Tag Archive | Casey Breves

Danny Boy

January 7th Casey Breves was in the house!


My Uncle John (my mom’s brother) always sings Danny Boy unless Casey is around, in which case Uncle John listens to Casey sing it!

So here’s Casey on his last night here (he’s back to SF tomorrow)  singing a quick Danny Boy dedicated to my Uncle John.

Had a great rehearsal with Carla, Jen and Luca for my Wednesday (January 9th 7-10pm) at the Red Lion – my all original Newgrass band, Willie & the Swagga!  Come on down.  Red Lion has ten cent wings on Wednesday nights and for sure you don’t want to miss that.

Here’s my Casey boy singing Danny Boy!

more tomorrow!

Jingle Bell Rock

December 17 1957: Bobby Helms’ Jingle Bell Rock enters the pop charts!


Jingle Bell Rock is one of those songs I sing all season long.  Whether it’s my chorus performances, Christmas parties, Stingers gig or whatever.  We just keep singing it.

This is the last week of Festival Chorus– tomorrow, Wed & Thursday and then my season is pretty much over.

I’ll be at the Red Lion this Wednesday night, a solo gig singing Christmas songs and other seasonal favs and I’ve got some great singers coming down to sit in.  There’s no cover charge and it should be a cool night.  Come down and have 10cent wings!  7pm – 10pm.  The Red Lion is on Bleecker Street, NYC!

and in final Xmas news, check out my son Casey’s new video, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas!

And here’s Jingle Bell Rock!  more tomorrow.


Je t’aimais, je t’aime et je t’aimerai

November 23, 1953 Happy Birthday to French singer/songwriter Francis Cabrel!

french day

As a working musician in New York City what you are never sure of is if any of your friends or fans will show up at the gig.

The one thing I can count on is that our dear friend and biggest fan Elodie Pauwels will always be there. Elodie is French and has been coming to see my shows for the past 4 years. She has also been bringing all her French friends who visit to see the band with her.

I can’t remember how it happened but somehow I mentioned that I should sing a song in French, so of course everytime i see Elodie she would remind me I said that. So finally it worked out that one of her favorite French singer/songwriter’s birthday coincided with my son Casey who sings and speaks French being home.  Of course, this means that it wasn’t me who actually sang in French, but I think she got a better deal having Casey.

So, Happy Birthday Francis Cabrel and this is dedicated to Elodie, who will be leaving NY and returning, after 5 years, to France in December.

PS – we are going to have a combination going away party for Elodie and birthday party for myself and Holiday shindig at my December 11 Stinger gig. Everyone is invited.

PPS  Elodie has translated today’s blog into French (and it’s quite possible she added her own 2 cents into the French version below the video….)*

*23 novembre 1953. Joyeux anniversaire, Francis Cabrel (auteur compositeur français)
Quand vous êtes un musicien basé à New York City, vous ne savez jamais si au moins un de vos amis ou fans va venir à vos concerts.

Une chose sur laquelle je peux compter est que notre chère amie et plus grande fan Elodie Pauwels sera toujours là. Elodie est française et est venue me voir jouer lors des quatre dernières années. Elle a aussi régulièrement amené ses amis français en visite.

Je ne sais plus comment cela est exactement arrivé, mais d’une façon ou d’une autre j’ai mentionné que je devrais chanter une chanson en français, donc Elodie me le rappelait évidemment à chaque fois que l’on se rencontrait.

Ca a finalement pu se faire, car l’anniversaire d’un de ses auteurs compositeurs français préféré coïncide avec la venue de mon fils Casey qui parle et chante en français. Cela veut bien sûre dire que je ne suis pas celui qui chante, mais je pense que c’est mieux avec Casey interprétant la chanson.

Donc, joyeux anniversaire, Francis Cabrel, et cette chanson est dédicacée à Elodie, qui va quitter NY et rentrer en France en décembre, après presque 5 années passées aux Etats-Unis.

PS – nous aurons une soirée pour le départ d’Elodie, pour mon propre anniversaire et pour les fêtes de fin d’année lors du concert des Stingers le 11 décembre. Tout le monde est invité.

PPS – Elodie a traduit en français l’article du jour sur mon blog (et c’est tout à fait possible qu’elle y ait ajouté son grain de sel dans la version française…)… en effet, je tiens à rajouter un immense MERCI à Skip et sa famille pour tous ces bons moments en musique.

