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2011...a tough year!

Posted on May 8, 2012 with 1 comment
Having lost the likes of Bill Morrissey, Jack Hardy and Terence Martin in the span of a year has been very hard on lovers of adult contemporary music. I did not know Bill that well but we did know each other. I have had the pleasure of opening up for him a few times over the years and running into him at a few festivals here and there. He wrote so many great tunes but "She's That Kind Of Mystery" was my tippety top favorite of his. I always thought that if I were ever to start drinking again, that I would very much like to go on a drinking/fishing trip with Bill and Greg that would have been something!

Jack was a dear friend. I was introduced to Jack by my friend,cohort,muse,kindred soul, brotha-from-anotha-motha, Stuart Kabak about 23 years ago. We butted heads and hit it off immediately. He put a few of my tunes in his Fast Folk Musical Magazine and encouraged me to continue to write politically conservative songs even though he was a dyed in the wool communist. He believed in the free expression of all viewpoints and he loved a good discussion or debate. He was definitely real and definitely not a hypocrite. Over the years we would see each other a few times a year at gigs, conferences, festivals, songwriters meetings etc. We found ourselves sitting around quite a few campfires. We would call each other from time to time. I learned alot about songwriting and life from Jack. I think he would, in his own humble way, say that he learned some things from me also. You see, you can't be a good teacher if you are not a good learner. We needed each other. We were each other's counterpoint, each other's yin, each other's yang. We understood that without words. He inspired me to do what I could to build the audience for this genre, to play it, to present it, to introduce it to as many folks as possible. Over the years, I have made and created more gigs for others than I have for myself. Anyone who knows me, knows that is a fact. Along the way, I have had the pleasure of knowing many of the world's greatest songwriters and performing artists, many of whom have not enjoyed commercial success but are nonetheless brilliant.

Terence Martin was a rare and beautiful bird! Exotic and larger than life. Perhaps one of the most literate men that I have ever met alongside of my dear friend and mentor Bob Doyle (RIP) and the greatest teacher that I ever had, Bernard O'Toole. Like those men, Terence was an English teacher...and a damn good one! In the early nineties, just after he arrived from California, I heard one of his tunes ("Other Voices") on WFUV radio. I called the DJ, my friend Darren DiVivo (one of the great voices in radio today) and asked him, "who was that guy singing about the rooms and the voices?" He told me and I set about to see where Terence was playing. I stalked him to this little road house in Rye, NY. I listened and was breathtaken by his songs.I introduced myself after the gig and we ended up talking for hours about all manner of things in general and songwriting in particular. It was to be the beginning of a deep, and personal friendship.I would be his friend, his confidant, his attorney, his best man and someone he could count on to tell him the truth whether he wanted to hear it or not. He did the same for me with the exception of offering legal advice although, he had a sage quality to him and I am certain that he would have made an exceptional attorney had that been his goal.In the weeks before his passing, I was given the gift of helping him, along with other friends, record his final CD, presenting him for his last public performance (September 17, 2011), taking him out for his last trip to a diner and being there with his family, other friends and musicians, helping him to let go of this life and move on to the next. Gracious in life and absolutely resolute in departing. I was o proud of him and in complete awe of the courage he displayed in the end. He was indeed a man in full!

There are holes in my heart. I fill them and new ones form. I fill those and await the opening of others still. I fill the holes with memory. I fill the holes with music. I fill the holes with love. I fill the holes with the things that I am passionate about. I am passionate. When I leave this place, I want those who loved me to do and be the same...and to sing...sing out loudly as if no one is listening...and then again as if everyone was listening. To sing, to live, to be passionate. I want them to know that when they sing my songs, I will be there with them, hiding in the ether! Just as Bill, Jack and Terence are here with me now, swimming, laughing and singing in those holes.

Men die.
Music lives forever!

Stuart Kabak

May 8, 2012

Well said old friend. I have a photo of Jack on my computer desk and say hello every time I log on. It's a hard hole to fill. Don't think I ever will.
Even if God Himself would decree it. I know love when I see it.....