Last Wednesday, I played at the Zeppelin Cafe. Tim Krekel started a weekly Wednesday gig there several months ago, just before being diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. Since then, friends and family have filled in for him, keeping the music going throughout his treatments.
We all thought he was kicking cancer's ass, until last week when he took a drastic turn for the worse -- shocking because I'd just been at his wedding three days previously. I cried a lot before and after playing his gig last Wednesday, when I was told hospice had been called.
Also, just before I started singing that night, I bought a plane ticket to someplace absurd* (and left the next afternoon) because I had one of those Enjoy-Yourself-It's-Later-Than-You-Think Moments. Actually, I have those moments pretty much every day, and it's probably why my friends think I'm crazy. It's also why I've had so many adventures.
Tim died yesterday afternoon, and news spread quickly through the town. It seems like everyone's Facebook status yesterday was dedicated to Tim.
I went to Waterfront Wednesday last night with my friend Charles because it seemed like the best place to grieve -- surrounded by music lovers and an outdoor concert and lots of friends. On the way there, Charles was playing a mass Tim Krekel compilation on random in his car. Every single song that played in the car was just so good. How can one songwriter from Louisville have written so many brilliant songs? They are real, uplifting, and they always make me smile. They also make me want to dance.
And dance we all did, later that night at the Wednesday Night Zeppelin gig. I barely made it through a rendition of Tim's "Blues as Blues Can Get," but the smiles, hugs, and memories made the night a beautiful celebration of his life and music.
The evening also made me think deeply about the place of music in our lives. I forget that you don't have to be a musician to appreciate its powers. A Tim Krekel fan came up to me last night and said she'd been sad and crying all afternoon. She told me she'd been listening to WFPK, when one of my songs came on -- a lighthearted, funny tune "Future Mr. Used-to-Be" -- and made her laugh and smile for the first time since she'd heard the news. And she thanked me for that. And I hugged her, thanking her for the reminder that that is why I do what I do. It amazes me that a song I recorded four years ago could bring a smile to anyone on such a dark day. It also gives me reason to keep writing, playing, traveling, singing, and smiling.
Thanks to WFPK for recognizing Louisville's great loss, and for dedicating today to Tim's music and stories of his career.
There's a blog on WFPK for people to share stories, as well as a nice obituary in the Courier-Journal. Apparently, I gave some quotes to the writer, but I was so out-of-it yesterday, I barely remember the converstaion.
* I promise to tell you next week, after certain people have received their postcards.