Welcome to Tuesday,
Tonight we Host the Final Open Mic for 2016 at the Hearing Room in Lowell Massachusetts.
Since it's a school vacation week, I am happy to report that the lovely Elise will be joining me this evening, and I have been assured that, yes, there will be snacks! Also tonight, my youngest daughter, on break from Grad School, will be on hand to see her old man playing live in front of an audience, something she last witnessed over fifteen years ago when she was still in single digits. So I really hope that many of you will be able to join me this evening on what I promise will be a special night of performances. Come and play, come and perform, or just come and listen. Performances run from seven until ten p.m.
Some of you that have been regular readers of this Blog for the HughMcQueenMusicProject have heard mention the HEARING ROOM many times before. Last summer when I made the decision to return to a career in music it was the first room I played. Their Tuesday Night Open Mic nights hosted by Rick Cande and Lori Zuroff gave me the opportunity to work out the kinks after a very long hiatus. So much has happened since those first couple of Tuesday nights back in the summer.
We did our Launch Party at the Hearing Room back in November, and did another feature show there on December 3rd. We have booked and played several other venues in the greater Lowell area since that first evening, but coming back to the Hearing Room always feels like being welcomed back home.
There are very few venues in existence today ,whose sole reason for being, is to provide a creative outlet for local artists and musicians. The Hearing Room is one of these rare venues. It does not exist to make a buck. It exists because some very special people believe that Art and Music matter,
It needs your support, so come by and check it out. Come Browse, Come listen, come sing, come dance, come create.....come belong.
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah,
When I was a kid , I always wished every year that Christmas could land on a Sunday. Growing up Catholic with the most Irish Catholic mother to ever walk on God's green Earth, missing Mass on Sunday was NOT an option. It always seemed to me that Catholicism had some very peculiar rules one had to follow if one did not want to end up having to spend eternity roasting marshmallows with Lucifer, and attending Mass on Sunday and on ALL Holy Days of Obligation was right at the top of my mother's list. It was one of the Big Ten, (that's Commandments for you heathens, not the College Football Conference), and fell under the category of "keeping Holy the Lord's Day".
Any year Christmas happened to fall on, say, a Monday, or a Thursday, it meant that our butts were being dragged to Mass at our Parish Church twice in one week. Imagine the torture of being forced to get "dressed up" twice in one week, then sitting "quietly" in uncomfortable pews while Father Carty preached on the wages of sin I had not yet had the pleasure of committing. But on the occasional year that Jesus' Birthday fell on a Sunday, it was like getting a two for one special, with Christmas Mass counting for both the Holy Day and the Weekly Obligation. I think I began to recognize Liturgical Loopholes early in life, and I confess,(pun fully intended), that through my younger years I used them as often as I could. Some day, I may have to answer for such transgressions , but we will just have to wait and see. For the most part, I think I've managed, in spite of myself, to become a relatively decent human being,
My parents did the best they could with what they had to work with, the "what they had to work with" meaning "me", I never made things too easy for them. Let's just say, without getting into a lot of detail, that I was not always the model "Altar Boy of Good Behavior" I gave my parents a run for their money, I questioned anything and everything, and I am sure it was not an easy for my mother to instill in me the true meaning of Christmas, but somehow my folks managed. The Christmas Carols helped as well, since I've always been a "lyrics " kind og guy, "Joy to the World", Away in a Manger", "Silent Night", "Oh Holy Night", all sum things up rather nicely.
And then there was the Nativity Scene, the plaster figurines my mother would carefully unwrap each year and set up front and center beneath the Christmas tree. With the Nativity Scene prominently set in the front, the presents from Santa set to the side, carefully placed so as not to disturb Jesus, Mary Joseph, the cows, the sheep, or the heralding Angel, my mother unknowingly established a visual display on the proper priorities of Christmas.
Unfortunately, the three Wise Men and their Camels occasionally fell victim to a landslide of packages but travel on the Holidays can always be a little dangerous.
I was a lot less Dogmatic with my kids when they were growing up, opting for a more secular approach in my efforts of teaching them right from wrong. There were no threats of eternal hell, fire, and brimstone, or pulpit rants, or any sideways glances of Sister Holy-Mary-Altar-Rail to stop them from misbehaving. Staying off of Santa's Naughty List accomplished the same resuls as not disappointing Jesus and threats of eternal damnation.
