January 26

Today I helped my father with an extension of the front walk in front of my parents’ house. The front walk ends abruptly, and from the front walk to the mailbox is a morass of squishy mud. Or was. My father and I dug a little indention and put some sand and gravel down, and he’s putting some flag stones down to make a path to the mailbox.

I worked on some music. Some for church tomorrow, and some of my own. Also, Sade’s “Smooth Operator” on piano. Trying to improvise in Dm. It’s fun.

I fielded a phone call about a possible house concert in Alpharetta, GA. The host said talking to me was like talking to Bono or Mick Jagger. There was a smile in his voice but I’ll allow myself to believe he partly meant it. He said he had only gone to one house concert before: One hosted by his neighbor featuring former Smithereens front man Pat Dinizio. I thought that was interesting, and will hope to ask the neighbor how DiNizio went about setting up and conducting his house concert. I’m sure I can learn something.

I saw the Smithereens years ago — I guess it was 1990 — in Chicago, along with Crowded House and Richard Thompson. It was a free show hosted by radio station WXRT, and there was a massive crowd there. 40,000 people or something. I loved Crowded House’s set. They were very energetic, jumping around. They had just released “Woodface,” a terrific album. I liked the Smithereens, too, but was most impressed with Richard Thompson, playing solo acoustic guitar. One man and a guitar in front of 40,000 people, and you could hear a pin drop.

Sadly, Pat Dinizio passed away not too long ago. “Blood and Roses” is my favorite song by the Smithereens. I love that bassline, the up-front vocal, the bad-ass guitar solo. It’s tight jangly pop-rock, simple and direct. Music so good it makes you want to cuss.

R.I.P Pat. Thanks for the great music.

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