I just wanted to take a quick minute to say thanks to all of you for coming out to see us at shows, for being cool at an open mic, and generally being part of/supporting a vibrant musical community here in Chicago, Oak Park, and Berwyn. (And for those of you not in the Chicago area, for supporting us/me for all the many years leading up to now.)
As a bit of context, I moved from NYC (Brooklyn, to be exact) to Chicago (Oak Park, to be exact) a few years ago. I loved New York, but was reaching a saturation point with it and my wife and I really wanted to find a better work-life balance (and more living space than the closet we had in NYC). We both had roots and family in Chicago, so it was the obvious choice.
But one of the things I underestimated was just how hard it was to leave the musical community I had been a part of in NYC. I was there for nearly 10 years and, during that time, I built up a really large group of world-class musicians and singer-songwriters that I performed, recorded, and generally hung out with. And because I started in my 20s and it took so long…well, I think I basically kinda took for granted that it would be easy to rebuild that elsewhere. I had just gotten used to having the guys in my band do a show with me at a tiny club and then head off and tour with a critically acclaimed band and then come back and do it all again.
Anyway, I was obviously wrong. It takes years and a lot of love, sweat, and tears to build up a musical community and it’s a harder to do that in my late 30s/early 40s (holy crap!) than in my 20s.
What’s the point of all this?
Well, I finally feel like I’m building/joining/finding a musical community again.
The first part is the band I’ve been lucky enough to put together. With Dave Mendez on guitar, Erik Vaveris on bass, and David Jamison on drums I’ve got a truly world-class set of guys backing me up. Seriously…each of these guys is a total musical badass and, just as importantly, a super nice dude and a really tasteful musician. They make my songs sound dramatic and gorgeous no matter if it’s a ballad or a full-on rocker. For instance, here’s a rehearsal recording of a song that’s not even 2 hours old at the time of recording. (Finished writing it on the way to rehearsal and check out what the guys did with it. The chords couldn’t be simpler, but they transform it in a super cool way. You can see a solo acoustic performance of it here if you’re curious to hear the difference.)
And here’s a video of another new tune from a recent performance at Friendly Tap in Berwyn:
Which brings me to the second part: great venues and good people.
We’ve had the chance to play at some very cool spots like Tonic Room, Friendly Tap, GMan Tavern, and others. And…man!…what a cool bunch of people! It’s not easy working at a bar, booking bands (like herding inebriated cats), running an open mic, and generally making sure there are spaces in which people can create art. In particular, I’ve been having a blast lately at Friendly Tap for the simple reason that it’s right down the street from my house. But they really do have a cool bunch of people showing up there week after week to play music (along with coffee during the day, a music school onsite, cold beer, etc.). Not a bad thing to have basically right in your backyard!
Also, we’re gonna play there (Friendly Tap) on Sat, 8/5…so, that’ll be cool! Show info is here.
So…yeah…feeling pretty lucky these days:
I’ll leave off for now since this is already a long email, but thanks again for listening, for booking us, for playing in the band, and for signing up and reading this message!!
Hope you’re all having a fantastic summer and I’d love to hear about any other musical communities/hotspots anywhere around here (or cool virtual ones)!! Always a good thing to expand the circle!
Matt Lenny & The Elm City Council