Posts Tagged ‘performance’

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Big Words Video 24.1: ‘Me & Julio’ & 24.2: ‘Wandering/High Time Again’

April 13, 2016

Musician Gregg Sansone threw me a curveball in the studio when it came time to record the #BigWordsVideo bonus clips after the episode: He brought his Breedlove guitar.  While I know and love the man for his piano-playing, he’s also an incredible guitarist.  So Gregg pulled up a stool, plugged in and performed Paul Simon’s classic hit ‘Me & Julio (Down By The Schoolyard’ for the first clip and a double header of the James Taylor/Charles Grean song ‘Wandering’ and Gregg’s very own country composition ‘High Time Again’.  Feast your eyes and ears right here:

Now I’m not sure if I’ve said this before, but LIKE & SUBSCRIBE for additional episodes, bonus clips and updates!  We’ll see you all in a month!

Tom

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The Ballad Of Gregg Sansone (Uncut)

March 28, 2016

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Author’s Note: This interview has been on a wild ride in the last ten years.  A shorter edit originally appeared in Buffalo Spree magazine, the longer format ran on Acid Logic and the version you’re about to read finally found its way into my fourth book If They Can’t Take A Joke (Authorhouse, 2007).  Gregg’s been a dear friend of mine for more than 15 years and with his 55th birthday approaching, I thought I’d revisit this interview.  

If you’ve participated in (or just enjoyed) the Buffalo music scene for the last six years, Gregg Sansone is a pervasive, melodic, keyboard-driven entity. The two-time Buffalo Music Award Winning Solo Artist Of The Year plays out at clubs, bars and other venues over 300 nights a year (when he’s in peak physical condition), and his cover shows run the gamut of Steve Winwood to Elton John to Stevie Wonder. Dabbling in rock, jazz, blues and classical standards, Sansone has become a local icon and a national underground phenomenon. I saw Gregg play (or channel, to be more accurate) Elton John covers at Route 66 in downtown Buffalo four years ago, and I’ve been a Sansonite ever since. His two and three hour shows are lousy with fans, electric in their intensity and craftsmanship, and brilliant to witness. I had the opportunity to sit down with Greg at my apartment in Lancaster while he was recovering from major back surgery (he had a disc removed).

TW: You haven’t had a drink since you were 15. Why is that, and do you find it surreal to play out at clubs and bars for the majority of the year in the company of people who are soused out of their minds?

GS: No. Alcoholism runs in my family. I’ve got a huge family. Eight boys and one girl. Some people put down meat and become vegetarians. I had the hindsight as a fifteen year old to say ‘You know, I’m addictive as hell. I have a real addictive personality. I’m just not going to do this. Otherwise, I think it could be a problem, and it just stuck through college and everything else. Like anything, I stuck with it and it developed and it’s been years and years. I have a blast (at the shows). People come up to me and say ‘Man, you were hammered because you were dancing on the bars!’ and I say, ‘No, but awesome, thanks man.’

TW: How does your strongly held belief in Buddhism inform your singing and songwriting?

GS: Songwriting and instrumental writing are different. They’re along a spiritual line, but my performances are an extension of what I believe in anyway about myself. Buddhism isn’t a religion as much as it is a philosophy. They didn’t invent being honest and they didn’t invent being good people, they just do it well. So you can apply it to any faith that you have and for me, it just helps me to not want to kill everybody. Or when someone is drunk and they fall into my keyboards and everything, now I don’t want to drag them into the parking lot. Before (Buddhism) I did.

TW: Do you think the era of disposable pop/porn performers like Britney Spears and Ricky Martin is nearing its end, or is it more of a popular music cycle?

GS: I think human nature is human nature, and within music, I’m no expert on anything. I’m just an Italian from Buffalo. Before them when Madonna got really popular, they produced people like Jody Watley, and-

TW: Rick Astley.

GS: People like that, that’s exactly right, but specifically female singers to sound like her (Madonna). Tiffany, Debbie Gibson, so it does go in cycles. I think the American people, we’re a disposable society. There’s a huge portion of the population that buys into that, and they just go into whatever’s popular. But there’s this undercurrent of people like us that-

TW: Observe?

