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Relationships make our life meaningful because man is a social animal and cannot survive alone. Mind is like a bird, wherever the bird flies and wanders about, it has to come back to its nest and likewise, the relationships; be it mother, sister or brother can never be erased or denied, whether we accept it or not.
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We had rolled into New Bedford, Mass., for the annual Summerfest on Saturday morning, July 2nd, spit out of a twister.
By Saturday, I shoulda€™ve been caught up on sleep, but struggled to find the energy for the game of musical chairs at Summerfest.
Over the weekend, each of seven stages off the cobbled streets of the Whaling Museum district grew packed to overflowing.
There was no mad dash for us for the first performance at the small canopied area at the National Park Garden Stage. That first act was a€?Introducing Liz Longley.a€? This proved to be a priority-changing event. I also managed to squeeze in an on-the-spot interview at a surprisingly subdued side room at the nearby, bustling Celtic Coffeehouse. Her father was a a€?really gooda€? jazz musician who played saxophone and had his own band. Exposure to chorus was minimal in grade school, but when she reached her early teens, she started singing with her dada€™s jazz group and continued until she was 18. Having begun writing on piano, Liz began performing with a friend, Sarah Zimmermann, who provided guitar backup. Additionally, Liz and Sarah performed at fundraisers, in particular a€?Relay for Life,a€? held every year to raise money for cancer research. They also played professionally at local Pennsylvania folk landmarks Steel City (Phoenixville) and The Tin Angel (Philadelphia). After high school, Berklee College of Music in Boston was the only college Liz applied to because it offered songwriting as a major. She still performs on piano when the opportunity presents itself, and thata€™s illustrated by two slow ballads on this CD where she uses her keyboard skills. Her upcoming shows dona€™t include anything in the New York metro area, but wea€™re hoping this article will change that.
The photograph we found online for our a€?Radara€? July ad showed a drop-dead beautiful face, and we wondered if there was matching talent to back it up. High school proved to be the seeding ground for this musical maelstrom, this force of nature.
A video from that impromptu showcase session, taken by Dennis DaCosta, is posted on Youtube and can also be viewed on her website. So, a€?Wowa€? being the operative term, when the opportunity to feature her presented itself, we jumped at it. Layah grew up in the east end of Toronto in an area called a€?The Beaches,a€? near Lake Ontario. This was the point at which Layah connected with long-time friend, Oliver Johnson, to handle the studio end of making the demo.
As Oliver recounts it, he was lucky to have gotten supportive parents in both his father and stepdad.
When he was at his fathera€™s house, theya€™d jam till the wee hours and sometimes the police would come. In order to learn musical theory, Oliver approached a guitarist, Wayne Cass, to show him what he needed to know to get into the Humber jazz program. Toward the end of his first year at Humber, he damaged his hand while moving a heavy table. At a certain point, the road started to wear Oliver down and he decided to focus on production.
At this point, Layah approached Oliver to produce the demo for which shea€™d gotten a grant.
In the statement that follows, we can see the wheels turning as she weighed her options: a€?I came home knowing that I really wanted to pursue music and I made my first recording.
Layah enrolled in and completed a three year program at The Toronto School of Homeopathic Medicine and received a DSHomMed, Homeopathic Certification. While involved with her studies she was pursuing music as well, performing quite a bit with Oliver. Not strictly a purist, she believes that a mixture of alternative and traditional Western medicine, a€?the best of both worlds,a€? according to each patienta€™s needs is the best solution. For two or three years, Layah and Oliver remained friends while they played music together. Layah says that Oliver has influenced her, injecting some jazz, R & B, soul and funk, given that he had gone on tour with some of the better Canadian players in that realm. Ita€™s easy to see why The Ontario Arts Council, and the Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Records (FACTOR) came through with grants at critical moments. Additionally, Acoustic Live will be hosting its own annual guerrilla showcase at the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance and wea€™ll get to watch Layah and Oliver play a set in our own room.
