Unknown Legend

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Band Website: https://www.wendydarlingandthelostboy.org/

By Peter Banker

This song, Unknown Legend, written by Neil Young, was recommended by my brother Philip awhile ago and it’s only right that it came from a sibling of mine because my brothers and sister, their spouses, are the unknown legends in my life;  we are apart, but they are with me every day and I call upon them in my mind when I am looking for reserve strength.  They are legendary in that they’ve made me desire to always move to higher ground, to be at my best.

We all came together for a portion of the summer in helping our brother Patrick back to his feet, back to living, as he has been ill for the last few years.  The time had come for action and we all showed up, we all played our part, we all gave Patrick another start, a chance to reclaim his life, and it was because of the deep love we share, the blood we keep, the unspoken promises to be each other’s rock through this life.  These weeks were some of the most profound in my existence and testament to the power of family.

My brother Patrick, you should know, is also an unknown legend and has turned it around.  I’m not sure where he found the strength….perhaps it was religion, the memory of my mother, his awakening to all that he stood to lose or a combination of each in addition to the extraordinary love and support he received from all of us— but he’s back and everyday I am thankful for it, thankful for him certainly, and also thankful for the unrecognized people in life, the unknown legends, who lift and carry us when we need them the most.

Write a Letter Home

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By Wendy Saydah

Band Website: https://www.wendydarlingandthelostboy.org/

The holidays are approaching and I am struggling with ways to celebrate, given the current pandemic conditions. I will miss the easy social interactions, the extensive hugs, the numerous toasts, the indulgent feasts, and the ongoing conversation with family and friends I don’t see that often. Connecting with others is a big part of the festivities and this year it will be greatly reduced if not non-existent. 

I chose the song Write a Letter Home by Jackie Greene for this week’s blog because it speaks to the current climate and the way I am feeling at times. “The TV says nothin’, nothin’ to me, and I feel so low in the highest degree.”

It also reminds me how much comfort I find in writing. Jotting my sentiments down on paper has always been a preferred way for me to connect with others.  When Jackie sings, “There’s no use for me to sit here and moan. Many a man has been more alone. I might feel better if I write a letter, if I write a letter home,” it urges me to pull out some paper and send a letter to everyone I will miss this year. Maybe you will try it too.

Best wishes for a peaceful and safe Thanksgiving holiday.

On the Coastline

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by Peter Banker

Band Website: https://www.wendydarlingandthelostboy.org/

The song Coastline came to Wendy by way of….I can’t even tell you, though she’d say that the Universe brought it our way, so I am learning to embrace that idea…slowly.   We spent a lot of time on the Northeast Coastline this summer/fall meandering from town to town, beach to beach, bar to bar–enjoying each other’s company, our many blessings, the sun, the tides and the infinity of the ocean.  And then this song just came into the house.  It’s a lovely tune, I must say, written and performed by a band called the Hollow Coves and covered on a late Saturday night by Peter and Wendy.   

I’m not sure where our musical journey will end up, but when I play with Wendy, as the song says so well, I “lose all sense of time” and know that “this life will keep us young.”  That I know.  In a culture where we overvalue time, where we keep such precise track of it,  try to rush it, want it to go by, want it to stop, I find that when I play music with Wendy the aspect of time disappears into intervals of verses, choruses and chords, melodies and harmonies.  I am not young, nor am I old; I am simply a man trying very hard to eke out the best music I can in this moment and I am where I should be.

Flowers – revisited

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by Wendy Saydah

My father died in 1966, the year that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made his first public speech on the Vietnam War ushering in an era of protests. The year that Cleveland, Ohio saw its first race riot. Actor Ronald Reagan was elected Gov. of California. John Lennon claimed the Beatles had become more popular than Jesus. Gemini 9 completed the second U.S. spacewalk, and Bobbi Gibb was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon.  

I was two years old.

The unrest and change that categorized this era has found its way back to the forefront of my mind recently as unsettling world events resurface. My memories are deep and vague, flashes of experience too difficult to grasp in any significant way.

I wrote Flowers in 2006 as a tribute to my father who passed before I had a chance to know him. It speaks to the desire for connection and the difficulty of holding onto memories over time. I often wonder what our relationship would have been like had he lived and how the void has shaped my path.

This version was recorded in 2015 for the NPR Tiny Desk Competition with Andy Bollman (on bass) in the halls of Weston High School (MA) where Peter is a teacher.

Flowers, Weston High School, 2015

Band Website: https://www.wendydarlingandthelostboy.org/

The Writing of Ghosts

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by Peter Banker

band website: https://www.wendydarlingandthelostboy.org/

I wrote Ghosts awhile back and it has been sitting there waiting for the right time to share and it is now.  Initially, it was a tune about the past, the things that haunt, will never go away, the ideas and ruminations that invade your mind, latch on, keep you up at night, weigh on you, slow you down, impede a courageous life.  These are ghosts that haunt us all, are part of the fabric of our lives and thereby can be and must be turned into positive.  These are the ghosts that, if tamed, can bring us forward; they are lessons learned, the scars that post in our souls and we are made stronger by them if we choose.  When I wrote this song, the ghosts had me by the neck, but a lot has changed since then.

 My mother always encouraged us to listen to the damaged ones, those who, as she would say, “have been through it,” as she had been.  They are emissaries, material ghosts, haunted themselves. She said. “Listen to them.”  My mother believed in the ghosts, claimed to have cavorted with them, claimed to have asked for them to leave her, claimed that they did.  She knew who they were, knew where they were and learned to hold them at bay.  

