Well my babies - It appears we are in a state of limbo. Most All My Gigs Have Been cancelled!
Life has come to a surreal and almost complete standstill. I’ve been reluctant to address the Coronavirus at all, but, look - it’s upon us and is impacting all of our lives in so many profound ways. It’s got me reevaluating the way I think about pretty much everything. So, here’s how I personally intend to deal…
First of all, it’s imperative that we fight this thing by complying with all the suggestions put forth by the CDC and the WHO. They know how best to combat this crisis and we need to do what we have to do to get break through to the other side.
Now, me and a lot of my friends and acquaintances play music for a living. Some full time, some part time, but we counted on these gigs to pay our bills, buy our groceries, go out to bars and restaurants to support our friend’s and act otter’s gigs and for now, we can’t do it that way.
Those of us who have music in the blood will continue perform whether we’re getting paid or not. I’m one of those people who make a decent living from gigs and also derive great pleasure from the sheer joy of holding a guitar in my hand or sitting at a piano and singing out loud. Many of my peers are already doing live concerts on Zoom, Facebook Live and other platforms that allow us to stream our performances. Me? I personally have a hard time just turning on the camera and playing spontaneously because I get self-conscious when I know I’m being recorded. I know. Weird, huh?
You could put me on stage in front of thousands of people and I would be fine, but me alone in front of a camera I choke, because I know that moment will be captured for posterity. That said, I am going to start doing some shows. Some live, some prerecorded. I’m still working up the nerve, but I just want to give you a heads up. The Hal Show is coming soon. I hope you’ll tune in. It will be completely free, but I will provide a link to a virtual tip jar. I will gladly accept gratuities and I will use that to help me get through this rough patch. In turn, I will contribute whenever possible to other online buskers and entertainers. I hope everyone will find ways to pay it forward. A rising tide lifts all ships.
March was Women Appreciation Month, so I have three episodes in a row featuring female singer/songwriter performers.Toby Lightman, Andrea Nardello and Kendal Conrad. Also on the horizon is another short conversation with funkadelic songstress Laura Cheadle.
Her debut album Little Things appeared on the Billboard Top 100 in its first week and gave way to comparisons to sultry songstress' like Lauryn Hill, Sheryl Crow and Norah Jones. She received high praise from magazines like Rolling Stone, People, Billboard and others, which led to appearances on Letterman, Carson Daly, Conan, CBS Morning Show and more. Her second record, Bird on a Wire (2006), helped lead Lightman to enormous success in the film and TV industry with the single “My Sweet Song” being featured in the movie PS I Love You, starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler.
She has toured extensively, both solo and with her band, sharing the bill with renowned artists such as Rob Thomas, Jewel, James Blunt, Gavin DeGraw, Train, Marc Cohn, the legendary Prince (who happened to be watching the night Toby appeared on Conan and was so impressed with her performance he invited her to open for him). Official Toby Lightman Website
Philly's Andrea Nardello has garnered comparisons to Melissa Etheridge and Shawn Colvin for melding pop songwriting smarts with a confessional and literate songwriting style. Her refined accessibility draws from folk, rock & pop. She can tug at your heartstrings with her softer tunes and get you dancing on your feet with her upbeat songs and powerful voice.
In early 2019, Andrea won a contest to sing with Brandi Carlile at Carlile’s all women’s festival in Mexico and was then named a top “Emerging Artist To Know” by NPR. She’s made a nice name for herself in the Tri-State area winning the prestigious Philadelphia Songwriter's Project Contest and the Tri-State Indie's "Acoustic Artist Of The Year." Her songs, "Leave The Light On" and "Home To Me" each won WSTW's Award for Folk Song Of The Year. Nardello has toured extensively opening for well known artists Colbie Caillat, Brandi Carlile, Gabe Dixon, Emerson Hart of Tonic Fame, Tim Reynolds of The Dave Matthews Band and Ron Pope.
Official Andrea Nardello Website
Kendal Conrad is a singer, actor, published writer, and award-winning songwriter. Kendal appeared on MTV and sang a duet onstage with Keith Urban. Kendal was featured on Keith Urban’s website as one of his favorite “Raise ‘Em Up” Tour moments. She also joined Walker Hayes onstage to perform “Halloween” for 92.5 XTU’s Ski Day at Jack Frost Big Boulder. She is an International Miss Talent and won the title with her original song “Girlstrong.”
She has performed at the White House, Wells Fargo Center, Sands Casino, Six Flags, Hersheypark, the Bitter End, and Musikfest, as well as the Susquehanna Bank Center for 92.5 XTU’s anniversary party. She has sung the National Anthem for several major events including MLB, NBA, MMA, NASCAR, and NBC’s National Dog Show. She has opened for many country artists; among them: Blake Shelton, Charlie Daniels Band, Chris Lane, Trace Adkins, Adam Doleac, Devin Dawson, Drew Baldridge, Alabama, Diamond Rio, Phil Vassar and many others. Kendal recorded her latest EP with platinum Kane Brown producer Matt McVaney in Nashville, TN. Official Kendal Conrad Website
I’m excited to announce that I caught up with my old friend, Henry Phillips for an episode that should be dropping in April. You really should check out some of Henry’s music and video short films before then because, well, to be honest - Henry is an acquired taste and i want you to take the time to acquire it. He’s more that an an accomplished guitarist. More thanks a comedy genius and much more than your average songwriter. He takes all three elements - songwriting, guitar playing, and comedy and combines his talents into some sidesplitting content.
Here are links to some of his videos to give you an idea of who I’m talking to when the time comes.
Henry Phillips Website
Including: Music Vids, Henry's Kitchen, The Loner, You and Your F%Ucking Coffee, and More
Coming Soon from Henry Phillips: The Highwayman
Finally, I just have to put this out there. My intention, when I started the Tales of the Road Warriors podcast was to release an episode every Thursday. Of course, when I started, I was playing music pretty regularly and I had enough time between gigs and enough money produce the podcast fairly conisistently. Due to circumstances beyond our control, I’ve been propelled back into the non-music gig economy, which means working a lot more hours for less pay. It’s also more exhausting. So I must apologize in advance if I don’t stick to the original schedule. But please know, I am not going away. If you subscribe through most any popular podcast app, you can be notified any time a new episode come out. You can also add your or a friend’s name to the mail list by visiting the website and get these Hal Aaron Email Updates once every month or three.
Contributions are Most Welcome
One last thing… In order to survive during this crazy and frankly, scary time, I am asking for all the help I can get. No, I’m not in such dire straits as to start a GoFundMe Page. Ideally, I’ll find a corporate sponsor for the podcast, but I haven’t approached anyone yet. So, if you’re inclined to help out as an individual supporter of TotRW, or my music - here’s a direct link to the Hal Aaron (Hal Cohen) PayPal Tip Jar. You can choose to contribute in $5 10, 20… Whatever you feel you.
I think that about covers it all for now. Stay safe! Stay Healthy!