Rolling Stones for the last 25 years.

But none of that mattered to Rachel.

She wasn't impressed with his bands or his touring. She didn't care about all the historic records Chuck plays on. There was only one thing about Chuck Leavell that rattled Rachel to her core as she shook his hand in the lobby last night ...

He knew George Harrison ...
... in person.

tree hugger - folksinger - daddy

(Thanks to Ruth Adams for the above pic of Lauren and Rachel, and Larry Steur and Dr. Bob DeMattina for all the great photos)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Michael,

This is my first visit to your blog. Recently saw my first Woodsongs on KET, episode 451 with Rasputina...wow. How cool to have a visual of what's happening in the theatre as you record. I live close enough to Lex that there's just no excuse not to be there for a taping occasionally, so it's now at the top of my to-do list.
I recently discovered that my old high school English teacher, now living in Boston, has over the years become quite the writer, beat poet, and spoken word artist. Her name is CD Collins and her band is Rockabetty. An article in my hometown local paper led me to her website...I always knew she was amazing, but wow. It really is incredible work, and she is such an environmentalist as well. I haven't seen or spoken with her since 1985, but hope to one day hear her on your show.
Congrats on your beautiful daughter's discovery and passion for music...my teenager also has a deep passion for guitar, and loves the Beatles. It's soothing to a parent's soul to see their child find something so creative and rewarding. :-)