So Happy Birthday Jesus! Have a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, and to all a Very Happy New Year.
Hope you have a chance to Pay something Forward today. If you are not sure what I mean by that feel free to check the Blog Archives from a couple of Tuesdays back at HughMcQueen.com.
I am truly looking forward to taking part in tonight’s open mic at the Hearing Room, hosted this week by the one and only Rick Cande. It should be a great turnout and a chance to hear some amazingly talented people so if you are in the Lowell Area stop in to the Hearing Room from 7 until 10 and support Live Music and the Local Arts. The Hearing Room is located at 119 Chelmsford St in Lowell, (same location as the 119 Gallery). BYO Beverages,plenty of free parking, free popcorn and a relaxing atmosphere with awesome people.
With Christmas approaching rapidly and the start of a New Year right on it’s heels, I’ve been trying to take some time to reflect on this past year, and to look ahead to what is in store for 2017, all while trying to keep my head in Today. I am not finding it an easy task. I have never been big on making resolutions. If I make them, I inevitably break them, so I really do not see any point to it all. For me, I think the key lies more in finding my balance, that precarious point where I can somehow manage to remain standing without falling over, all while juggling careers, family, friends, social consciousness, personal time, eating and sleeping. So I made a list of things I need to do, or at least keep mindful of, for the upcoming year.
You will not find a lot of specifics here, which could in itself be a part of my problem, but we will leave that for another day. I guess these are more like realizations than they are actual resolutions. So without further ado, here is my list on maintaining my center of gravity for the New Year. Feel free to take from these whatever you wish, and know that your comments to the Blog are always appreciated and always welcome.
So to all of our readers,
A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Happy Monday to all,
Hope everyone had a great weekend enjoying watching the Patriots clinch home field for the playoffs this year.
As the Holidays repidly approach rehearsals continue as we get ready to bring in the new year with shows in January at The 110 Grill in Chemsford and Angela's in Tyngsboro.
Tomorrow night on Tuesday the 20th we will be at the Hearing Room in Lowell as Rick Cande hosts this week's Open Mic. If you are interested in taking the stage tomorrow night the Hearing room now has sign up's on line . Just go to their Website and sign up. You can link to their site via Facebook as well. If you are looking for a relaxing break from Holiday Shopping and you've about had your fill of Christmas movies stop in to the Hearing Room at 119 Chelmsfor St in Lowell, (formally the 119 Gallery). Show starts at seven and I guarantee you will hear some incredible performances. Suggested donation is $5., plenty of free prking aand Free Popcorn.
Hope to see you there.
Sorry it's been a couple of days since I've had a chance to sit down and write a few lines from the bunkers of the HughMcQueenMusic Project. Both my mind and body are still adjusting to my new day time gig.
Our schedule between now and the end of the year is light, with only a couple of Holiday parties to play, but we still have two Open Mic nights at the Hearing Room. The first is on Tuesday the 20th, hosted by my good friend the Human Juke Box, Rick Cande . I will be hosting again on the 27th. If you have not checked out the Hearing Room in Lowell I recommend paying a visit on either or both nights. It's a great room to relax and hear some great performances. The venue is a BYOBeverage venue, as they do not serve alcohol.
In January we will be at the 110 Grill in Chelmsford on Thursday the 12th, and on Friday the 20th we will be back at Angela's in Tyngsboro. We are trying to book a couple more shows for the month and we will keep you posted with listings on the Upcoming Appearances Page of the website at HughMcQueen.com as they come in.
Monday morning was a great reminder of why I'm glad I no longer work at an Automobile Dealership. I shoveled off the deck and the front steps, took a few minutes to clean off Elise and K's cars, along with the Nitro Tour Bus, and then headed bck into a nice warm kitchen for a hot cup of dark roast and a leisurely morning read of the Boston Globe. I could say I really missed spending half of my day clearing snow and jockeying around an entire lot full of overpriced iron, but that would be a complete lie.
After an afternoon rehearsal I headed out to lend a hand to an old friend, the one and only Santa Claus. Nothing quite like spending the night trying not to drop a squirming infant as their mother insists on taking "just one more picture". Anyway, the kids were mostly great, and everyone seemed to enjoy getting their photo taken with Santa.
