Okee dokee folks…” A dog’s age,” that phrase defines a length of time, actually quite a length of time. It’s not commonly used anymore. I titled my last CD A Dog’s Age because it had been a long time since I made a CD and because I love (my) dogs. Now I sit at my computer devastated and writing this bit because “a dog’s age” wasn’t long enough for me.
I had to put my dog to sleep last week. My dog, Zoey, was almost 15 years old and I’d had her all but the first two months of her life. She was a gift from a friend who sprung her from a shelter in theBronx. During the next 14-and-a-half years, that dog was truly my best friend. She did just about everything with me and when my other dog, Abby, came along, they both were my constant companions. They were at my feet when I wrote at the computer for just about every article I composed for this paper. If you are a dog lover, you understand the heartache and sadness that I am dealing with. If you are not a dog lover, think of it this way: I adopted a child at 2 months old, raised her, taught her, disciplined her, took care of her, and loved her and just before she reached the age of 15 she got very sick and passed away. How many parents could deal with that kind of pain? Probably none. And, I have already dealt with it five times in my life. It doesn’t get any easier. It actually gets harder. When you live with a dog you grow together. Man and dogs have been doing for 100,000 years. You learn to communicate on a level that goes beyond commands. You both learn to read body language, gain trust, acceptance and unconditional love. Dogs are the best at unconditional love – giving and teaching. They also tell you when it’s time to go. For years, Zoey, Abby and I hiked in the woods 4-5 times a week. It was good for us all but Zoey needed to do it. She was getting old, slow and creaky and the exercise was good for her. Hiking with Zo and Ab was my favorite thing to do. A few weeks prior to Zo’s passing, we were hiking and we decided to try a new trail. We got lost. Then Abby got separated from us. I was panicked. There was nearly450 acresof woods to get lost in and I had no idea where she was or where we were. It was very cold and this went on for hours. We walked many, many miles. My old dog Zo never complained once, she kept right up. I called my father to come help me to find Abby because the sun was getting ready to set. Fortunately, within a half an hour we were able to track her down. That temporary taste of loss freaked me out. It freaked Abby out too. With this incident fresh in my mind, we had an already scheduled vet appointment to add to the stress. Both of the dogs had tests that came back that they both had health issues and needed more tests and Zoey probably needed surgery for a tumor. I began the process of preparing to submit Zoey to surgery, something I was afraid to do because of her age but after consultation and research it was determined necessary. We didn’t make it to the surgery. One day we went for a hike as we normally did, we came home and later had dinner. Zoey didn’t eat. In her WHOLE life she never turned up food. She was never sick a day in her life either. The next day she didn’t eat, started getting weak, started choking and though she was losing weight her body was swelling. I was in denial but decided I was taking her to the vet the next day to see what was what. That night was one of the worst nights of my life. I stayed awake with Zo all night trying to keep her comfortable waiting for the morning. By the time the morning came, Zo gave me that look. It was time to go. I took her to the vet but she didn’t come home. Now I have a HUGE hole in my life and Abby and I are trying to adjust to life without Zo. It’s hard, very, very hard. The sadness lingers and will for a very long time. I’m not writing this for sympathy. I am hoping that this may help the healing. Also, in my almost 8 years of writing for this paper I have always had a column in every issue and I feel that I let a lot of folks down by not providing a column for the last issue. I apologize for that and hope that you all understand now why it was missing.
Someone wrote this to me, “We who share ourselves with those whose lives are shorter than our own, are so very brave… letting go is not for the faint of heart.” How true. Now I MUST move forward.
I have often said that theNarrowsinFall Rivershould open a Bed & Breakfast because of the amount of absolutely awesome shows they regularly present. Well, the month of March definitely has it going on! On Saturday, March 3, Jeffrey Gaines with only his voice and a guitar for accompaniment will simply astound you with his passionate performance. Gaines came to notoriety in the ’90s with his unplugged version of Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” that gave the original a run for its money.
