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Date Event Location
Private Event New York, NY New York, NY
Postmodern Jukebox Mayo Performing Arts Center, Morristown, NJ Mayo Performing Arts Center, Morristown, NJ
Postmodern Jukebox State Theater of Ithaca, Ithaca, NY State Theater of Ithaca, Ithaca, NY
Postmodern Jukebox Colonial Theatre, Laconia, NH Colonial Theatre, Laconia, NH
Postmodern Jukebox Nashua Center for the Arts, Nashua, NH Nashua Center for the Arts, Nashua, NH
Postmodern Jukebox Zoellner Arts Center, Bethlehem, PA Zoellner Arts Center, Bethlehem, PA
Caroling at Padrona Padrona, Hudson, NY Padrona, Hudson, NY
Postmodern Jukebox Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall, Pittsburgh, PA Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall, Pittsburgh, PA
Postmodern Jukebox Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, Patchogue, NY Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, Patchogue, NY
Postmodern Jukebox Lexington, MA, Lexington, MA Lexington, MA, Lexington, MA
Postmodern Jukebox Kodak Center, Rochester, NY Kodak Center, Rochester, NY
Postmodern Jukebox Massey Hall, Toronto, ON Massey Hall, Toronto, ON
Postmodern Jukebox Keswick Theatre, Glenside, PA Keswick Theatre, Glenside, PA
Postmodern Jukebox The Town Hall, New York, NY The Town Hall, New York, NY
Postmodern Jukebox Count Basie Center for the Arts, Red Bank, NJ Count Basie Center for the Arts, Red Bank, NJ
Postmodern Jukebox Collins Center for the Arts, Orono, ME Collins Center for the Arts, Orono, ME
 —  — Residency with Celebrate the Beat Costa Rica International Academy, Guanacasta, Costa Rica Costa Rica International Academy, Guanacasta, Costa Rica
 —  — Residency with Celebrate the Beat Aspen Community School, Aspen, CO Aspen Community School, Aspen, CO
 —  — Training with NDI in El Paso with Kids Excel El Paso, TX El Paso, TX
Flurry Festival Saratoga Springs, NY Saratoga Springs, NY

Latest News

Collaborating with Demi Remick 

Last summer I was on tour with Postmodern Jukebox in Europe. We were outside of Milan, playing at an outdoor festival. The weather was humid with patches of light rain. The green room and catering were in tents.

A few days prior, I heard Demi Remick, the incredible tap dancer on the tour mentioning wanting to create a new tap medley based on the Wizard of Oz. That night at catering we sat and hashed out a rough version of a tap medley. A week or so later in Hamburg, Germany we tightened the arrangement on my last day on tour.

Fast forward to the fall of 2022. Demi reached out expressing her interest in finishing the arrangement and making a video. She drove her tap board, costume, and bejeweled ruby red tap shoes up to Hudson. (She glued every jewel on the tap shoes. #dedication)

We filmed at my favorite club in the world, Helsinki Hudson with my dear and brilliant photographer and videographer friend, JD Urban in early December. JD edited a beautiful video and released it in mid-January along with sheet music from the arrangement I made.

At the end of December, we premiered the Wizard of Tap at a salon in Chelsea to an enthusiastic audience. After the part, Demi shared an idea she was thinking of. 

“Don't hate me but what about doing a tap medley on Taylor Swift's Eras?”, she said. “I'm a Swiftie at heart.”

“That sounds cool!”, I said. Though full disclosure I told Demi, I've spent most of my life not enjoying Taylor Swift and being annoyed by her music. 

I thought, this would be a great opportunity to look past my close-minded view of one of the most revered pop singers and get rid of that stupid judgemental view.

I did watch a documentary about her that came out over the pandemic and remember really enjoying it. 

Over the next couple of weeks, we texted back and forth and came up with a song order. 

I arranged the score, notating it in Sibelius and then sent Demi the midi recording version for her to choreograph to. The score was close to completion in the first week of January because I was working in Costa Rica for most of the month.

After returning home in early February, I practiced the arrangement and recorded it. Demi recorded the tap part. I also started to produce the track a little more, adding drums, bass, and other sounds.

During this whole time we were also talking with JD, who is also a Swiftie, about how we were going to film it. He was the one who encouraged me to open the arrangement with more sounds.

We set a date in mid February and Demi drove up to Hudson again. This time with like 5 tap boards and bags of costumes neatly labeled in zip lock bags.

We filmed on a Friday and Saturday, two long days, and ended up capturing what we're calling ERAS (Demi & Tony's Version) at Helsinki Hudson.