The new CD, Honey, from Layah and Oliver is just about ready for release and wea€™ve gotten to hear a few sample songs. When Oliver was 9, his mother married a Canadian folk artist, a childrena€™s songwriter, and he then split his time between Toronto and New Hampshire. After high school, following her year of touring and playing, the artistic and practical sides of Layah collided.
We here in the Northeast can thank our lucky starsA  for a number of chances to see her live.
There are numerous occasions in life when we have shared your joy, sorrow, happiness, and feelings with our near and dear ones. Though there are occasions when we like to be left alone, it is a viscous circle where it is impossible to be alone always. Wednesday night, finish the July issue, then get two hours of sleep; Thursday, pedal-to-the-metal from NYC to Fall River, Mass.
Newly appointed chair police at the main Custom House stage prevented attendees from saving seats for hours at a time. Seats opened up after each act and the first attendees to dash to freshly vacated chairs near the front became winners. As usual, we arrived at the festival at about 9:00 am and the first show didna€™t begin until 11. Liz was scheduled to perform 10 days later on July 12 at the Living Room in New York Citya€™s East Village. From the very first notes, it was obvious that we were going to want to see and hear a lot more from this brilliant 23-year-old. I would not be jumping from tent to tent, looking for the best seats, hoping to find something near the front at the big Custom House tent. For her first eight years her family lived in West Chester, Pa., then they moved a little further west, to Downingtown. Her mother was an aspiring singer, but lacked the time and opportunity to pursue it as a career. Through her dad, shea€™d gotten exposure to Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan and they were her favorites, the ones she focused on. Other events included the high schoola€™s talent show and the senior prom, with both girls performing in their prom dresses. Liz said that she entrusted major decisions in the studio to producer Glen Barrett and enlisted feedback from her parents to help her decide what, in the end, would be the right sound for her on each track. These include a€?Little White House,a€? seemingly a farewell to her childhood, and a€?Unraveling,a€? another farewell of sorts to her grandmother, suffering from Alzheimera€™s.
Her dad told her, a€?If youa€™re going to learn to have a career as a musician, youa€™d better start now.a€? Actually, performing after college was a continuation of what shea€™d been doing since high school and during her four years at Berklee. During the 2009 Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference, he said, a€?Youa€™ve got to head over to the DJsa€™ afternoon meeting. He played Bruce Cockburn, Joni Mitchell, Dire Straits, The Pointer Sisters, Bruce Springsteen, The Beach Boys, Cyndi Lauper, Kate Bush a€¦ I never did any rebelling against my parentsa€™ choice of music. The question concerning what direction to take with her life still hung in the air and she appears to have approached it with a calm deliberation in incremental stages.


Although music was primarily a hobby, he had an array of musical instruments in the living room, including a drum kit.
Hea€™d jam with friends at his dada€™s all summer and then spend the school year with his mother and stepdad in Toronto. Hea€™s still amazed at the way his father would cajole the officers, claiming the sound wasna€™t all that bad.
He never really studied a€¦ until he went to Humber College in Toronto, which has a program similar to Berklee College of Music in Boston. Cass was a€?a great guitar player and a great teacher,a€? a favorite that Oliver would watch play in clubs. He found a partner and opened up a studio that, today, works predominately on television projects. She got the grant for her first demo and began recording, but decided that she wanted to pursue a degree in homeopathy as well. In addition, some readers might remember the Dove Self Esteem Funda€™s 2006 a€?True Colorsa€? TV Campaign. Each time Layah had any doubts about music as a chosen path, every time she needed it, a grant would come through. Layah had to put the guitar aside and let Oliver provide the instrumental accompaniment solo. When I touched on this, Oliver demurred, saying that Layah had brought her own wide range of influences for him to have had all that much effect on her sense of style. Layah and Oliver will be playing Music on 4 in Manhattan on November 18th and Our Times Coffeehouse on Long Island on November 19th. Theya€™ll also play a formal Tricentric showcase and numerous other showcases (see the performance list below). Layah will always have a keen ear for the vagaries of love and relationships, but she has her eye on the fate of humankind as well.
