ASCAP 2013 LOVEFEST

Another great hang last night at the annual ASCAP “Lovefest” songwriter’s gathering. It seems every year nets new friends and collaborators. Last year brought three new tracks and a few more songs. This year’s highlight was meeting the financial folks behind many of ASCAPer’s manifested dreams. They are truly fans of what we do, and are vitally important people in our corner.

Good to see everyone! If not before…see you at 2014 Grammy week or the 2014 Expo!

THE FINAL TUESDAY NIGHT AT LAGUNA’S MARINE ROOM

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot….Last Tuesday, July 30th, 2013 marked the last Laguna Songwriter’s Showcase at the famous town’s beloved Marine Room Tavern.

After the Tavern’s change of ownership last fall, the promise was to not mess with it’s treasured Tuesday nights, hosted by Beth Fichet Wood. It was a favorite of locals and visitors alike for almost nine years.

You would never know who would show up. From a European band touring the U.S., Eagles hit songwriter Jack Tempchlin, Cristopher Cross, Kenny Logins, and many many more – to up and comers from all over the country. Everyone was equal, everyone right sized, all brave and fearlessly trying out their newest song or happily performing favorites shouted out in request. And Beth led the way by example, both in her performances to open and close most nights, to her “hands off” way of being “hands on” to allow each evening to unfold into another memory. Some of my best moments were not so much watching the locals smile non stop in appreciation (which I did often), but to witness the new listener who happened to stumble upon the night while on holiday in Laguna. Even this night was not without that, as a couple from Canada sat in amazement listening to the world class musical talent perform the final showcase. They also watched the packed house rise up for multiple standing ovations for Beth and her husband Steve throughout the evening, and even one for our favorite bartender Robbie – the best!
You could tell they realized they happened upon an amazing, this will never happen again, moment. it was beautiful to see.

I reflected as I watched and listened. Many of my songs that went on to be credits were worked out there. We even basked in the Grammy nomination glow during one performance there with my fellow songsmiths, fresh from local press cheering us on. Then there was my one on- air interview with the Laguna FM station D.J. “Mookie” where we joked about cutting it short to get over to the “Mar Bar” to catch the evening’s acts. I looked around to connect so many friendships and collaborations born from the showcase. Not to mention how we all marked nine years of historic events looking up to the muted T.V.s mounted up high.

But progress marches on I guess. When we heard the news that Beth was ending the Mar Bar showcase, the first most natural question was “Why?!” She replied “I don’t feel comfortable asking artists to bring their talent into a noisy bar atmosphere where thery are not appreciated. The owner does not want me to ask people to be quiet during the performances anymore, (This was very seldom necessary to the supportive crowd. But when she had to it was well received.) so it was time.” If you think about it, it was somewhat a bar room miracle how for nine years there seldom if ever was a noise problem.

As soon as word spread of the last four showcases, everyone who usually came, used to come, came some of the time but not as much as other times – everyone started coming every week in a newfound appreciation of the magic of the night. I was one of them. I used to be on the bill every 6-7 weeks, a regular for sure. Not to mention subbing for Beth when she was back east, the numerous benefits, and holiday celebration showcases. But life and music took me in different directions the last few years, and I only hung out and played every four months or so. As soon as I heard I become one of them – every week for every minute.

Looking back, I think one of my favorite moments was when I played with Jack Tempchin. He was singing his mega hit “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and forgot the words. Isn’t that funny?! But he didn’t miss a beat as he picked up from everyone singing the lyric for him. His eyes got heavy from emotion while smiling ear to ear in a full circle moment realizing he wrote a song that touched so many millions of lives that he would never have to worry about having to remember the words anymore. It’s the stuff songwriting is made of, and what songwriter’s live for. And I got to be a part of it.

As the final showcase drew to a close it was evident that no one wanted to go. All standing shoulder to shoulder, clapping and singing, some crying, all smiling. The love was in, around, and in between. So bitter sweet. I walked quietly backed to my car and drove Hwy 1 north towards home with just my thoughts – wondering how I was going to fill the vast void left with the passing of this era. But I have learned that music has a way of finding it’s way, and connecting the people who cherish it. So that’s what I said to my buddies in parting – let’s just follow the music, and we will soon find each other again.