The reason for the name ERAS is that it's a collection of Taylor Swift's songs from every one of her eras. There are songs from every album she's released in this medley.

The (Demi & Tony's Version) comes from the fact that Taylor Swift re-recorded all of her albums over the pandemic to have the rights to her music. So when you see one of her songs like, Shake It Off (Taylor's Version), you know that version belongs to her and not the record label.

These are all things a non Swiftie like me learned along with many other things like ghosts, snakes, nipples cut out shirts, pictures dangling from trees, and so much more that you'll watch in the videos.

This project is also an homage to one of the greatest if not the greatest venues/clubs in the world. Helsinki Hudson has been my home for the past decade and closed their doors in March 2020 from the pandemic. They were a home to music in Hudson and the surrounding area for a little over 10 years. The owners are some of the kindest and most generous and loving people you will ever meet. I miss, as I know the community misses, this incredible venue and am forever grateful for everything they have done for artists, the community, and beyond.

It's been 16 Sundays 

since I last wrote here. 14 states and 6 countries later, I made the time to write again. 

Hudson is in the mid-'90s today, sunny, hot, with little breeze. Chloe and I meditated for 15 minutes this morning and then walked to Cafe Mutton to get coffee. Chloe loves the iced coffee with condensed milk they make there. I got a large hot black coffee. Both our drinks were to go. We walked through the 7th Street Park to get there. The AC at Mutton broke yesterday and they're hoping to get it fixed next Wednesday so the doors were open and you could feel the summer on your skin.

This past Friday, the SCOTUS voted to overturn Roe vs. Wade, banning abortion in several of the United States. I feel numb, enraged, frustrated, defeated, confused, speechless, defiant, hopeful, saddened, fearful, hateful, peaceful, tearful, pissed the fuck off, open, obtuse, in disbelief, infuriated, in shock, and a range of other feelings now as I know many others are as well. It shakes the foundation of what we understand our freedoms to be in this country. That a right can be taken away by one governmental institution that was shaped by a president who was twice impeached, helped foster an insurrection, and lost the popular vote is nothing short of tragic.

It is also the culmination of a well-crafted, organized, and planned effort to shape the courts since the 1970s that favors the right side of the political spectrum. It is a longer-term vision for control and power. A vision that bends and breaks politics and opinions with money and religion in a multi-webbed algorithmic approach that craves power and strength by simultaneously pacifying and arming their audiences.

Power and strength will only go so far when it is thrust upon people as it most recently has been and possibly will continue to be. Is there a sleeping giant and if so, what does it need to wake?

Have you ever wondered what it would really be like if everyone HAD to vote in the US? Like, if everyone that was above the age of 18 in the United States had to vote? Some 330 million people all had to vote? I guarantee that a healthy majority would be somewhere in the range of WTF with the SCOTUS's decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade. It already is. The question is, will that get people to use their voice and vote?

I walked with Chloe, Louise, Michele, and Jim to the 7th Street Park where a protest was being held. We were about 45 minutes late though we heard the last two speakers who were incredibly moving. The last woman who spoke was a Reverand in town and she said something to the effect of, "It's time to stop playing checkers and time to start playing chess!" What is our next move? 

A longer-term vision is needed with consistent short term actions. A vision that helps people understand the importance of their voice. That their voice matters. That their voice is their vote. 

Louise held a sign she made with Michele that read, THIS IS MY FUTURE stop screwing it up ☮️. 


Since my last post, I have played over 40 shows with Postmodern Jukebox across the United States and Europe. They were incredible experiences, to say the least, and I loved every moment I got to share with some truly remarkable people. Looking back in hindsight it sometimes seems like a blur, like a dream, like, did that really happen?

I'm finally feeling a little settled after being on the road for the past few months. There's nothing like sleeping in your bed after being away for weeks on end. The comforting feeling of being grounded in your home life again. The smell of clean clothes, petunias, and sour cherries.

Finding consistency and grounding is challenging when you're in a different city, venue, country, or state every day. It's both exhilarating and exhausting. It's important to find things that help keep you physically, mentally, and spiritually well. Especially being on the road during the end of a global pandemic.

I love learning and seeing how my road mates center and find grounding—everything from a solid morning routine to running, working out, smoking, sleeping, eating, and everything in-be-tween. Anything that helps the mind, body, and spirits be in meditation or wine or whiskey club. 

Another place where I find peace is my bunk. Your bunk is the one sole place of consistent privacy. Once you shut the curtain to your 75x25x27 inch bedroom, you are by yourself. You can read, sleep, scroll, watch TV or whatever you want. No window. No people. It feels kind of like a coffin. It smells of feet, farts, and freedom. 