We wrapped things up with the Jolly Old Elf and as he disappeared back to the North Pole to finish up his preparations for the big night, I headed home to watch the Patriots. Playing Santa for nearly two hundred kids can be pretty exhausting, so as badly as I wanted to watch the entire Monday night game, I had visions of sugar plums dancing in my head by about halfway through the second quarter . I called it a night, trusting the rest of the game to Coach Bill and the G.O.A.T.. This is so not like me. I cannot ever go to bed before the final gun, the final buzzer, or the last call third strike. I can't think of a single extra inning west coast Sox game that I didn't see through the end, As any of you that know me well can attest to, I am not and have never been a morning person. I have always been a night owl. So I'm starting to think that either my age or working a day gig is getting the better of me, Whatever it is , I'm starting to think about turning in early again tonight when suddenly I get a call saying no schools all schools tomorrow. Think I'm catching a second wind just thinking about being able to sleep in tomorrow morning, I hear it's going to be very cold on the lot.
Good afternoon from the HughMcQueenMusicProject,
I hope everyone had an excellent weekend.
Thanks to all of you that came out to Angela'a on Friday evening and braved the cold to catch our show, It was great seeing everyone and I hope you all had a great time.
We are wrapping up the year with a couple of private functions. but you have two more opportunities to catch us before 2016 is over. We are hosting two open mic events at the Hearing Room in Lowell before New Years. The first will be tomorrow night, Tuesday the 13th, and the second will be on Tuesday the 27th. If you are in the Lowell area on either date please stop in and show yoursupport for local art and live music. We normally do a set to start off the evening before turning it over to the evening's acts.
This evening, prior to the Patriot's Kickoff I have information from a very reliable source that Santa Claus will be visiting the STEM Academy in Lowell for their Polar Express Night. I know this because Santa called me personally. I was a little surprised at first, considering that for many years my name was etched onto the Naughty List in Premanent Marker. But apparently this year I have managed to make the Nice List, albeit by a very slim margin.
The jolly old elf is resting up his reindeer for the big night, so he asked if he could use the HughMcQueenMusicProject's Nitro Tour Bus for the evening. I normally do not make a habit of loaning out our rig, especially to someone with an out of state driver's license that's wired up on a sugar high from too many cups of cocoa a few too many cookies, but I figured that if Santa can manuever a sleigh and eight reindeer around the globe in one night, then our wheels should be in pretty good hands.
While Santa is saying hello to all the kids at the school I'm going to disappear for a while, but I should be back in time for the opening Kick Off.
Go Pats!!!! Ho Ho Ho!!!!!!
Good afternoon and Happy Friday,
I hope you all have survived another week in the salt mines and are ready to have a little weekend fun as the HughMcQueenMusicProject returns this evening to Angela's CFP in beautiful Tyngsboro Massachusetts. We will be kicking off at about 6;00 and playing all of your favorite tunes, (at least the ones we know) almost non-stop right through until ten o'clock. So start your weekend off right and stop in for your favorite beverage, a couple of slices and maybe some wings. It promises to be a great night and it will be even greater if you are there.
Sorry I have not blogged for a couple of days but things have been quite busy. Although I really cannot get into a lot of detail, I will tell you that this week, for the first time , I spent a couple of days substitute teaching in our local school district.
Now I have always respected the people I know that work in Education, but after filling in for only two days, I will admit that I only had a shadow of an idea just how incredibly difficult a job professional teachers perform every day. I can't lie. I enjoyed filling in, and for the most part the kids were great, but at the end of the day ,I was completely exhausted!!!
I think I might have actually done a pretty decent job, considering that my entire resume of teaching experience is limited to having worked with my own childern on their homework, papers, and reports, plus a select number of guitar lessons I taught several years ago. But in just two days I got to witness real professionals in action, and I am in awe.
Gaining personal knowledge of the world and it's workings can be a challenge all on it's own, but posessing the ability to effectively share that knowledge in a way that allows a child to actually learn it , while still maintaining one's own patience, sanity, and sense of humor......that is an extremely rare treasure.
So to all the great teachers everywhere, Thank you for what you do everyday. Thank you for teaching our children, Thank you for sharing your gift.
Well Happy Wednesday to everyone,
The week is flying by and Friday night is rapidly approaching, I am excited to be returning to Angela's in Tyngsboro for a fun night. First set of the evening starts at 6:00 and we will be playing until ten. The good folks at Angela's feed me well whenever I play there so my big decision for the night will be , do I get the sausage and ricotta or do I stick with the pepperoni?