During the 2009 Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference, he said, a€?Youa€™ve got to head over to the DJsa€™A  afternoon meeting. TheA  question concerning what direction to take with her life still hung in the air and she appears to have approached it with a calm deliberation in incremental stages. Hea€™d jam with friends at his dada€™s all summer andA  then spend the school year with his mother and stepdad in Toronto. He never really studiedA  a€¦ until he went to Humber College in Toronto, which has a program similar to Berklee College of Music in Boston. Her soaring, pitch-perfect vocals and melodic sense are mesmerizing.A  Then, therea€™s the writing. Layah and Oliver will be playing Music on 4 in Manhattan on November 18th and Our Times Coffeehouse on Long Island onA  November 19th.
Then, with breathtaking suddenness it darted upward, taking the hollow in my chest along with it.
The chairs were empty and there were no chair police to prevent us from saving a couple of seats for the first act. Wea€™d see her then, of course, since we never miss WFUV DJ John Platta€™s monthly a€?On Your Radara€? series. Instead, I followed Liz from one stage to the next, seeking the best photos and videos of her that I could get (below). Her earliest memories involve driving around with her father in the family VW convertible with the top down and music blasting from the car stereo. The lone cover, a€?People Get Ready,a€? demonstrates a command that allows her to take ownership of the song. While it did come up in our interview, her Facebook page states it more succinctly: a€?In high school, I was a marching band nerd. When I started taking piano lessons at home at 8 years old, I started studying show tunes, so I could sing along with what I was playing, and I got into musicals. Their families were close friends and theya€™d have various holiday dinners, celebrating a variety of spiritual doctrines together as they saw fit. During those 3 months, he got a job in a computer store that sold software for digital recording. During the first few years of pursuing music, I had some questions about how it would pan out and whether this really was a good spot for me.
Faces was a hang-out for the so-called In Crowd in what was then known as Chocolate City!A Petey and I were sitting at the bar debating whether the Redskins would win a game during the upcoming season and he looked over at this little guy sitting a couple of bar stools away and asked My man what do you think? As she states on her Facebook page: a€?I grew up listening to Joni Mitchell and Karla Bonoff.
James Taylor, Karla Bonoff, Joni Mitchell and Sarah McLachlan were among the names she cited.
I was surprised that she hadna€™t sought feedback from anyone at Berklee, but kept to the formula stated above.
One is a version of Joni Mitchella€™s a€?Rivera€? in which Liz hits some high notes that Joni herself might not be able to handle anymore. We have home videos of me prancing around in my diapers, singing along with the music that he loved.
He learned about the software and about producing and, as an employee, was able to purchase the software at an affordable price. The a€?lemonade-from-lemonsa€? character of both accidents might lead one to believe that a certain magic guided them. Bill looked up from his plate and said "Man I dont have a clue I am from Mississippi!"A As only Petey Green could the conversation went from the Redskins to picking cotton. But we didna€™t know her, so we figured it would be a good idea to get acquainted before seeing her at the Living Room. The first two use a full studio band, complete with drums, bass, lead guitar backup, pedal steel a€” the works.
The second is Van Morrisona€™s a€?Moondance,a€? which gives Liz a chance to show off her jazz vocal skills. When I wasna€™t on the field, I was writing music (on piano & guitar) and playing shows.
Their style is what might be termed a€?jazzy folk.a€? I asked if shea€™d be singing for the DJs and she responded that it had already taken place. In 3 months, Oliver learned everything he needed to know to get into Humber, entering at age 22.
When it came time to re-enroll in school, he was tapped to play for a group that toured all over Canada. Stepping off the stage during a pause, she fell when the overturned plastic bin that was placed as a makeshift step collapsed [too late for a lawsuit at this point, I suppose].
He made Bill laugh so hard he had to get up and go to the bathroom before he peed on himself. This included a a€?concert night,a€? wherein the school invited students and parents to come to a performance solely by Liz and Sarah. In contrast, her third album, the latest, Hot Loose Wire, completed right after graduation, is stripped down a€” just her, solo, with either guitar or piano a€” pretty much what we see in concert. He learned a lot of theoretical things that allowed him to communicate ideas, rather than hashing them out by demonstrating on the guitar. He chose that and, between playing on the road and producing when he got home, he never went back to school.
