Cassi-DJ: Featuring My Nephew C!

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Hello all - hope you're having a good winter so far and are doing well.

I meant to write about this last week, but I was under the weather nearly the entire time with a low-grade bug of some sort. I'm still dealing with an iffy stomach off and on, but I feel well enough otherwise.

In any event, better late than never to mention that I was on my friend Mike's radio program yesterday morning with a special guest: none other than my nephew C, as in the Conversations with C series. :c)

I've written about C's serious health issues the past two years, but I'm very happy to report he's doing much, much better. He's slowly regaining the weight he lost, as well as his energy level. (He was meeting friends to play basketball after the show, in fact, albeit with frequent rest breaks.)

Mike and Cs have been friends since C's childhood. When I lived in Seattle, I would come back to Boston for the holidays a few days before Christmas. It became a tradition for the three of us to get together my first day back and head into Boston to look at the Christmas lights, followed by dinner at C's favorite restaurant, a three minute walk from Mike's apartment, then an evening watching movies and listening to music.

Years later C told us how much those visits meant to him. "I was only six years old when we started hanging out tougher, but neither of you ever treated me like a kid," he said. ("That's because you were already smarter than Cass and I combined, even at that age," Mike joked. :D)

Accordingly, it was a natural for Mike to tell C he had an open invitation to join us on his show, and, after several cancellations over the past year-plus because of C's health, we finally made it happen yesterday.

As it turns out, C is a natural on the radio. Being on air and hearing your own voice through studio quality headphones can be disconcerting for first-timers, but C handled it with his usual aplomb. In fact, he even took part in an interview Mike conducted with Tyler Morris, a Tufts graduate student who is also a superb blues guitarist and songwriter (watch out for that name, folks - he's releasing his next album in March).

In response to a question from Mike, Tyler mentioned that he sings for the first time on the album, which prompted C to ask several questions about what that was like, comparing it to his experiences as a nursing student working with patients for the first time. He and Tyler had an interesting discussion about the process of gaining confidence and learning to trust yourself; all Mike and I had to do was sit back and listen, smiling. (Mike jokingly asked C if he wanted to take over the rest of the show so he and I could go for coffee.)

When I sit in Mike graciously allows me to program a five song set, which I passed over to C this time around. He spent several hours Friday evening working out his set list, apologizing to Mike at one point for the number of text messages he was sending as he refined it. Mike, being a pro, told him an apology wasn't necessary, and that it was the mark of a professional to spend that much time on it.

Not surprisingly, C's set list was quite good. While he listens to a wide variety of music, he decided to focus on dance-oriented artists at Mike's suggestion. "That isn't my area of expertise, and it's always great to expose listeners - and myself - to things they wouldn't normally hear on my show," he said. While I only knew one of the songs C played (Frank Ocean's "Lost," from his Channel Orange album), I was impressed with how well the set flowed.

Things went so well that we'll be back with Mike next month on the 21st, when Tyler will be performing with his band live in the studio. We're also making plans to attend one of Tyler's record release shows. I'm already looking forward to both!

That will do it for now. Hope to have my next post up sooner - have a great week in the meantime, everyone!


Thought I would feature several albums I've been enjoying recently.

First up, one from The Drive By Truckers new album The Unraveling. This is the eerie "Rosemary with a Bible and a Gun." I usually post live tracks, but the studio version is so striking I went with that instead:

Next up is one from a terrific Canadian songwriter, William Prince. Here's "The Spark," from his excellent second album Reliever, which came out just over a week ago. This was recorded live in his hometown of Winnipeg for the CBC:

He's just beginning to get the recognition he deserves (Neil Young is a big fan), so be sure to check him out. You won't regret it.

Last but by no means least, here's "St. Peter's Bay," the lovely lead-off track from Canadian songwriter Sarah Harmer's long-awaited Are You Gone, her first album in ten years:

This was recorded at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Vaughan, Ontario. I'll be seeing her in April up in Canada with my friends A and B, so I'll have more Sarah in a future post. Stay tuned!


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