Sleeping on a tour bus is like sleeping on an inconsistent and unreliable rollercoaster. You're never quite sure if and when you're going to stop or go. You wonder if that sound is bad and if you might die from it. You're surprised when your ears pop because you're 10k feet above sea level in the Swiss Alps or wonder what the chances of you falling out of your bunk are in a hilly New England town. 

You usually know if the drive is like 2 hours or if it's like 19 from MasterTour, an app that we use that has helps keep our lives in order. I learn to surrender to the different sounds and movements the bus randomly makes when I'm trying to sleep. If I'm restless, melatonin and ambien have come to my rescue. Sometimes I felt like I sleep, sometimes not so much. When I get up, I check my phone to see if we're at a rest stop, or the venue, or at a border crossing, or a hotel.

My favorite part about sleeping on a bus is knowing I'm going to wake up in a new place in the morning. After waking though one of my first is, "where can I drop the kids at the pool?" There is no "number 2oing or pooing" on the bus so it's paramount knowing where and adjusting when to go. No one wants to shit their pants, at least no one I've ever met. So far I'm batting 1,000 with finding a bathroom in time, though there have been some close calls.

Bathroom tip: I've learned that if the venue isn't open yet, a nearby hotel lobby will generally do the trick. Walk with purpose into the lobby like you're late for a meeting and bee line it into the bathroom.

The shows were absolutely on fire! The musicians, artistry, and musicality were high af! I have such a deep gratitude and appreciation for playing with Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox. I'm looking forward to traveling to Australia and New Zealand with them this fall.

The Art of Answering Machine Messages 

The temperature finally broke 60 degrees today with blue skies and plenty of sunshine. After weeks and weeks of below-freezing temperatures, it's a welcomed change of pace and the first sign of spring. Chloe and I went to Cooper's Daughter Spirits at Olde York Farm, a little distillery about a five-minute drive outside of Hudson to enjoy the sun, drinks, and spring vibes. We shared some food and drank mocktails at a picnic table, we're both not drinking these days. As much as I love being in warm weather and longing for the tropics, there's a different level of appreciation for days like this when the snow finally is almost gone, the maple trees are being tapped, and the sun hangs out for a little longer each day.

This week I signed up for French lessons on a site called, Preply. I've been practicing French every day via Duolingo, 796 straight to be exact. I love the app and how it gamifies learning another language though feel it shrinks my confidence in actually talking with someone. Whenever I meet someone who is fluent in French I freeze and feel like an idiot. I kind of liken it to reading about how to cook, reading a shit ton about cooking, and knowing all about ingredients and flavors yet have barely touched an oven, knife, or cooked anything. It's time to take my learning to the next level and challenge myself to face my fear of actually speaking French. I'm nervous though excited about my first lesson tomorrow morning with Linda from Paris.

Yesterday I started writing another song inspired by a voicemail left on my phone. Meshell Ndegeocello left me a voice message last March about getting our kids together to go for a bike ride. We first met about ten years ago or so when I was going by the name, Baba Buffalo which I think she still calls me from what I gather from the voicemail she left me. It'll make more sense when you hear the track and message.

OMG, I had no idea about this but this picture is what the homepage of her website is right now. As my friend Cameron would say, that's totally fucking cosmic.

On the subject of voice mails and answering machines, do people still leave voice messages? I know I can be lazy when it comes to leaving a voice message. I'll often opt for a text message instead or leave a short message or hang up before the "sound of the tone".

After my dad passed away in October of 2020, I went back and listened to every voice mail he left me. Some were pocket dials that went on for three minutes with nothing but the sound of his phone jostling around in his jacket pocket while he was walking. Others were really sweet though and brought me to tears. The low-quality audio has a unique analog and iconic sound to it. Often times it's hard to make out what is being said. I sometimes enjoy reading what my iPhone deciphers what the voice message is into text. It either gets it or butchers a few words or just says, "fuck it, I'm just gonna put a long line through this garbled mess of sound."

Now about answering machine messages. You can tell a lot about a person from what they leave or don't leave as their answering machine message.

When I hear "The person you are trying to reach does not have a voicemail box that is set up yet," I tend to think the person either has a new phone and forgot to set up their mailbox, or doesn't know how to set up their mailbox, or is too lazy to, or depends on someone to let them know they haven't set it up yet, or doesn't care enough about voice mail to set it up, and rather be reached via text or email.

A person who just opts to let the cell phone carrier leave your number tends to not care enough about answering machines or voice messages to either listen or leave them. They might find the process antiquated and also might tend to be more private and or introverted. They also may only have a few people that leave them messages, or on the complete other end of the spectrum, are so popular that the person leaving the message better know who they are leaving it for. They also may be the type of person who is so busy that leaving a voice message takes too damn long and is a waste of time.