Even though Ia€™m primarily pursuing music at this point, it enriched my life in such a great way, in terms of being able to help myself and my family and friends and broadening my understanding of the human body.
Theya€™d bring in a song and other students would dissect it, asking questions like why a word was used in a particular place.
A couple of other interested presenters showed up, as I suggested we go to my own guerrilla showcase room. There were classes where songs by famous writers were analyzed, and Liz loved it all, soaking up every learning opportunity that came her way.
Thus, about six of us got our very own private Layah Jane showcase performance a€” about 3 songs. It wasna€™t like one day it occurred to me, a€?Oh, I could do this.a€™ It just naturally grew, I think.
I dont remember when Bill told us he was a writer but there were two things Petey pretended to hate, the Redskins and anybody who wrote for the Washington Post!


But, Bill passed the smell test because he and Petey got along fine.A My wife Hattie and I founded the Hillcrest Childrens Center Saturday Program and Kids In Trouble in December 1968 (the result of the 1968 riots). In concert, sometimes she sings solo with just Oliver on guitar and on some songs, she and Oliver both play guitar.
I wrote in the following montha€™s NERFA wrap-up issue: a€?Shea€™s like Diana Krall with a guitar. The program was housed in the old Turners Arena where legendary entertainers once performed and it was the first home of the now world famous WWE and nowA wrestling promoter Vince McMahon Jr. Layah Jane would be the result.a€? On paper, that might not seem like much, but seen live, it packs quite a wallop. Dudley lived directly across the street from the arena and he was Don King long before Don King. Additionally, it happens that Oliver is a brilliant, seasoned guitarist, having toured Canada with top-of-the-line acts. The Center was run by Childrens Hospital and catered to children with behavior problems.A During the riots there was talk of burning the building down because the neighbor children resented the fact that they were on the outside looking in. A The center had an indoor swimming pool, indoor and outdoor basketball courts and classrooms.A It didnt make it any easier when black neighborhood children would see their peers, white kids parading in and out of the building during the week.
Fix It" in the community!A A Monday morning meeting was arranged for me to sit down with Dr. Long had already devised a Game Plan, without my knowledge.A The plan was for me to coordinate and oversee a Saturday recreation program for the neighborhood kids! I didnt think much of the idea because it would intrude on my moonlighing as a wide receiver for a minor league football team on the weekends.A The Virginia Sailors was an affiliate of the NFL Washington Redskins. Long saying "I would think about it." A I was really saying was "No Way Hosea!"A I could not wait to catch up with Petey and Bill on Friday at Faces to get their opinions on how to get out of making a commitment to this Dream Buster of an idea!
He would leave usually at half-time without acknowledging he was there (Hattie would see him coming and going)!
He was a student of the game.A Petey could tell me precisely what pass patterns I had run and exactly when I would be free lancing on my own. It was all a part of the game I played with the defensive back to get the upper hand.A The meeting at Faces took a turn for the worst when both of them jumped on me for putting football ahead of the kids. TheyA both physically covered for me on the weekends when the team was out of town.A Bill Raspberrys word was good (unheard of today in media), during our relationship he never lied to me. He would also give me an earful when he thought my radio show the Original Inside Sports was politically incorrect, but it was always Constructive Criticism and never Destructive Criticism!A We went our separate ways over a trivia disagreement and for the past 2 decades we have been like ships passing in the night (never seeing each other). Much like Petey, Bill died without me telling him how much I appreciated and loved him.A In December 2012 Hattie and I will celebrate and coordinate our 44th Annual Christmas Toy Party for needy elementary school children (without grants or loans). During the week white parents were seen in and out of the facility and on the weekend they would pick-up their children and take them home. My time was spend one block over on 13th and V Street working out of Harrison Playground and Harrison Elementary. I was of no help, I knew little or nothing about Hillcrest and how it served the community. I was more concerned about the knuckleheads I would encounter hanging out in the U Street corridor.