GS: Observe and evaluate and say, ‘This is good, this doesn’t work for me, that’s kinda bullshit. I know that you love Elton John for instance, as do I. People like Elton John, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney and even Madonna, and I’m not a Madonna fan, but she’s stood the test of time. They’re not a flash in the pan, and for good reason. If we didn’t have those people, it would be a sad, sad world with the boy bands, although Justin Timberlake has broken from that and has really made a name for himself. I mean, I don’t think he’s going anywhere.

TW: And Mark Wahlberg-

GS: Mark Wahlberg is kinda cool in the movies, though! When he was Marky Mark it was a different story.

TW: Your best one night stand story after a show:

GS: Um, my best one night stand story after a show-because I have one night stand stories during a show.

TW: That sounds like the better story.

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Big Words Video 23.5: ‘Irish Spring’ & 23.6: ‘Shitty Girl’

March 16, 2016

I’m starting to think it’s a better idea to send someone out into the field to get these Big Words Video Bonus clips.

I don’t enjoy being out in front of a crowd scene anymore.  There was a time where my ego insisted on it, but these days I’d rather hang out in the background and let the star be the star of the show.  Harvesting these clips with a consumer camera demands that the ‘director’ get right up on top of the action.  Music production man Roger Pleasant of Uprise Studios went on location to Magruder’s in Lancaster for Green Gorilla Comedy’s ‘Irish Spring’ showcase a few weeks ago and came back with two really solid clips from standup comic Allie Brady’s act.  See for yourself:

Using the same Sony PJ340 I’ve been using, Pleasant got a great angle, sound and lighting in HD.  Allie’s comedy speaks for itself.  Putting someone else at the helm of the camera does too.  If you like what you see, SUBSCRIBE!  We’ll be back at it next month with longtime pal and journeyman pianist/performer Gregg Sansone.

See you then,

Tom

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Big Words Video 22.5: ‘Medley’

February 24, 2016

Producer Richard Wicka got such a good sound from Tom Sartori’s clips over the summer that we decided to utilize the same set-up for John Valby by wiring him to the Home Of The Future.  John (who brought a satchel overflowing with lyric notebooks, stray notes and even lyrics written on the back of crossword puzzles) treated us to a medley of some of his classic favorites with updated verses as well as some material from his newest album Keep Calm And Valby On.  See for yourself right here:

Thanks are in order to Richard for his enduring patience and Valby for indulging us.  If you like what you see and you’d like notifications for new bonus clips as well as the history show…PLEASE SUBSCRIBE!  #BigWordsVideo will return in March with award-winning comedienne Allie Brady!

New rant next week!

Tom

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Big Words Video 15.1-15.5: The Pipitone Sessions!

November 6, 2015

I had the good fortune (and foresight) last month to take a road trip with co-host Brian Platter to see The Alison Pipitone Band perform at Mulconry’s Irish Pub in Fairport, NY.  The video clips resulting from that show were really great audio-wise (I’m tinkering, and will most likely continue to tinker with the video), and there were a lot of them.  Brian Platter even filled in between sets with a cover (‘No Diggity’ by Blackstreet, which NO ONE could have predicted) as well as an original from his newest album in production.  So long story short, you have a super-sized cavalcade of Big Words Video Bonus clips to watch and choose from this month.  I will also say (hint, hint) that there has NEVER been a better time to SUBSCRIBE FREE to the Big Words I Know By Heart Channel on YouTube.  Being a member has special and secret-handshake like advantages.  Here are the FIRST 5 (hint, hint) clips:

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Big Words Video Bonus 12.5: ‘Resonance’ and 12.6: ‘Harmonious

July 24, 2015

We were very fortunate to have producer Richard Wicka’s sound board to plug into for these bonus clips.  The sound that resulted from these sessions is far better than what I could have pulled off with my Sony PJ340.  Sartori’s rendition of Joshua Kadison’s ‘Jessie’ as well as his performance of his own composition ‘This Dream Is On Me’ (previously unreleased!) wer a one-two punch that will give me chills for the foreseeable future.  It was a great way to close out Season One of #BigWordsVideo.  There’s a lot in store for next year, so stay tuned and if you want to receive regular updates when new shows and Bonus clips hit the official Big Words I Know By Heart Channel, then for godsakes SUBSCRIBE for free right now!  I’ll see you all in about a week right here for a brand spanking new essay!

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