"The mailbox of the caller you are trying to reach has a mailbox that is full and cannot accept new messages at this time. Goodbye." This has been me a couple of times in my life. Most likely the person hasn't deleted messages in a while or can't keep up with how many different ways they need to delete the message to clear up voice mail space. Or they can't come to delete enough messages because they each hold some kind of sentimental value. This person could also have been off the grid for a while and hasn't been by their phone, or becomes super famous all of a sudden, or has a major life event, or dies.

Then there's the person that takes the time to make a unique answering machine greeting. The most generic riffing off of something like, "Hi, thanks for calling, sorry I missed your call, please leave a message after the tone or beep and I'll get back to you as soon as I can." I've left something along these lines throughout my life at different points.

There's an art to leaving an answering machine or voicemail greeting. If someone has taken the time to call you and get through the gauntlet of the greeting and the standard 5-10 seconds of useless bullshit that nobody cares about like pressing # for more options after you leave a message... Who presses #? I mean really? What other options do you need? You either leave a message or you don't. I think it's great to give them something. It's an opportunity to connect with someone. I for one love to make someone laugh or bring a smile to someone's face, especially if they've taken the trouble to leave me a voice message.

Growing up, our family, like most families had an answering machine for the house phone. Back then people left more messages because it was the quickest way to be in touch. Texting wasn't an option and email was just getting started.

Our family prided itself on the answering machine greetings we left, most likely thanks to my father and his sense of humor. My dad loved the comedian Jonathan Winters among other comedians at the time. Jonathan had a series of different answering machine messages that were totally wacky and zany that my dad had on cassette tape. We would switch up different answering machine messages from time to time, always making us, and usually the person leaving a message laugh. We also had other answering machine greetings that we made but these are the ones that stuck out in my head.

This probably explains why my answering machine message is the way that it is right now. "Hi, you've reached Tony. Please leave a message after the tone. If this is an emergency, please hang up and dial 911." It's fairly standard, with a little twist. And it is true, I highly doubt I could be of any greater help than 911 if you did have an emergency.

Snowstorm Invasion 

This past Friday I had a photoshoot with my dear friend, JD Urban during a beautiful snowstorm. It was the biggest snow we've had this season and it made for a great day of shooting. I'm so grateful to JD for lending his brilliance again in taking photos of me and to Helsinki Hudson for the incredible space to take pics in. I've sprinkled some of the photos throughout my website so have a look around.

Louise and I went sledding after the shoot and hung out for the rest of the day. We watched Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl together at night. She's never seen it before and she is playing the theme to the movie in her school orchestra so I thought it would be good for her to watch.

We also played a game Chloe's brother Trevor introduced Louise to called, Coup: A Game of Deception. When we first started playing it this week I would beat her at almost every hand. After a little while though, she started to understand the strategy behind my deception and beat me almost every hand. She could tell whether or not I was lying or not by my facial cues and actions, even if I thought I was throwing her off. It was amazing to see how astute her perception developed in such a short period of time. She told me how she was thinking about what I was thinking about and could base her decisions on the probability of whether or not I was lying.

I randomly was inspired to write a song this week that has a lo-fi funky Indian groove to it. I'm calling it, Can't Get a Train Going On? and dedicating it to anyone who rides Amtrak, especially throughout the northeast corridor. There are a few songs like this that I've written and will be releasing an album in the near future. I love making songs like this and lose all track of time when creating them. 

In world news, Russia attacked Ukraine this week in an audacious attempt to seize control of a peaceful neighboring country. The world as a whole has condemned this unprovoked attack and the reaction has been swift. It's frightening and incredibly sad to see this unfold and I pray for the people of Ukraine and Russians who stand up in opposition to this tyrannical demagogue.

It's incredible to watch this unfold, especially in the age of social media where you can see tanks, guns, missiles, and people sharing their experiences in real-time. I checked TikTok the other day and my feed was filled with protestors around the world, Ukrainians shooting down Russian planes, and speeches like this powerful one from Ambassador Martin Kimani, Kenya's Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

Being an optimist, I hope the world will learn from this and grow stronger from it. I hope it can also continue to unify people and condemn these atrocious actions before it escalates to anything greater than what has already transpired.

Lyrics from the Pete Seeger song, Where Have All the Flowers Gone fill my head. When will we ever learn, when will we ever learn?

I learned that Ukraine has the world's largest supply of sunflowers. I also learned that sunflowers can pull radioactive contaminants out of the soil and have been used to clean up contaminated pieces of land. If that's not a miracle I don't know what is.

