I and my wife Megan will be in Chicago on the weekend of July 13-15th for a Friday show at Gallery Cabaret (to cover our expenses and play a favorite venue), followed by a show at Morseland in Rogers Park for a Memorial Concert for Matthew "Matteo" Steinmetz.
In December of 2011, I received a phone call from my friend and brother in music of 20 years, groomsman at my wedding to Megan, and the man that taught me much of what I know about the blues, the biz and live performance. I had last seen him on a trip back to Chicago for my Mom's memorial in October when we and our wives sat together on his front stoop and talked. He was finishing his last round of chemo for his second fight with cancer and was confident it was working. Then one day in December, I received this message on my phone:
"Hey Felipe, it's Matteo. I dunno, get in touch with me if you can. Make a long story short, I'm in hospice as you know. Time's running really short. Really short, man. So short, I don't think you'll be able to make it down here in time. I love you my brother, I don't know how to say goodbye, but I guess I have to. Um, I just dunno what the fuck to say, but try and get in touch with me if you can and we'll rap a bit. I love you Felipe."
I went outside the school where I teach private lessons here in Eau Claire, lit a smoke, and called him back. We did get to talk for a good amount of time. I promised him we'd look after his wife and honor his music. He said, "You know I'm glad my brother that you don't sound sad, you're being upbeat. You have to know I'm at peace with my God and I'll look in on you on occasion. You'll hear a little harp (harmonica) in the wind, it'll be me. You give Megan my love, will ya? She's a doll. You finally got it right."
When we were done talking and said the final goodbye, I hung up, leaned against the wall of the school and wept. As the song I wrote "Just The Blues Ma'am" says, I speak to him nightly and he speaks to me back. I have little conversations with him about life as if he's right next to me. For all I know he is. This man's legacy lives on through the myriad friends and family and fans, the other musicians he influenced, the remarkable work he did, and his general approach to life... live it, then be at peace.
This show will include a long line-up of Chicago musicians, myself included, who will memorialize this amazing man and his work, as well as raise money for his widow to give to cancer research.
Along with the cover charge, there will be tip jars for contributions, and raffles all evening with the final item being a guitar donated by a great admirer of our late friend and brother.
Additionally, anyone who can't make it to the event is welcome to hit the donate button here on my site and I will get it to Barb, his widow. He was a truly great man, taken too early. I even remember when he met his wife, and ooohhh, the blood curdling stories I could tell you from our years together!
On other quick news, I will be having hip surgery, either the week before this show or after back in Eau Claire at The Mayo Clinic... still waiting on the schedule. I don't wish this daily and constant pain on anyone, especially for a year, so I look forward to getting it over with. My hip socket and joint are bone on bone and I only take ibuprofen for it (and the occasional shot of whiskey). I'm going through all possible gov't agencies to help pay for the work and recovery time. Hell, I've paid taxes since I was 12, might be time to exploit what is my due, being uninsured and all. So, wish me luck on what I'm told is a routine surgery that will have me running and jumping again, even standing on stage for shows again... not that I ever run, but I sure miss my long walks!! When do ya think I write my songs?
Peace love and music
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