We discussed what remedies we could use to combat these acts of truancy.A My thoughts, why not try to use athletics as a motivational tool? The athletic team concept helped me to improve my school attendance and discipline, why not use the same vehicle for these knuckleheads (I know a knucklehead when I see one, because I was one). A I would notice after school the young men who should have been attending Harrison during school hours would migrate to the playground. Cousins and Roving Leader Director, Stanley Anderson, I held tryouts for the Harrison touch football team on Harrison Playground in the evenings after school. You name the sport, football, basketball, baseball, track and field, most could run like the wind.
I wished that I could have been that talented at their young age.Getting them to tryout for the team was easy, but getting them to improve their attendance and their grades was not going to be an easy chore. The rules of participation were; regular school attendance, maintain a C average, respectful behavior (no profanity) and be on time for school and practice.
Several I had to dismiss from the team or I benched them in favor of a not so talented teammate, but as we started to win without them, they changed their rebel ways.A I convinced other elementary schools in walking distance of Harrison to participate, Garrison and Grimke principals liked the concept and came aboard. The idea went over so well other elementary schools wanted to participate and the program went city-wide. With my coaching genius, Harrison Elementary won the first City Wide Elementary Touch Football League Championship. It took several practices before Andrew Johnson my high school teammate and police officer could convince his colleagues to take off their guns during practice.A The league was the brainchild of the late Mayor for Life, Marion Barry.
The league was designed to help improve police community relations and it did for a minute.A In 1968 all hell broke loose after the gun related death of our Prince of Peace in Memphis, Tn, Dr.
I remember NFL Hall of Fame and Green Bay Packer player Willie Wood and I standing on the corner of 9th and U Streets after having lunch at the in-crowd hangout of the Che Maurice restaurant.
It was a beautiful bright sun shiny April 4th day when someone rode by in a car and yelled "Harold Bell they just shot and killed Dr. A Our boss Stanley Anderson requested that we stay on the streets because we might be able to save a child. A I was told to report to the Third District HQ to meet with Assistant Chief Timon O'Bryant. He told the officers to watch my back because I would be on the streets with them trying to keep the peace. He then gave me a police badge to assist me in getting through police and military barricades. The Chili Bowl was the only business allowed to stay open during the riots, thanks to an assist from Chief U. After the White House had ordered all businesses to shut-down, Luke intervene on behalf of Ben's explaining to President Lyndon B. Johnson that Ben's needed to stay open for first respondents, doctors, nurses, police, fire departments, military personnel and youth advocates like myself, we needed some place to eat. The administrators at the Hillcrest Children's Center reported having problems with neighborhood youth and some adult residents harassing staff and family members of their patients.
A friend on the staff of Children's Hospital recommended that they talk with me about the problem.
A The tour of the facility was an eye opener for me, I could not believe there was a indoor swimming pool, in door and outdoor basketball courts, overnight facilities for patients and a cafeteria. Long wanted to open the facility to kids in the neighborhood on the weekends (Saturday only). I thought this was a great ideal, but there was a catch, they wanted me to run the program. There was no-way I was giving up that job, I still had dreams of playing in the NFL.I had a sit-down discussion with my wife Hattie, my brother Earl and my friend Andrew Johnson, both DC cops.
We reached a compromise and figure out a way to open the facility on Saturdays to neighborhood kids without me missing a game.
A The first ever students bused in from Tacoma-Park Seven Day Adventist Church from Tacoma-Park, Md. Today, high school and college students can earn credits toward graduation for volunteering in the community (unheard of before 1968).The first ever NFL Films nationally televised (CBS) community promo was video taped at Hillcrest in 1972. Integrity and honesty were their hallmarks during all the community First accomplished at the Hillcrest Saturday Program, they had my back.
A He was arrested under a state statute for insurrection, because he protested unequal justice and segregation laws while championing an interracial workers movement.. He was summarily sentenced to life in prison, though released on appeal following massive black protests.
A Of course, the wise and the learned who pen A  A  A  A  A  A  A  editorials in the papers, and the ladies and gents with Dr.
Fix It" in the community!A A Monday morning meeting was arranged for me to sit down with Dr.



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