Around this time every year, I still find it challenging to decide how much to share about the year that has just passed so quickly. I do not want to come off as long-winded, yet I like to share as much as possible; well, providing my news is worth sharing. Ok, I am already ascertaining that I am writing unnecessary words, so I will get to it.
First things first - Happy New Year to everyone. For those who are alive to read this, God bless you, and congratulations - we made it, and many did not, so please take time every day to express gratitude and thanks for just being alive. While I am giving thanks for life, I want to thank my creator from my hands and knees for the blessing of still having my mother and father alive to share this past year and Holiday season. We have had two extraordinarily long years of caretaking and moving back and forth, which has taken most of our time, patience, energy, and resources. But when all is said and done, and we are together at Christmas, regardless of what walls surround us, we are deeply grateful to have the opportunity to care for our parents.
On a more positive note, many good things happened in 2022. My year started in January as it has for the past eight years by hitting the road with MANIA - The ABBA Tribute Show. I cannot believe eight years have passed since I first put on my platform boots and satin pants. We toured North America from January 26 to March 14. It was very successful, and I made many more happy memories to cherish as the years pass. If you want pictures and videos from my MANIA tours, check out my Instagram and TikTok accounts. You can find the links under the Social Media Page here at JeffPike.com. You can also find detailed and personal tour blogs filled with pictures and videos under the Ramblings From Jeff page at JeffPike.com. Enjoy.
Keeping in the spirit of routine, as it has for the past 30 years, when springtime arrives, it is time to don my flip-flops and get ready for spring and summer of fun with A1A. I never cease to pinch myself onstage and revel in gratitude for all the incredible musicians who comprise A1A. I am incredibly blessed to have some of the best musicians in the country in my band, and I am very proud. We had a great season this year and once again had more fun than one should be allowed to get paid for. I will repeat it - I am very lucky. It is a bit too cold to be out by the pool now, but stay calm, A1A fans and Parrot Heads, springtime will be here before you know it, and we will be back out playing live again.
One of the highlights I had this year was returning to perform at Sharky's in Panama City Beach, Florida, for the annual Parrot Head Rendezvous Trop Rock Music Festival. My good friend and ace harmonica player, Dave Matchette performed with me. Jeff Pike folklore still floats around the panhandle for all the years I spent performing at Sharky's back in the 1990s. I have not performed there since 1997, and it was surreal and joyous to return. Everything felt full circle, and I am excited to say I will be returning in April of 2023.
In other long-awaited news, I will finally release my new album, which I did with Gino Vannelli, 'Right Where I Am,' later this year in 2023. (www.ginov.com) We have been working this past year with Ross Vannelli on music videos to promote the album. (www.rossvannelli.com) Presently we have completed four videos, with more on the way. We are thrilled that 2023 will see the release of what I feel is the best music I have ever recorded. It is beyond a lifelong dream come true, and I am anxious for the world to hear this astonishing record. It is a departure from what most people have listened to me perform, but I am confident that, like it or not, you will be very impressed. This is going to be spectacular so stay tuned.
In another beautiful coincidence, while out in L.A. working with Ross Vannelli on videos for 'Right Where I Am,' Ross quickly came to know Kathy Mullen and all about her non-profit, Mullen's Miracles, with which I am also involved. Being very sympathetic to the ever-growing problem of mental health and suicide, Ross wanted to become involved and help as much as possible. As of this writing, we have completed two original songs and videos for Mullen's Miracles. I perform the vocals and acoustic guitar, and guitarist Chris Blackwell plays the electric guitar. Ross Vannelli performs, produces, and engineers the rest. All of the songs were recorded at his studio in L. A. Our goal is to eventually have an album of at least ten songs with accompanying videos for a potential band or me to perform at speaking engagements and benefit fundraisers, at which Kathy Mullen and other guests will be speaking. We head back to L.A. on January 8 for two weeks to work on more new songs and videos. We have a lot of great things in store, so stay tuned, and if you want to volunteer and get involved with us, visit our website at www.mullensmiracles.org. We are always looking for passionate volunteers.