We are expecting a really good turn out and we're looking forward to catching up with some old friends. Hopefully we'll be making some new ones too. We have added several new songs to the set lists and we look forward to playing them for you along with all of the old favorites you know by heart.
Two quick notes before I head to my afternoon rehearsal.
First of all, Thank you to everyone that came out to the Hearing Room in Lowell last night for the Open Mic. The poetry and music were awesome. If you mised it, we are back there on Tuesday the 13th. We are trying to figure out a way for performers to sign up on line instead of having to come early, so as soon as we have that worked out we'll have an event posted on the Facebook Page for the Hearing Room.
Lastly, a huge thank you to all of you that continue to refer people to the website for
The HughMcQueenMusicProject at HughMcQueen.com.
Yesterday we set a record for visits and page views. Since we went live with the site back in early September our traffic has continued to increase pretty consistently, but over the past couple of days we have had a surge and it is awesome!!!! So THANK YOU ALL.
Hopefully over the next couple of months we can continue to grow and improve the site. For 2017 we will be adding a merchandising page where you'll be able to get HughMcQueenMusicProject CD's Shirts, Hats, Mugs, and select items bearing our logo and unique font designed by the incredible artist Timothy Bradley,
So keep visiting, and keep speading the word. We really appreciate it, and we hope to see you on Friday at Angela's.
Good afternoon to all,
Hope everyone is having a peaceful day today.
Don't forget that tonight I will be hosting the open mike for the first time at the Hearing Room in Lowell. Sign ups begin at 6:30 and acts start at seven. Come on down if you are in the area and support local art and live music. The Hearing Room is located at 119 Chelmsford St. in Historic Lowell Massachusetts.
I spent most of my morning running around taking care of those things you really don't feel like doing but they have to get done. No real fun, nothing exciting, just a journey through the mundane.
Tuesdays are good for that. They really hold little significance compared to all the other days of the week.
Think about it. Mondays get a lot of attention. They are usually hated, dreaded, and generally they are pretty unpopular. Wednesdays are Humpdays that magical halfway point through the workweek. Thursdays have actually become quite popular in recent years, sort of a premature start of the weekend for a lot of Thirsty people, , and of course the always Popular Thank God it's Fridays. As for Saturdays and Sundays well who can say anything bad about a day on the weekend except for maybe they seem to go by too quickly. But lowly Tuesday sits there wedged between Manic Monday and Humpday, about as far away from the weekend as you can get, Not much ever seems to happen on Tuesdays that is very significant. It's really just there. Twenty-four hours of "just let me get through this". Sometimes if a Tuesday is being difficult in any way people automatically will chalk it up to Monday overhang.
Tuesday needs and identity of it's own. From this point on I suggest that we make every Tuesday the weekly "Pay it Forward Day". Try to do something nice for someone on a Tuesday, something that would be unexpected. It doesn't have to be a big thing. You could bring someone coffee in the morning, or buy them lunch, just something to try and make someone's mundane Tuesday just a little better. Tell someone they look nice, or compliment them on their shoes, help them carry something heavy, or hold a door. Whatever it is, let's start making Tuesdays special. Afterall, today is the Present.
Good morning and welcome to Monday,
I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. If you are driving today look out for all those other people that forgot how to drive in the snow. This is a fairly long post, with show information for this week at the end. But first I thought I would share little story to lighten up your Monday.
Our story opens on a quiet Sunday morning in the kitchen, drinking coffee and reading the Sunday paper while Christmas Music plays on the stereo.
Ahhh, Sunday, a day of rest, and relaxation, and of course the Patriot’s at 1:00 p.m……. But what’s that??????? Get a Christmas tree????? Today?????Okay,,,,what…..a Tree Farm...cut down a fresh one …..only open until 4:00……...so…While Tom Brady was busy breaking records on Sunday with his 201st career win with the Patriots the lovely Elise and I were climbing up and down the hills of a tree farm in search of the perfect little Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. Ahhh, the things I do for love.