Beautiful Dreamer

July 4, 1826 Happy Birthday to the Father of American Music, Stephen Foster!

red white and blue

Happy 4th of July to everyone.  Loved having my son Casey home for a week. We sang. We ate. We napped. We chatted. We napped. And sadly, we just dropped him off at Newark airport and Claudia’s very tearful. He’s a good dude, my son. Both my sons grew up really good. Thank god for their mother.

Tonight’s the Macy’s fireworks but it’s too hot to go out and watch.  I like to watch fireworks but am always a little freaked out about lighting them myself, what with me being a pianist and the whole blowing up the hands thing and all. I hated watching my kids light them too. Our old dog Emmet, who we inherited from Claudia’s cousin Diane (we miss you, Diane) hated this time of year and would hide in the closet with every boom.

My 1st cousin Johnny is the Firework King and has quite a show going on tonight. He’s in Milford, PA not far from  the Brevis country house. In Pennsylvania fireworks are legal. They sell them in every supermarket.

When I was a kid we had ash cans, cherry bombs, mats of firecrackers, roman candles, bottle rockets and my favorite, sparklers.  I know, I’m a wuss.  One afternoon when I was about twelve years old, me and the Amico boys, Joey and Philip and Chris, were all hanging out, climbing garages and fences a couple blocks away from my house.

We never used sidewalks. We would cut between houses through everyone’s driveways and we loved climbing on top of the garages. So, one day we’re on this garage and Philip Amico has an ash can, the most powerful of the fireworks, and he lobs it into the neighbor’s backyard and it lands on the guy’s hammock and blows the whole thing up. We scatter and run like hell in every direction. I make it home safely, and think, “Phew. All good.”

I sit down to dinner with my family and all of a sudden the doorbell rings. I don’t think anything of it and my mom yells SKIP GET OUT HERE and at the front door is this guy now holding Philip Amico by the collar and Philip’s sobbing cause he got caught and when the guy asked him who did it he blamed me so the guy wouldn’t take him to his mother’s house. Philip I’m still pissed at you for that! Not really!!

Today’s song is Beautiful Dreamer, written by Stephen Foster who is called the Father of American Music and July 4th is his birthday.  How perfect is that?

Whenever I hear Beautiful Dreamer I think of my buddy Kenny Kirkland and his nickname, Utica Dreamer.

At the intersection of Utica Avenue and Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn is a diner that every musician ends up in at 2 in the morning after their gigs, and in high school, after gigs with my band TIGHT (with Angel Fernandez, Kenny Kirkland and Frank Bisignano) we’d end up in this diner, too. But Kenny had a long Utica Avenue bus ride back to his house, so sometime’s he’d pass on the diner.

So, one night we go in to the diner and Kenny goes to the bus stop.  We’re in the diner for over an hour and when we came out Kenny is sound asleep on the bus stop bench –  he probably missed like three or four buses and Frank Bisignano starts singing to him, “UTICA DREAMER DREAM UNTO ME” and that’s how Kenny got that nickname. You sort of had to be there.

But, happy 4th yall!

Tracks of My Tears / What a Wonderful World

June 23, 1965: Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ The Tracks Of My Tears released.

with the boy

It’s a really great day.  Love having my son Casey home with me at the piano.  And love having my son Dylan right next to me playing bass at this gig out in the Hamptons tonight.

Thinking about all the plays and concerts we went to see the boys in.  From playing trees and elephants in pre-K to meatier roles such as squirrels and ancient egyptians in grade school.  And the concerts – so many of them, years & years worth.  I’m gonna come clean now and admit it.  I slept through all the other kids’ songs.  I apologize to all the parents and I forgive you all for sleeping during my kids’ parts.  I always woke up to cheer my boys on.  We lived for those moments!

I’m the worst at a kid’s concert.  Casey remembers seeing me in the audience with my head in my hands  and Claudia would always tell me not to make faces. It was hard not to.  Thinking about it though, all the kids were great, and even though I might be moaning and groaning and snoring, I wouldn’t have missed a minute of it for the world.

Loved Casey singing in his Dad’s wheelhouse this morning.  Smokey Robinson & the Miracles and Sam Cooke.  Casey rocked it!