Most of the “A Holiday Benefit, Vol. II” gang got together to rehearse last night: Chris Abad, Tony Maceli, Jaime Allegre, Casey Shea, Jamie Leonhart, Bryan Dunn, Deena Goodman, Rosi Golan, Derek James, Dov Rosenblatt and Amber Rubarth.
Tony, Chris and Jamie are the house band for Monday night’s big charity event. They learned nearly twenty songs in two days. I’m doing “Blue Christmas,” and “Merry Christmas Baby” with Ms. Leonhart, plus “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” Bryan, Jamie, Deena and Brent Shuttleworth. We jammed through those in just a few minutes.
I spent most of the night running back and forth to the corner store (a fairly sketchy one, it’s worth noting, there on the corner of 30th & Eighth) for Budweiser Tall Boys. Oh, and drinking them. I helped with that too.
I also lent vocals and tambourine to Bryan’s phenomenal “Father Christmas (really, it’s the album’s standout) and Chris’ “Felize Navidad” and “Last Christmas.”
Also, I’m MCing Monday night’s show with Rebel Music Spirit founder, Deena Goodman, so I also did some reporting, getting the basics on each artist so I can give each a proper introduction. Amber Rubarth, for example, was once a chainsaw wood sculptor. Rosi Golan was born in Israel. All sorts of interesting things.
Plus, I took lots of rehearsal photos.
It’s an excellent collection of musicians, and a great group of people. I’m glad we had this extra time together to come together even more cohesively as a group. Which sounds really clinical. What I mean is, we had a blast. There’s nothing like a few songs, a few beers, and a few laughs to bring a bunch of people together. At one point, I turned to Deena and said, “I’ve been waiting for this for twenty years!”
The fun really began at the after party at our favorite dive, Tempest Bar where — after four hours of rehearsal — Tony, Chris, Jamie, Bryan and I finally exhaled.