Now as many of you that have had the pleasure of knowing Elise can attest to, she is truly worth it. And, let me state adamantly for the record , that under normal conditions, I would search the entire Black Forest and the Hills of New Hampshire and Vermont to find her the perfect tree. But last week, I somehow managed to do something to my left hip that left me in extreme pain and discomfort. Even stepping up onto the stage Saturday night was giving me issues. Getting ready to go to the show that night I even had difficulty bending over to put on my own shoes and socks. I was not my usually mobile self, I was visibly hobbling and limping, and I was a cursing out loud…..a lot….Yes, I admit, I was no joy to be around and in fact, my hip had transformed me into the “Cranky Old Guy”.
Remember back in the seventies ,Tower of Power had a hit song entitled “What is Hip”.? I can assure you that the “Hip” that was “hipper than hip” T of P were singing about is not the same hip I have dealt with for the last few days, The good news is that this morning I woke up about 98% pain free and my mysterious hip issues seem to be resolved, so I don’t think I’ll be needing a titanium replacement anytime soon. Anyway, back to the tale of the tree.
So we finally find the perfect little tree, a cute little guy barely five feet tall. I confess I felt a little guilty when the Tree Farming- Lumberjack- Guide-Guy cut the little tree down. Being so much smaller than most of the other trees on the farm, it seemed like we were prematurely ending the life of this fragrant evergreen before it had even reached puberty. Elise looks at me sideways, then assures me that this is not the case, so we load our little tree into this rickety trailer with a bench installed in the middle and hold on for dear life. The tractor pulling the trailer begins making it’s way down the side of this tree farm mountain towards the flatlands below. The driver is this young fella wearing a Patriot’s Stocking Cap stained with tree sap and a few pine needles. I sense he might be a bit aggravated about missing the Pat’s game because he manages to hit every rut, bolder, stump and bump in our path, each time sending a bolt of searing pain through my hip. I grimace a smile, while inside my head ,a chain of expletives is exploding like my brain has developed Tourette’s. Finally we reach the flatlands near the ramshackle barn. I climb out of the trailer and watch in horror as they stand our little tree on top of a red metal box and proceed to violently shake it. Then they grab it and shove it through this giant metal tube and pull it out the other side so that it is now encased in a festive red and green netting. We pay the mercenary tree merchants and load our Charlie Brown Tree into the truck. Then we head home and the real fun begins.
After spending about two hours rearranging the furniture in our living room to accommodate our tree we bring it in the house and set it into the stand. Frances the Cat is not happy. Not only have we rearranged furniture, which Frances finds unacceptable, but now there is a tree inside her house. This is apparently confusing to Frances, who is an indoor/outdoor cat, so she expresses her delight by using the downstairs rug for her litterbox. Now I have not only killed a tree, but I am ready to kill the cat. I maintain my composure and managed to install the lights without too much cursing, I gave the tree some aspirin, I took a couple myself, and called it a day. Elise got to hang her special ornaments on the tree while the music of Vince Vivaldi played on the stereo……...it doesn’t get much better than that.
I want to take a minute to thank everyone that came out to our show at the Hearing Room in Lowell this past Saturday. You were a small but mighty crowd, and we truly enjoyed performing for you. You guys were awesome, and we hope to see you all at Angela’s CFP in Tyngsboro this Friday the 9th for another episode of the Hugh McQueen Music Project. Our first set Friday starts about 6:00 p.m. and we will be playing until 10:00 p.m. And they have a full bar with really cold beers and the best thin crust pizza on the planet!
Please do us a huge favor and make sure you respond to the event invitation on Facebook to let us know you’ll be there. I hate to be mercenary, but stuff like that really helps us to secure future bookings, and it helps the venue management schedule enough waitstaff and bartenders to keep you well taken care throughout the evening.
Also happening this week;
On Tuesday evening December 6th, I will be Hosting the weekly Open Mic at the Hearing Room in Lowell. Sign up for acts starts at 6:30 and the show runs 7 until 10. This is a great opportunity for any new performers to get a feel for performing on stage. It also affords more seasoned professionals a chance to try out new material and hone their skills. We are looking for Singers, Musicians, Magicians, Poets, Comics, and Storytellers. Sorry, no Mimes, after all, it is The “Hearing” Room. So come on in to listen, play, and perform. What better way to spend a Tuesday night than to support the local Arts and Live Music Scene.
Check out the Audio video Track of my cover of Jerry Garcia's Friend of the Devil, recorded this summer at NH Tunes Studios in Manchester NH. It's posted on Facebook in the event for Angela's this Friday. And please respond to the invitation. We appreciate it.