Thank you Beth, Steve, Rob, and the Marine Room for many years of priceless memories on a Tuesday night. If a parking lot could talk…..

*** PAY IT FORWARD ALERT ***

** PAY IT FORWARD ALERT ** PAY IT FORWARD ALERT **

TO: ALL PAY IT FORWARD FANS
FROM: JAMES GREY
SUBJ: PAY IT FORWARD OPPORTUNITY ALERT
TARGET: DANIEL ARONSOHN / AJ’s COMFORT ZONE

THE BACK STORY:
In early 2013 my fiancé Susan was struggling through a double mastectomy operation to stave off cancer. She had severe complications. She was directed to the Los Robles Hospital to undergo one of many post operation IV anti-biotic treatments at their Breast Cancer Program facility. Susan was approached by an attentive and caring patient advocate on staff who offered her products designed to aid in her dignity and comfort – provided free of charge by a non profit organization. When we began to ask the Who, What, Where and How questions, we learned the amazing story of a young 17 yr. old man named Daniel….

“ Watching my mother struggle to recover from a double mastectomy was the most helpless feeling I had ever known—until I figured out what I could do about it. In 2009, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent six surgeries. With several complications during surgery, she stayed in the hospital for weeks at a time. As she recovered, she had to wear several drains that were both impractical and uncomfortable. They were easily noticeable to others because my mom had to clip them onto her hospital gown and everyday clothing. And each instance I saw her walk around with these drains, I felt a sense of helplessness and vulnerability. Why should the fight for life be complicated by a couple of drains in the way?

In November 2009, while reading a medical magazine at my mom’s doctor’s office, I
stumbled upon a garment for post-surgical breast cancer patients. This garment, or SOFTEE, has special pockets to comfortably conceal the drains for the patient. I was shocked that my mom was not offered this garment. In fact, the hospital was unaware that these existed. At that moment, I made it my mission to bring these garments to my local hospital. And even more importantly, I hoped to create awareness in my community that SOFTEEs are an option for women recovering
from mastectomies.”

WHAT DANIEL DID:
(Keep in mind he was then 14 yrs. old as you read this….)
He calls the manufacturer and negotiates to obtain the product. He recruits his younger brother and friends to help. They begin with car washes and bake sales, and soliciting for donations outside storefronts and companies. He organizes a 501.c non-profit corporation, and partners with the hospital to host benefit boutiques http://agourahills.patch.com/articles/teenage-boys-making-a-difference to raise donations. By the way, 100% of the donations go to the bottom line. When is the last time you saw zero administrative costs impacting the bottom line of a non-profit entity? Talk about getting a bang for your donation dollars!

WHAT DANIEL HAS ACCOMPLISHED…SO FAR:
So inspired and impressed with the maturity, compassion, and determination of this young man, Cathy Cole, A Los Robles Hospital spokesperson said “His diligence, and that of his younger brother who assists him, has made such a difference in the lives of our breast cancer patients, that I have nominated him as a CNN Hero of the Year.”

I recently made contact with Daniel, now 18 yrs. old, after being inspired by his story to help in any way that I can. He told me he is in the process of training his younger brother to take over for him as he prepares to attend college this fall. He was quick to assure me that his younger brother is equaled to the task both in discipline and passion for the cause.

It was easy to sense how surprised and humbled he was by the collective interest of my informal round table of Pay It Forward Fan friends waiting for me to get back to them with relevant details to help them help him. Some can lend their public notoriety, some their personal and corporate resources, and some their passion for promotion to get out the word for a good cause.

How many have been touched by cancer themselves or a loved one? Statistics show that if you have not, then all you have to do is reach out and touch the person next to you, because they have. That’s how insidious cancer is.
HOW YOU CAN PAY IT FORWARD

• MAKE A TAX- FREE WIRE DONATION VIA PAYPALL, OR MAIL IN A CHECK.
• PRINT OUT AND PASS OUT THIS “P.I.F” ALERT TO ANYONE AND EVERYONE YOU KNOW THAT MAT BE INTERESTED IN HELPING.
• COPY, PASTE, AND POST THIS P.I.F. TO TWITTER, EMAIL BLASTS, SOCIAL SITES, ETC.
• ORGANIZE A P.I.F. ROUND TABLE TO BRAINSTORM CREATIVE WAYS TO HELP.