Four Thousand Weeks 

It's interesting how social media claims to bring us closer together yet at that same time divides us further apart. I've often found myself down an endless scroll to the bottom of nowhere, wondering what catalyst will make me say, ok, time to do something else. Lately, I've found TikTok to be my social media hole of choice. They've done a great job with their algorithm in holding my attention, and my brother's for that matter. My brother, someone who created a Facebook page and never uses it and doesn't do Instagram, got into TikTok after I showed him some funny videos a couple of Thanksgivings ago. We both have a similar sense of humor and I haven't seen him laugh that hard in years. We'll text each other TikTok's and laugh because more often than not, we've already seen the ones we've texted each other.

This week I took a few days off from opening any social media apps. I didn't delete them from my phone or post that I'm off social media or deactivate my account, just challenged myself not to open them. I wanted to see what it would feel like and what my impulses would be to not open Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok. On the first day off, I laughed out loud when I caught myself almost opening Instagram. I laughed because it was so natural to sit down and open Instagram because I had an extra minute or so. It was a mindful way of observing my mindfulness.

Chloe and I visited Northshire Books in Saratoga Springs last week, "New York State's biggest bookstore north of NYC". Lately, I lean towards the self-help, spiritual, and business sections of bookstores. My wife knows me so well and pointed to a white-covered hardcover book that stood face out on the top shelf of the self-help sections, Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals a NY Times Best Seller. Perfect! I'll take it along with Daniel Pink's new book, When.

I'm a little over halfway through with Four Thousand Weeks and have been loving this book. It's a refreshingly sober look at time and its finitude in a lifetime. It's unlike a lot of other productivity books I've read that give you exercises and assignments to become more efficient or better or smarter or more than who you already are. It starkly looks at a human life in quantifiable ways, like the title blatantly states, four thousand weeks. If we live to be 80, that equates to about four thousand weeks.

The author, Oliver Burkeman invites us to think about age-old questions by blending thoughts from some of the greatest minds in history and how they relate to our modern-day. What do we do with that time? How do we give meaning to things in our lives? When we choose one thing, what are the things we choose not to do? 

This book was also a catalyst, as well as conversations with Chloe this past week, about looking at social media in a new light or a more intentional light. It gave space around the mindless act of scrolling and what made me look at what I was getting out of the time spent and lost on social media. I've become accustomed to filling the little spaces of time in-between activities or work or taking a shit or making coffee or eating, with scrolling.

Four Thousand Weeks helped me look at social media in a new way and make me question the way I consume it or maybe more likely, it consumes me. Since taking a break this week from the socials I've found enjoyment in reading more and listening to books. I've played more piano and felt less anxious. Instead of opening the social media folder on my phone, which I still navigated to several times this week, I've gone to open the NY Times and Duolingo instead. Or I just put my phone down.

All that being said, I did open Instagram to write to a couple of people today and post a video of Louise practicing a Neil Young song called Cinnamon Girl on my Insta story. The days are getting a little longer though it's still below freezing. I vacuumed my studio and took down some vines that have been strangling the cherry trees in our yard. 

Weekend Trip 

The temperature warmed up to the mid 40's on Saturday for a mid-winter-spring tease that melted some of the ice that's lingered on our west-facing street. I wore my new suit black suit I ordered for the tour to Australia I was scheduled to be on with Postmodern Jukebox right now for a solo piano gig I had on Saturday night at the Red Dot in Hudson. The gig was fun though the piano was a bit out of tune and had little mechanical issues. Part of the reason I enjoy playing ragtime or songs in a ragtime or stride style is that the notes don't sustain long enough to really notice the intonation of a piano, or at least it hides it to some degree.

Louise and I played Mozart for the first time as a duet as well. She's been learning the melody of Mozart's Symphony in G Major on the flute. Her flute teacher sent the piano accompaniment part so I sight-read it while Louise beautifully played the flute part. It's an absolute joy making music with your child, something Louise and I have done for years. Playing Mozart together is a beautiful first though. I can't believe 2 months ago she was playing Jingle Bells and now she's playing a Mozart symphony!


Celebrate the Beat is a non-profit dance company that I've been working with on and off for years. Over the pandemic, I helped create and edit virtual educational videos as well as created four episodes for Rocky Mountain PBS that have been airing for the past two months across households throughout Colorado. This week I spoke with one of our contacts at the station and she informed me that our second episode was more popular than Curious George, the program our episodes were replacing for the past few weeks.

