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Robert Osborne  

It's no surprise to anyone who knows me, or has been to one of my shows, that I've had a lot of day jobs to keep up my artistic life. For many years I've built and dressed sets with my friend, Alan Bruckner, hands down the hardest working Art Director in the commercial and t.v. biz. About twelve or so years ago, Alan called me for a job building THE SET (or part of it anyway) for Robert Osborne, host of  Turner Classic Movies. They were beginning to shoot his intros and outros in New York so Robert wouldn't have to travel so much. Knowing that I was a huge film buff, Alan thought I was just the guy for the job. I was. Off and on over the ensuing years Alan, my brother Rich Chizmadia and our friend Josh Kass were the New York Art Crew: The red-headed step-children of TCM. A job we all loved. Robert Osborne was such a class act. I was often on set when they were shooting and it was always a master class watching him work. The man had such grace, wit and style. I was always amazed at how the guest hosts, all highly accomplished film, t.v. and arts people, would be in as much awe of Robert as I was. I always wanted to write him a tribute song and over the years made some feeble attempts. As Robert became ill over the last few years I really worked at it, hoping I could give a finished song to him just to let him know how much of an honor it was to be a small part of what he did. Unfortunately, his passing this past spring was the catalyst for getting it finished. It's called "Goodbye, Movie Man". I sent it down to the folks in Atlanta at TCM and they liked it enough to use it along with a slide show for an in-house tribute. I hoped they might use it on air or at the TCM film festival. It wasn't meant to be. I'm putting it up here because I think for a fan of Robert Osborne (Like me) it really says something. Hope you think so too. Share it.


  A few years ago, in flash of inspiration, I began a song as a tribute to one of my heroes, Pete Seeger: "Song For Pete". A title,  a verse and a chorus came quickly and then...nothing. I wrestled with that tune for probably a year and a half before finally muscling my way through and finishing it. I hit a wall with this song for one reason, I didn't think I could do the man justice  I wanted to write a love letter to Pete for all the years of joy and inspiration I'd had listening to him play and learning from his example. I realized after a while that nothing I could write could ever truly do him justice, so I just plowed through and put it out there. I had a dream of singing it to him at Clearwater, like I saw Steve Earle do a few years back with his Pete tribute "One Of These Days I'm Gonna Lay This Hammer Down", unfortunately I didn't get that opportunity. I don't have many real regrets in my life but that will always be one. Ironically, just a couple of weeks before Pete passed I was one of three winners of the South Florida Folk Festival songwriting competition with "Song For Pete". 
   Pete was a giant, there will never be another like him. He was a perfect storm of integrity, social consciousness, justice, peace, musicianship and generosity of spirit. Along with his wife of nearly seventy years, Toshi, he created a legacy that stands as a challenge for all of us to continue. I heard someone say on the radio this week that Pete was a Johnny Appleseed of song and that's true, but he was also a Johnny Appleseed of ideas, ideas that may not immediately translate to the bottom line, but ultimately lead to a world of the only riches that matter: peace, justice and love.
    I live not far from Beacon where Pete lived and it was always comforting to know in the back of my head that Pete was just up the road. I wish I could say I knew him, but I only met him once at a Tribes Hill concert in 2005. He was amazing that day, performing with the energy of a man half his age. I'll always be grateful for the chance I had to sing back-up for Pete along with Fred Gillen,jr and Anthony DaCosta on that beautiful June Day. It will take a very long time for me to wrap my head around the fact that Pete's no longer with us. Although I'm old enough to know better I thought Pete would live forever. 
    If the world is lucky, his memory and songs will.
That's a song for Pete.

Happy New Year  

    Hey everybody. Finally a working web-page. Apologies to any and all intrepid souls who've tried to follow me in 2013. For someone as easily frustrated by technology as me, It's been a nightmare trying to figure out my whole web presence. Add to that the arrival of our sons Andy and Jake in September and the attendant life adjustments that's entailed and it's been a kind of perfect storm. But, the storm has passed and here we are...

    I just got back from The South Florida Folk Festival in Ft. Lauderdale, where I was one of three winners of their songwriting competition. The competition was stiff, I have to say. It could have gone any number of ways. I was fortunate enough to get the nod this time and am extremely grateful for the honor.  This year was the re-emergence of this fest. They lost a few years due to hurricanes, but they're back and hopefully will continue to grow. Word has it I'll be invited back to play next year. I look forward to that very much. Made some great new friends and connected with some old ones in Florida. 

    I'm booking shows for 2014. Looking forward to doing some house concerts. Really enjoy the intimacy and the chance to connect to people so personally. Would love to find myself on a festival bill or two as well. One can hope.
  Thanks to one and all who have supported me so far in this journey. New songs are coming. I hope to have enough for another disc by summer. Paying for it is another story. I'm not afraid to say I accept any and all help. I will most likely do a kickstarter campaign at some point. Thanks in advance.

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