Due to its proximity to New York City, Americans tend to think of Connecticut as just a suburb of the Big Apple.
Not New York. But almost!
It’s true that if you live anywhere in THE Nutmeg state, you can drive to New York City in three-hours or less. But to Connecticuters, proximity does not equal identity.
When I moved to Connecticut two-years ago, I was aware that Connecticut is part of New England. And if I had any uncertainty about that, I could have looked it up on Tik Tok!
What I was not aware of until I moved across the border from New York was just how “not-New York” Connecticut’s 3.5 million people are. As you saw in the Tik Tok above: Connecticuters are in-touch with their inner New Englander.
And they wear Red Sox and Patriots swag to prove it!
So on Monday as I prepared to drive the two-hours from Stamford to Stafford, Connecticut, near the Massachusetts border, I made sure to be dressed appropriately.
I didn’t want anybody thinking I was one of them!
Before pulling the top down on my Jeep, I called my friend Zach and asked for his advice in putting together my play list for the day. I knew he had nothing to do at the time. His wife was not scheduled to deliver their third child for at-least another hour!
Zach suggested the album "Sky Blue Sky" from the band Wilco.
Halfway through it occurred to me that I should have called someone else! I forgive him though. Just hours after Zach suggested the album his wife delivered on the promise she made him nine-months previously, when doctors pulled Jude Maddux into the world.
Not impressed with Zach's musical selection but wanting to honor the theme, I asked Siri to play Wilco's 2002 Album, “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.”
The nearly 20-year old album is a far better listen. It also better represents the band’s rock ‘n roll DNA. The album blends soft rock, country and folk sounds, with poetic lyrics. Add in the vocal warmth of the band’s founder and lead singer Jeff Tweedy and you get a musical journy worthy of your 45-minutes.
But the Wallflowers were not one-hit wonders! Front man Jakob Dylan inherited affecting song writing skills from his father, Robert Allen Zimmerman.
AKA Bob Dylan.
The junior Dylan songs such as “The Difference,” blend a driving rock baseline and tempo, with lyrics worthy of the family’s name.
A far better performer than his notoriously awful in concert father, if you get the chance to see the Wallflowers perform live I assure you that they will put on a show you will not soon forget. Each of the six times I've seen them live have been uniquely spectacular.
You would be forgiven if you thought that Willie Nelson’s recently released album called “That’s Life” was titled a bit too Sinatra sounding for a Texan nicknamed Shotgun Willie. But the album is all Willie!
Singing Sinatra's biggest hits.
My father Billy had a magnificent singing voice, on par with many of the great crooners. Growing up, his voice filled the walls in our house White Plains, New York.
With a sound smooth as honey, good looks and a bounty of charm it was likely only his fear of the stage which kept my father a paint dealer in the Bronx. It was my father’s love for this genre which ensured that I knew the words to each song as Willie sang them. “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” long among my personal favorites, leads the list of crooner knock-offs which Willie makes his own.
With “That’s Life”, the albums title song, Willie delivers a bluesy version of the Sinatra classic. With the orchestra replaced with the lonely sound of a singularly sad twangy trumpet. On Willie's version of the “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning,” Willie makes his point: there is more than one way to sing a song! Willie's pain for the lover he's missing is so manifest that it is fair to wonder if the song, so often associated with THE crooner from New Jersey, has not found a better home?
Of course even the great Willie Nelson knows better than to try his hand with the song “My Way, which is missing from the album.
That was wise. You’d have to have chutzpah to record the song which is nearly synonymous with THE Chairman of the Board.
Chutzpah. Or maybe just some bourbon!