With all of that great news about Celebrate the Beat it also comes with heaviness because the company is in desperate need of funding. A number of circumstances have led it to be in a difficult place which has led me to roll up my leaves and help in new ways. Those new ways have been cold calling principals across Colorado and pitching them about our newest virtual 10-week course we put a lot of thought, time, and resources into. I've never cold-called before and am learning through the process.

This company does such incredible work helping children find confidence in themselves and so much more for over 22 years. If you have the means, please consider making a donation to this non-profit. Your support means the world!


For Christmas, one of my gifts to Chloe was a trip to Saratoga Springs and a night or two out of town and to visit Northshire Books, a beautiful independent bookstore in town. So, this Sunday we drove up to Saratoga, the weather being once again in the 20s though thankfully sunny, and checked in to The Inn at Saratoga Springs.

I worked in Saratoga Springs 5 or 6 years ago for a couple of weeks with the National Dance Institute, accompanying classes with kids from around the area at the local YMCA that culminated in a little performance at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. They honored Jacques d'Amboise at the performance and I remember Twyla Tharpe was also there. I remember my car broke down while driving to the performance and someone in front of me tied a rope to my car, that ended up snapping while we were driving until we, fortunately, pulled into a parking lot and I raced to the stage to perform.

I'm thankful to be able to get out of Hudson for a little bit and have a trip with Chloe. After I booked I realized that one, it was Super Bowl Sunday, and two, the restaurant and bar at the Inn was closed on Sundays and Mondays. No matter, the cottage we're in is cozy and has a certain charm to it in that older New England, upstate New York type of way. Even though it's cold and icy af, a little change of scenery can go a long way. I'm looking forward to checking out the bookstore tomorrow and sharing a couple of delicious meals with my love.

Atomic Ice 

Chloe bought me the book, Atomic Habits for my upcoming tour to Australia (which has now been moved to the fall) and I've been devouring it the past week. She knows me so well. It's a fascinating read on parsing the way habits are formed and developed, delving into the minutia of how to accomplish more by focusing on less. The book begins with an anecdote about the British cycling team that went from being one of the worst teams in the world to being one of the best by focusing on making little things 1% better. It then moves through different studies, stories, and thoughts on habits and how by understanding their nature, we can better understand how they can be applied to our lives.

I know for myself I can get overwhelmed in trying to accomplish bigger goals and desires in my life, thinking I have to make bigger changes to achieve bigger goals. In Atomic Habits, James Clear illustrates how making small incremental changes can add up over time. That resonates with me, having let go of some habits that haven't served me and picking other ones up that do over the past few years. 

Good habits that I've been cultivating lately have been meditation, visualization, exercise, learning french, and practicing piano among others. I use the Productive app on my iPhone which helps remind me of the habits, lets me check them off, and keeps me honest about doing them. Chloe told me that you get a dopamine hit when you check something off a list. I usually like using a pencil to cross something off of a list though, for the repetitive nature of these habits, the app is great. The more I do them, the easier doing them becomes and feels less like an obligation and more of an enjoyment and something I look forward to.

On Thursday and Friday, we had a rare ice storm that left the world blanketed in ice. Saturday and Sunday were filled with cold sunny weather that bounced light off of every branch and limb, shimmering like a frozen fairy-tailed world. We went for a drive on Saturday through the ice-covered country to a man in the country who repairs and rebuilds guitars. Rob, Chloe's father, bought Louise a guitar from him as a late Christmas present. It was such a sweet gift and a beautiful day for a drive.

The days are starting to get lighter and the clock tower that chimes every hour is slowly falling behind, chiming about 4 minutes after the hour. I think it was about 2 minutes behind the hour a few weeks ago. The face of the clock is also stuck at 6:11 or something like that. I appreciate the chiming of the bells and its' interpretation of time in our small town. I wonder if the ice storm slowed time down? Ice can slow water, can it slow time?

Monday Surprises 

On Monday of last week, I attended a funeral service of a friend and larger-than-life person at the Cedar Park Cemetary. David Ackerman was the president YouThisMe, a health care and privacy app company I've worked with since moving to Hudson about 10 years ago. As friends, business associates, and family members all stood in the snow and sun on this cold late January afternoon, we listened in solemn silence and reflected on the incredible legacy this man left behind. May David's spirit live on in all he reached and loved. 

While at the ceremony I muted a call from another friend and boss of Celebrate the Beat, a non-profit I've worked with in Colorado on and off for the past 14 years. I called her back after the ceremony as I walked back to my apartment. She shared some unfortunate news that the company was in serious financial trouble. I breathed with the news and our conversation after getting home.

About an hour after we spoke I also received an email from Postmodern Jukebox, a band I've played and toured with for the past 3 years or so. I was scheduled to go to Australia and New Zealand with them in a couple of weeks and this email informed me that the tour was going to be rescheduled for the fall of this year due to lockdowns in Australia from COVID.

