I received a couple of notices this past week, from some people that I've known for a while, and made me realize how lucky I am to have talented people in my life. My brother is a published author, which really pisses me off that he did it first, one of my cousins has been a writer and producer in Hollywood for many years, one of my best friends played professional hockey, and that doesn't include many family and friends that are/were captains of industry and corporate bigwigs.
Two others in my world are singer/songwriters who are on different journeys in their careers, and the reason for today's column. One has a successful career, that is still growing, and the other has just embarked on his new path, after retiring from a full business career.
Dave Tamkin grew up across the street from Linda and me, in Mt. Prospect, and I've known him for at least 25 years. I remember hearing him practice his guitar from his open bedroom window which was facing my office. Some of those early days it was a little painful, I won't lie, but his persistence and dedication to getting better was clear, and very soon you could hear the improvement, and just tell he was going to be pretty damn good at playing.
His love of music led to him playing many different albums on his CD player while he toiled around the garage and yard, and it actually got me interested in several bands that I might not have heard, without his playing their CD's loud enough for me to hear. He was always surprised when I asked him the name of some of the bands so I could buy the CD.
As he grew up and reached high school and college age, he formed a band and they played nearly every weekend someplace in the area. It was fun watching them come and go, loading and unloading equipment. The whole family was fantastic. He and his siblings were always polite, respectful, and pleasant and clearly his parents did a fine job raising great kids.
Fast forward to a few years later, he moved to Boulder and has settled now in the area where he continues to move his career forward. He also has become involved in helping those less fortunate in the area. He recently has started working with Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, as he wants to do what he can to help the homeless have a place to go where they can be safe and protected. (www.BoulderShelter.org)
His latest release is called Shoes ( www.davetamkin.bandcamp.com ) and not only is it a terrific song, but 20% of all proceeds from the sale of the song and merchandise, will go to the charity. Dave will also be a part of a streaming concert to raise money for Boulder Shelter on April 18th starting at 6:00 MDT live from the Stone Cottage Studios. Go to www.stonecottagestudios.com/Events for more information.
It is really fun to see a young person grow up and become a solid citizen and a rising star and I'm proud to call him my friend.
At the opposite end of the music career spectrum, is someone that I've known for 50 years. We went to high school and college together, and spent many misspent nights discussing music, world events, and various other topics over way too many tall frosty adult beverages.
Ricky Franz has always had an ongoing love affair with folk music. I can't even remember how many times we went to the Earl of Old Town in Chicago, or other clubs and venues, to see the likes of Steve Goodman, John Prine, and Ed Holstein among many others. It was a genre that I didn't really know much about, but found that it was better than I expected, and grew to enjoy much of the music and many of the singers.
Over the years Ricky continued to fine tune his guitar playing, and songwriting, and when he retired, about a year ago, his sister came to Florida to visit, asked him to play and sing for her, and encouraged him to release an album. One year later he has.
Ricky has always been a creative and clever writer, and this album showcases those talents. He has a wonderful ability to bring out events, and phases, of his life in a way that brings you in, before you even realize that you are going there. (https://rickyfranz.hearnow.com/)
You can hear the influences of his folk singing heroes in most of the songs, but, Me and Sam and the Shah of Iran, takes you back to the early 1970's, style wise, and gives you a flavor of what it was that resonated with him all those years ago.
You've Been Off My Mind All Afternoon, will be your first, and only, experience of hearing a vocal track that has a tuba as the primary instrument. Just one example of his wit and creativity on this CD.
It is brave of anyone to change careers in their mid sixties, it is especially brave to change towards being a singer/songwriter. As someone who has made a similar move I can attest to how scary it can be but how rewarding also.
These are two men I have known who have done something that I find just incredible. Creating music, and releasing albums, is beyond anything I can imagine. I find music to be something so personal and moving and am in awe of those that create it for us to hear.
Take some time and support both of these guys by downloading their music from Spotify, Amazon, SoundCloud, or whatever your music choice may be. Importantly, tune in and help Dave Tamkin Saturday night as he participates in a live concert to raise money for Boulder Shelter for the Homeless.
Reach out to both on their Facebook pages and let them know what you think. Also, please share these columns with friends and family and have them sign up for free at www.chiguysproductions.com and follow me, if you dare on Twitter @LDM1828. (Chi2PD)