I met Doug Allen when he opened for the Bacon Brothers at an outdoor show in Stamford, CT this summer. Being the opening act is a tough and often thankless task. Not everyone is suited to the job. Doug had the personality, the songs, the chops and the band to power through. I congratulated him as he came off stage. Unlike many openers he hung out for our set and even sat through the rainstorm that nearly washed us out. At the end of the night we met again near the merch table where I learned that he was moving to Nashville the following week. Cool! Our tour would be coming through Nashville later in the summer. We exchanged cards and CD’s and promised to stay in touch.
Sure enough, I got a call from Doug the day I arrived. “Hey man you wanna play on a session?” Me: “Sure” The only problem was that my gear was not arriving to town until after the session! I needed to find a bass and fast. As it turned out the guest house where I was staying was owned by a musician. Well, this being Nashville… what were the chances? Hah! The owner Bryan Cumming is a member of Nashville’s premier Beatles tribute band The Wanna Beatles. Bryan has a studio in the basement. On the wall was a newly refurbished 1959 Fender Precision Bass. I hit pay dirt! He was gracious enough to lend it to me. I promised not to leave town with it and to guard it with my life.
Doug had written a very special song with his buddy PJ Pacifico in honor of Jessie Lewis and the Choose Love Foundation. Jessie was one of the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Doug and PJ’s words shaped The Choose Love Foundation mission into a song. Read about the foundation here: http://www.jesselewischooselove.org/
I was also told that an amazing organization called Where Angels Play was building and has since completed 26 playgrounds in the state of Connecticut. One for each soul lost that day. Read about it here: http://whereangelsplayfoundation.org/our-story/
When I heard the back story of the song at the session I was moved and honored to play a very small part in this project. Sometimes you think there is nothing you can do to make the world a little better. Nothing you can do to help. But look around. Look past the nonsense in the headlines and you’ll find people like Scarlett Lewis of The Choose Love Foundation or Bill Lavin of Where Angels Play or Doug and PJ who apply their art and craft with love and care to a cause. It’s the golden rule.
What can you do? Go to iTunes and spend a buck to buy this song. https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/choose-love-feat.-scarlett/id932050942
And more than anything else, listen to the words and take them to heart. Here’s the lyrics video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kq6O4D16VO4
It all adds up. If each of us do something good then a million little things can make a big difference.