What a Monday! 

I breathed with everything. I talked with Chloe as she sat with me. I called my mom. I breathed and tossed and turned that night.

I'm grateful to have developed a meditation practice that helped give space around the news that I received on Monday. I knew that I would figure out how to move forward regardless of what happened. I spent the rest of the week working out details and moving forward with all of the new information I had. By the end of the week, I was in a much better spot with everything.

The lesson; don't judge a piece of news as good or bad. What might seem good might be bad and what might seem bad might be good. Or maybe it's neither good nor bad. It just is.

The east coast had a huge snowstorm this weekend that grazed the part of New York where I live. I love snowstorms so wish we could have got blasted but I'll take what we can get. On Saturday, while it was cold, snowy, and windy, Louise and I made crepes together and went ice skating at a hockey rink in a nearby town park. It was cold though soooo much fun! After that, we came home and had lunch, made hot cocoa, and watched an episode of Murder, She Wrote.

Hudson Ragtime Piano Suite 

I'm drinking my third almond milk cappuccino of the day at a cafe called Metropolis Coffee on Broadway Ave. in Denver, CO. There's a healthy jade plant to my left and a guy to my right with 4 earrings in his left ear looking out across the 3-lane avenue at a homeless dwelling of umbrellas in front of an anarchist book, record, coffee store called Mutiny Information Cafe. 

The first two cappuccinos I consumed at a cute French restaurant around the same area called Bon Ami for brunch earlier in the day. It's about 20 after 15:00 on a Sunday. There's a persistent af fly buzzing around me and landing on my hands while I'm typing. 

I'm in Denver working with a non-profit dance company in Colorado called, Celebrate the Beat, (CTB). Celebrate the Beat provides the highest quality in-school, after-school and virtual dance programs for all children that improves their physical health and well-being, inspires them to believe in themselves, and establishes a standard of excellence that impacts all aspects of their lives.

Last summer, I started drinking almond milk cappuccinos during the pandemic after finding out that they only have around 80 calories. I started caring about calories because of Noom, this weight loss/ health habits app that helped me look at food in a new way. Now, I go back and forth between drinking almond milk cappuccinos and black coffee, which has around zero calories. Currently, I'm not Nooming nor paying attention to calories with such diligence.

Another habit I picked up in 2020 was learning French on Duolingo. As of today, I'm on a 621-day streak of practicing French on the Duolingo app. You'd think I'd be fluent by now! Nope, I'm going to need some immersion to really have the language sink in. Sacrebleu!

I'm a sucker for a good app that helps improve your life in some way. On the same token, I'm also a sucker for a good app that sucks me in until I'm like, wait, why am I on here? What's your favorite app?

The hardest part of 2020 was the sudden loss of my father, Joe Kieraldo. Dad passed the evening of October 23rd of a heart attack. I spoke with him that night on the phone while I was making dinner. A few hours later my mom called me with the news that dad had past. I was in my studio working on a #minuterags video, a cover of the Cranberries song, Zombie. I was in complete shock and couldn't sleep. My incredibly supportive wife, Chloe was buy my side the entire night.

Dad was my biggest fan and was the absolute best guy and father in the world. He shared his love of jazz and classical music with me as well as his love of a good joke and comedian. He had the best laugh, biggest heart, sense of humor and I miss him every day. 

We had a beautiful celebration of life for him around what would have been his 80th birthday, August 12th in Madison, WI. My daughter, Louise, who is now 11-years-old sang the Rainbow Connection and played guitar while I accompanied her. There were around 130 people who showed up from various times of his life. The weather was perfect, which my mom said was the one thing my Dad had to do. He did. I felt so grateful for the day and everyone who was there to remember and celebrate a life well lived.

At my dad's celebration, I also premiered a couple new rags I composed during the summer of 2020 which are part of my new album, the Hudson Ragtime Piano Suite. The album is dedicated to him. The book is dedicated to him as well as the people of Hudson, NY.

The Hudson Ragtime Suite is my latest musical project and consists of a book, vinyl and digital music. The idea began during the summer of 2020 when I applied for and received a $500 grant from the Hudson Arts Emergency Program to create a work of art. My idea was to compose a rag for each of the five main east-west street of Hudson, NY. 

The Hudson Ragtime Piano Suite consists of a musical book which includes two historical maps and historical backgrounds of the 5 streets which were written and researched by Brenda Shufelt, Jim Hoon, & John Craig of the Hudson Area Library History Room. Brenda was a huge help in making that happen, thanks, Brenda! There is also a limited run of 12" vinyl records which I put out on Protzebie Records, a fictitious record label. 