Sunday, March 4, returns Grammy Award winners and recent stars of the Newport Folk Festival, The Carolina Chocolate Drops to theNarrowsfor “dirt-floor-dance electricity.” Banjos and black string musicians first got here on slave ships, but now this is everyone’s music and it’ll be playing at the narrows – last time sold out! www.CarolinaChocolateDrops.com. On Thursday, March 15, Steve Earle, one of the most influential and revered songwriters on the planet graces the stage at theNarrows. Need I say more? It’s Steve Earle!!! www.SteveEarle.com. On Friday, March 16th, They’re having a party and Southside Johnny and the Poor Fools will embark on a stripped down journey through Johnny Lyon’s eclectic version of the Great American Songbook. The Poor Fools will also dive into some of the legendary Asbury Jukes material. www.SouthsideJohnny.com. Saturday, March 17, yes it’s St. Paddy’s day, but this show trumps that! Jon Anderson: The Voice of Yes – There are few vocalists in the history of rock music that are as immediately recognizable by their sound as Jon Anderson, former lead singer of progressive rock icons Yes. In this personal and engaging solo performance,Andersonwill perform songs from all across the Yes songbook and his own eclectic solo work.www.JonAnderson.com There is just sooooooooooooooo much going on at theNarrowsyou’ll want to check for yourself. www.ncfta.org
Gets Black Irish
The New York City Irish rock band, BLACK 47 hitting the road for its22nd StPatrick’s Day season on March 1st and makes the Knickerbocker Café its second stop on Friday, March 2. Black 47, long-time leaders in Celtic rock, the genre they helped create, formed in 1989, earning their chops playing the pub scene inManhattanand self-producing their first indie record, Black 47, before converting The Cars’ Ric Ocasek to the cause and gaining mainstream attention with their second album, Fire Of Freedom. Years of relentless touring and thirteen albums later, the band has become a cornerstone of modern Celtic rock, since bursting out of MTV screens with their 1992 hit, “Funky Ceili.” Their signature eclectic sound, socially conscious lyrics, and off-the-wall live shows paved the way for other Irish influenced bands such as Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys. They cover topics ranging from theNorthern Irelandconflict to civil rights and urban unrest in contemporaryNew York. Led by Larry Kirwan who provides lead vocals and Stratocaster duties, the band’s music, though often based on traditional melodies, is laced with rock, reggae, hip-hop, New Orleans and modern jazz, while songwriter Kirwan uses influences as varied as Yeats, Joyce and Dylan to fashion his dramatic cutting edge lyrics.
The show starts at9pmand special guest, Mark Bernier opens. www.theknickerbockercafe.com.
Sugar Ray @ BRT
On Saturday, March 3,8pm, Blackstone River Theatre is thrilled to present the BRT debut of Sugar Ray and the Bluetones, hot off FIVE Blues Music Awards nominations! Their latest CD, Evening, has garnered nominations as Album of the Year and Traditional Blues Album. The band is up for Band of the Year, and Sugar Ray Norcia for Instrumentalist – Harmonica and Michael “Mudcat” Ward as Instrumentalist – Bass. Norcia’s career kicked into high gear in 1979 when he formed the original Sugar Ray and the Bluetones line-up with guitar giant Ronnie Earl, and it’s stayed there ever since. The elegant singer has appeared on more than 50 albums including discs with the Bluetones, Ronnie Earl, Roomful of Blues, Otis Grand, Michelle Willson, Duke Robillard, Pinetop Perkins, and his 1999 Best Traditional Blues Grammy-nominated collaboration with fellow harmonica virtuosos James Cotton, Charlie Musselwhite and Billy Branch called Superharps. In the ’90s Norcia spent seven high-profile years with the legendary Roomful of Blues cutting five albums with the group including 1996’s Turn It On, Turn It Up, which also received a Best Traditional Blues Grammy nod. Now, Sugar Ray has led the Bluetones – guitarist “Monster” Mike Welch, drummer Neil Gouvin, bassist Ward and pianist Anthony Geraci – back on the road to support their hot new CD… don’t miss it! www.riverfolk.org
Z Stage Door
This March, The Zeiterion Performing Arts Center welcomes you to step through the red door on Spring Street to experience the Stage Door Live Series with Natalia Zukerman on March 8 and Dane Vannatter on March 22. This is not the traditional Zeiterion show. Your seat is on-stage. The artists are on-stage. Couches, chairs and tables create an intimate setting where you can view great artist up close. Visit www.zeiterion.org
Chan’s Got Blues
He’s back, back to where he started! Anthony Gomes, #1 Billboard Blues Artist, will be rolling into Chan’s Friday, March 9, at8pm. This local hotspot is where Gomes will be debuting music from his new release Up 2 Zero. The new CD represents a full-circle return to his love of high energy, guitar-driven blues rock. “This album is the most honest representation of who I am. The title represents getting back to the blues – back to ground zero,” Gomes says. www.anthonygomes.com or call Chan’s at 401-765-1900.
Four Cornersof The Music Universe
On Saturday, March 3rd, An Evening of Singers, Songwriters and Stringed Instruments, will be presented byFour CornersArtsCenterin Tiverton. The show features Allysen Callery, Kim Lamothe, and Red Eye Flight — separately and together. Jeff Johnstone will be sitting in on keys. For more info, go to www.tivertonfourcorners.com/calendar/category/events/concerts/. You can also find advance tickets at Coastal Roasters (1791 Main Road in Tiverton) The concert will be held at the Four Corners Meeting House, located at 3850 Main Road in Tiverton. Doors open at7 pm; show starts at7:30.
That’s it for now. Thanks to all the folk who already sent condolences. Your kind words have helped a lot. And as always; thanks for reading.
John Fuzek www.johnfuzek.com