Getting to play onstage with Lou Pallo, hearing the new album we’re making on the Gibson bus, doing a clinic/performance at a great Gibson dealer, Alto Music; these are just some of what can really make for an extremely positive experience! I had actually never been on one of the Gibson buses before, and having made the tour bus circuit for a long time, I really appreciated all the comforts and fine surroundings for sure! I walked into the store, more like the size of an airplane hangar, and proceeded to really “rip it up” onstage with the great Lou Pallo and band! Lou, longtime sidekick and partner with Les Paul and the Les Paul Trio, now has his own wonderful Les Paul model, a wonderful tribute to such a terrific guy, and all-around great musician.
I brought along my own personal Les Paul Traditional, which sounded great, and we really had the house rockin’ with our twin Les Paul attack! These are the kinds of experiences that really can stay with you, and they are in many ways, the “payback” for spending so long in the music business. After all, the greatest respect and compliments you can get from anyone is from your peers; the other folks in your same profession who all share a common bond, and a common group of life experiences. It’s never more apparent than that moment when you all start to play, and immediately have a musical communication with each other. I suppose that’s the sign of a real “pro”; when you can all just fall together, barely knowing each other’s names, yet you become a real “team” once you hit that stage, or when you start “taking” in the studio!
This year for me has been full of a wealth of these kinds of experiences. My daughter Lexie, has just finished up her new album, with a song from it in a new Karen Black film, “Maria, My Love”, I got to finish my new album, while also appearing on 3 new potential Grammy winners, The Les Paul Tribute album, a Burt Bacharach acoustic tribute, as well as a Lieber and Stoller tribute album!
But the best thing of all, is being able to connect again, or to play for the first time with, other great players, all who have my deepest respect. This is really the finest reward of being a true musician; the experiences you share with others, and the kinds of music and bonds you can make with a wonderful player and man like the great Lou Pallo!