Protzebie was one of my dad's favorite words. It was a Polish word used as a non-sequeter gag in early Mad magazines from the 1950's. Techincally the word is portzebie but my dad always said and pronounced it as protzebie. To me, protzebie rolls off the tongue easier than portzebie. So the Hudson Ragtime Piano Suite is the debut release on Protezbie Records.

I learned a lot about Hudson, ragtime, musical notation and a lot more in creating this project. I'm grateful for the help of Jeremy Siskind in helping edit the musical scores. I have never paid that close attention to notation before and learned a great deal from this brilliant pianist/composer/teacher.

The album release party for the Hudson Ragtime Piano Suite is Friday, October 8th at Hudson Hall at 7 pm. The show will weave the Hudson Ragtime Piano Suite with video interviews from elders about their memories from growing up in Hudson. The Spotty Dog will be selling the book, vinyl and more at the show. 20% of proceeds will go to Kite's Nest, a local educational non-profit that does great work in our community and that I've both taught for and that my daughter has attended.

I'm incredibly grateful for everyone who has helped with this project. Thank you so much! 

Milk Money - PMJ - Beirut 

I write from the balcony of my hotel room on the 15th floor of the Smallville Hotel in Beirut, Lebanon. I'm here working with NDI training musicians for a dance program in Lebanon called Dance by C.L.E.S. Kay Gayner and I are working in 5 school in and around Beirut where we are helping the dance teachers and musicians prepare for their end of year performances.

Lebanon is filled with history and culture. It has been truly eye opening and incredible to work in these schools, with these children and teachers and getting to explore Beirut the past week. There is one more week of training and performances and we finish the coming Thursday. My fiancé, Chloe is set to land in a couple of hours and I just got off of FaceTime with my gorgeous daughter Louise. It's been the longest we've been apart and that has been one of the most challenging parts of the past 4 months. 

Thank you to everyone who's been following my journey and especially everyone who backed my Indiegogo campaign for my first album, Milk Money. It was a blast recording and producing that album which culminated in an album release party at Club Helsinki a day after my birthday on January 12th. My friend from high school, Jon Singer and his group the Xylopholks joined me and it was a special and memorable night of music. If you haven't checked out the Xylopholks, do so. They're incredible musicians and the music is amazing, if you like furry animals playing ragtime music that is. Even if you don't, it's awesome!

The day after the show, my mom, Chloe and Louise and I went out to brunch at one of my favorite brunch spots in Hudson, Rivertown Lodge. During brunch I received a text via Facebook from my friend from high school, Jesse Elder asking me if I'd like to go on a 6 week tour of Europe with the band, Postmodern Jukebox. I was floored and excited! It took some rearranging of my schedule, incredible support from my fiancé Chloe and understanding from my family (I had to miss a family trip to Sedona, AZ to be able to go on tour) before saying yes. 

The next week however I was set to fly to Aspen, CO to work for CTB, another dance company I work for there so I was going to be gone for 2 1/2 weeks, get back to Hudson for 5 days, fly to Los Angeles for 3 days of rehearsals and then fly to London to play 32 shows in 6 weeks with PMJ all over Europe. I'll save how that experience was for another blog but in short, it was absolutely incredible and amazing making music with world class musicians in front of thousands of people and experiencing different foods, languages and cultures for 6 weeks. Life changing.

While we were in Switzerland, I got an email from my friend and colleague of 15 years, Kay Gayner from NDI asking if I'd be interested and available to come to Beirut, Lebanon and work from April 1st - 11th for a training. The timing of it couldn't have been better, though it would then keep me another 2 weeks from coming home and being away from my family. My last date of tour was March 30th in Helsinki, Finland and I was scheduled to return to the states on March 31st. Instead of flying back to NY, I booked a ticket to Beirut via Moscow on Aeroflot, Russian air.

I woke the morning of the 31st in Helsinki, spent 8 hours in the Moscow airport and landed in Beirut close to 2am Monday morning. I began work Monday morning at 9am and the next thing I new I was working in schools in Lebanon. 

I'm incredibly grateful for all of these opportunities and for everyone who is following my journey.

Next weekend I am taking Chloe to Byblos, the oldest continuously inhabited city on earth dating back 7,000 years BCE. It has been inhabited by 24 different cultures, paper was invented there as well as the alphabet. It was also where the Bible was written, hence Byblos–Bible. The journey continues and we return the following Tuesday where I'll be back in Hudson, finishing up working with Harmony Project, an after school program I work for and.....getting married to my love on May 25th!