PAYPALL ACCT: daronsohn@ucla.edudaronsohn@ucla.edu

ADDRESS FOR DONATIONS AND INQUIRES:
Daniel Aronsohn
P.O. Box 1560
Agoura Hills, CA 91376

PRESS: http://agourahills.patch.com/articles/teenage-boys-making-a-difference
WEB SITE: www.com4tzone.webs.com
FACEBOOK PAGE: www.facebook.com/AJsComfortZone

What’s our win? It feels really really good to help. But you already know that, right?

** PAY IT FORWARD ALERT ** PAY IT FORWARD ALERT **

PRESS: http://agourahills.patch.com/articles/teenage-boys-making-a-difference

WEB SITE: www.com4tzone.webs.com
FACEBOOK PAGE: www.facebook.com/AJsComfortZone
PAYPALL: daronsohn@ucla.edudaronsohn@ucla.edu

MAILING ADDRESS:
Daniel Aronsohn
AJ’s Comfort Zone
P.O. Box 1560
Agoura Hills, CA 91376
818-687-9364

ASCAP “I CREATE MUSIC!” EXPO

The 2013 “I Create Music!” ASCAP Expo is coming April 18th – 20th at the Loew’s Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles. This year’s keynote speakers are Steven Tyler, Lionel Richie, Ne-Yo, and many more.

What I value most about the Expo is that I can be brought up to date on all the latest recording technologies, industry trends, marketing/branding/promotional concepts, and songwriter’s advocacy/rights/legislation issues by the industry’s leaders in their respective fields. And all this while being inspired by networking with those folks at the top of the game, seeing old friends, and meeting new friends. All in one weekend, in one place.

A mentor once coached me to always take the time to fill up the inspiration cup. This does it for me. And I have found the passion starts at the top. All you have to do is spend a moment with Paul Williams, Chairman and CEO, and his dedicated senior staff, to know why ASCAP is by far the largest and best Performing Rights Organization today.

I will be hanging around. Say “Hi” if you see me. I’ll be the one with the non-stop smile on…JG

NEW SONGS

NEW SONGS – The month of March was busy penning new songs and recording.
Recording: A boy band pop song called “I Like Your Friend” featuring the talented Tyler Shamy and produced by Jack Elliot has gotten their AR champions excited. Tracking was completed on a co-written Christmas song for the amazing Andrea Hamilton’s holiday CD to be released this fall. Heads up – there are only 266 shopping days left! And this just in… Tyrone Wells, on his nationwide tour, is planning to track vocals with talented producer Brad Hill for the Wells/Grey penned “Amazing Life” during his tour stop in Nashville, TN. This song has been a long labor of love while waiting for Brad to fully recover from a bad motorcycle accident. Welcome back Brad – so good to hear you are back at the console!
Songwriting: Collaborated with Billy Schafer on a couple of new ones we are excited about. Billy is enjoying success with a credit on Daniel Powter’s ( “Bad Day” mega hit ) recent follow up release. More fun, productivity, and pop songs with Tyler Shamy. Also very excited about plans that are underway to work with two roster artists on newly formed Chanl Records.

2013 Grammy Awards Sunday, 2/10/13

The first thing I appreciated was there were no glaring mess-ups technically. I know….that seems small, but man, in the past those production issues clouded my enjoyment of the evening.

Rather then going into all the detail – my favorite performances and moments, or my voting being aligned with most of the winners, I can say this for sure.

In my opinion, the Grammys have come a long long way. I remember the earlier days when they were criticized for being too mainstream and out of touch with the leading edge of music creativity. But today I feel they welcome the edge while advocating for recognizing those who have justly earned their place by passing the test of time. It’s not an easy thing. But the Recording Academy’s incredibly dedicated and talented staff of professionals bring it – and this year was no exception to their rule. They rule the music awards world, and earned their reputation as the music industry’s biggest night.