On December 18, we had an invitation-only fundraiser for an early preview of our first official and, for now, private music video, 'I Keep The Light On,.' We also auctioned off a guitar signed by Ross Vannelli, Chris Blackwell, Kathy Mullen, and me, and those who made donations were given a private link where they could download their video copy. The event was beautiful and successful and was the perfect way to take out 2022. I will write more about that and share more pictures in an upcoming blog later this week, for we have big plans for 2023.
Amidst all the work this year, we did get out and see some live concerts, something I have loved since I attended my first concert in 1972. (FYI - My first concert was David Cassidy in Atlanta, Georgia. My second was The Carpenters later that same year.) Due to not being able to see many live shows over the past couple of years, I made up for it a little this year. Bob Dylan, Elton John, The Atlanta Rhythm Section, Daryl Hall, Todd Rundgren, Chicago, Brian Wilson, Rod Stewart, Cheap Trick, Ringo Starr, Alice Cooper, Larry Carlton, John Waite, Mannheim Steamroller, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Ticket To The Moon and Meet Loaf all had the pleasure of having me in attendance at their performances in 2022. :-)
Time is marching on, and I have seen quite a bit of it go by. I have been blessed in many ways and experienced many beautiful and magical events in my life. However, if I combined all of them, their beauty and emotional impact on me would not come close to how I felt this past year on October 14, 2022, when my daughter, Ashton, got married to Blake Schuck. It was a perfect day, and dancing with my daughter at her wedding was by far the most emotionally satisfying and joyful 3 minutes of my life. I mean that with all sincerity. The years passed quickly, and this memorable day arrived much sooner than I had expected, but it was a journey well worth taking. I don't anticipate that anything else I experience here on earth will top it. Thank you to the great spirit and Ashton for giving me the gift of a lifetime of being her father.
MANIA - The ABBA Tribute hit the road once more in October for a month. For me, it was a perfect tour. It started for me at The Peoria Civic Center in Peoria, Illinois, where the spirit of Dan Fogelberg accompanied me. It ended in Atlanta, Georgia, surrounded by countless friends and family. In case you missed it a few paragraphs up, if you want pictures and videos from my MANIA tours, check out my Instagram and TikTok accounts. You can find the links under the Social Media Page here at JeffPike.com. You can also find detailed and personal tour blogs filled with pictures and videos under the Ramblings From Jeff page at JeffPike.com.
I sit here astonished at how this past year and ten years have so quickly flown. I tell you honestly that I have never felt the quickness of time and the brevity of life quietly intrude into my soul as much as I have this past year. To quote a classic song by The Allman Brothers, 'I ain't wastin' time no more. Cause time goes by like hurricanes and faster things.'
I have a lot yet to do. I have much to think about, amends to make, dreams to dream, and new music to write and record. For more detailed updates, check out current 2023 projects at JeffPike.com. I come from a family of procrastinators, and after spending years thinking about it, I believe this dreadful disease may be embedded in DNA passed on from generation to generation. But then again, it might result from too much time spent at the bar and onstage in the past. Or if you believe the immortal words of Jimmy Buffett, there might be a woman to blame. Hmm...now that I seriously sit here and think about it, in my case, I believe it is a hybrid of all three. At any rate, it is time to leave past times behind and get on and dig in with what life I have left to live and what I still have to offer the world.
Assuming you have read this far and are interested in my music, here is your call to action. If you still need to get on it, please sign up for my mailing list by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. As for Social Media, please "like" and, most importantly, "follow" my Facebook pages so you will not miss any important updates. I am also on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, etc., and all of the necessary evil social media. You can find links to all these under the Social Media Page at JeffPike.com. I look forward to seeing you there.
I wish you happiness, good health, love, and a spirit filled with compassion, empathy, and beautiful music.
Happy New Year,
January 1, 2023
"Ramblings From Jeff" - is a dedicated personal blog page within JeffPike.com written and posted by Jeff Pike.