OK,OK…..I have to close by weighing in on just one favorite performance. Watch for Mr. Timberlake’s re-entry into music with his latest outing hitting the streets soon. You could feel it in the air – another Grammy magic moment.

Reflections on the MusiCare’s 2013 person of the year Bruce Springsteen tribute Friday, 2/8/13

17 albums, 20 Grammys, 1 Oscar….so far.

The night was star studded from wall to wall. From Jason Mraz , Jimmy Web, Tom Brokaw, to every head of every record label, to ( fill in almost every major recording star you can think of, and then some ) all had something in common – they respectfully and enthusiastically claimed their seats as fans this night. Some stepped up to perform. Elton John, John Legend, Alabama Shakes, Neil Young, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, to name a few. The galaxy was aglow in tribute to the Boss.

But what left me with a lifelong impression was Bruce himself. He attended with his immediate and extended family in tow, complete with their boyfriends, cousins, and distant uncles. All present surrounding him in honor. Even his 87 yr. old mom upped the fundraising by throwing in one of her famous home cooked Lasagna dinner to help the cause.

And after all the tribute performances were through and Bruce stepped up to the podium to speak, all witnessed an ageless soul for his art display why the ages haven’t slowed him, despite his staggering success.

He spoke plainly ( and with ample use of sailor language! ) of the musician’s life, heart, and struggles. And how, as his song says, we should take care of our own. He even confessed that his initial motive for considering being MusiCare’s person of the year for 2013 began with his wanting to promote….new music! His relentless drive to connect again and again through song and art.

He is a regular Joe kind of guy. You could tell he wasn’t smooth with all the showbiz banter. But man, he spoke from the heart. And that heart was the same as a guy who netted $25.00 per gig in the beginning days, after paying his band and his bar tab, to a guy worth 100+ million. His last words were ” Somebody give me a guitar! ”

He then launched into a set that would have exhausted a man easily half his age. My favorite moment – when he introduced his departed bandmate Clarence Clemmon’s son just prior to him ripping into one of his father’s classic sax solos. You could hear the DNA with every note. All the progressive 1%ers abandoned their showbiz cool restraint and packed to the front of the stage. Once again Bruce did it. He made an almost religious experience out of his performance, and the alter call summoned the most jaded industry person as new fans.

When the music stopped he hung out after meeting with everyone, vs. some in his league who felt that beneath them. And when it was time to leave I recognized that everyone had that same look in their eyes that I had, and have witnessed with each time I have seen him perform before. That look of being transcended, satisfied, and energized. And the knowing that they just experienced a true legend. But not a “sing the oldies I am done doing newbies” legend. This guy has a ton more show in him, and many more stories to tell.

I concluded my duties and took myself home. It was way past late. I was bone tired, but all I could think of was getting to a guitar and playing every Boss song I know. I felt proud to be a songwriter and musician….

JOHN BRAHENY 1938-2013

John Braheny – songwriter, founder of L.A.S.S., best selling author, mentor, coach, consultant, and champion of every songwriter, died on Saturday, 1/19/13. Please read more about John’s life from Dan Kimpel here ( https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151242840510735&set=o.117748635063373&type=1&theater ). John touched my songwriting life early on. His offer of a press quote for me saying I was easily one of the best songwriters he knows was a source of inspiration from that day forward. He also introduced me to domestic and international songwriters with whom I collaborated with with great sucess and fufillment. He knew what he was talking about. And when he talked, songwriters listened. John and his bride JoAnn were almost always seen side by side, and were a joy to run into. And they seemed to be everywhere! John – thank you – for your friendship, championing of my art, and your tireless efforts on behalf of all songwriters. You will be missed.

TYRONE WELLS “THIS LOVE” ALBUM NAMED iTunes BEST OF 2012

Tyrone Well’s “This Love” gets iTunes best Of 2012 nod! We are proud and happy! Thank you for everyone who has embraced this latest outing which includes three songs penned by Grey/Wells on it. Word is many of the tracks are getting love and attention. We are looking forward to 2013 bringing even more momentum! ( http://t.co/lsMPJ3Zb )