They’re around.  What are you going to do about it? 

Get Out

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One of the most fun aspects of playing with a working band is getting out and exploring new places. Over the past two years since we formed Wendy Darling and the Lost Boy, Peter and I have been fortunate enough to play at many interesting locations and events in and around Boston including Harvard’s 4th of July Fireworks, the Farmer’s Market and Volksfest (both of Harvard), Fotini’s Restaurant of Bolton, the Middle East Cafe and the Rising of Cambridge, the Battle Road Brewing Company in Maynard, and Markoh’s on Main in Ayer.

Recently, we have added a few more to the roster and it seemed like a good time to tell a little more about the venues and what they have to offer.

Markoh’s on Main – Ayer, MA

http://www.markohsonmain.com/

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We have been playing at Markoh’s pretty regularly over the past year or so and love the place for a number of reasons. As soon as you walk in, you get the feeling of “old school.” There is no barrage of TVs staring you in the face and the intimate setting allows for down home friendly service and conversation. It is set in a charming old building in downtown Ayer and has a distinct local flair (no big chain feeling here). The owner and head Chef, Mark DiCicco, always delivers a selection of fresh creative cuisine and they offer a well rounded beer selection and great bar.

Next Wendy Darling and the Lost Boy Show:  Friday, June 23

Battle Road Brew House – Maynard, MA

http://www.battleroadbeer.com/

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If you like sipping on quality local beer while eating plates of beef brisket and BBQ ribs, you’ll love the Battle Road Brew House. Set in Maynard’s Historic Clock Tower Building and exuding a revolutionary vibe, Battle Road’s mission is to produce a variety of quality beers that are among the best available, and that is exactly what they are doing. We played here for the first time on March 25, 2017 and the restaurant/bar was full and alive with a vibrant energy. Maybe it was the beer, maybe the music, probably both :-).

Next Wendy Darling and the Lost Boy Show: Friday, September 15

The Colonial Inn – Concord, MA

http://www.concordscolonialinn.com/

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Located in the heart of Concord, the Colonial Inn has been around just about as long as the town itself. Certain parts of the building date back as early as 1716. It is a full service Inn with several guest rooms and three restaurants. The Liberty Room, where the bar is located and where the music happens, provides a charming intimate setting where patrons and musicians become one. This will be the first time we’ve played here and we are pumped. We will be sharing the night with Kenny Selcer, another fabulous local musician, who is worth the trip out. Visit his website for more info http://www.kennyselcer.com/.

Next Wendy Darling and the Lost Boy Show (with Kenny Selcer) – Friday, June 16

Rapscallions Table & Tap – Acton, MA

http://drinkrapscallion.com/

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Rapscallions defined is “a mischevious person,” and it is with this rebellious attitude that two brothers decided to open a local brewery in Sturbridge, MA with the intention of staying small, local, and of the highest quality. Once their beer was perfected, they felt it was only natural to create a cool place to serve it up. The result, Rapscallions Table and Tap Restaurant, located on a neighborhood street in Acton. The restaurant is essentially an old house converted into a pub/restaurant with patio seating in the warmer months. The atmosphere is intimate and cavelike (low ceilings) and you get the distinct feeling that something unique and exciting is happening and you have fallen right into the middle of it. I was most impressed with their commitment to using locally sourced ingredients in both the menu items and the beer itself and to their support of local music. And, if you’re not a beer drinker, no worries. They also offer a full bar and signature cocktails as well.

Next Wendy Darling and the Lost Boy Show – Thursday, Sept. 7 (may be rescheduled, so check first)

 

The Heritage Inn and Restaurant – Sherborn, MA

http://www.heritageofsherborn.com/

The Heritage, consisting of an inn, restaurant, gastro pub, and wine store, features live music on Wednesday nights in their Fireside Lounge. With a full selection of wine, beer and cocktails, the restaurant also boasts a “seasonal menu inspired by farm fresh local ingredients.” Do I sense a trend? The August 30 show will be our first time here so we hope that many of you will make it out.

Next Wendy Darling and the Lost Boy Show – Wednesday, August 30

On Location

Wendy and I have decided to try out a new video blog, one that will allow for us to write a little about what we’re up to as a band, show some of what we’re working on musically and….as always, have fun in the doing.  That’s what it’s all about, we’re finding—writing, playing, and having some fun, and we thought we’d share some of it with you.

On Wednesday last, we went out to Fruitlands to make the first video.  Fruitlands is a bucolic setting, home to Utopian visions and transcendental thought in the mid 1800’s and now a national landmark; it’s also one of my favorite places in the area and those of you who know it would most likely agree.

Speaking of visions, we have many, but on that day, it was to shoot a video of a song we’d been working on called “Nothing to Lose,” by Matt Kearney.   We got to Fruitlands too late, though, and the vision was upended by the fact that we had to shoot it in 10 minutes; the gates were closing….

What you see here is the result.  It’s not successful at all, but this is one that captures a lot of what we do, and that’s practice our music…and try.   It’s the best, and it’s so much fun as you can see.

We wanted it to happen, we tried there, found some laughter, and then went to the road just outside the gates from which we were now banned.   That video is here as well.

We’ve worked hard for all that we’ve accomplished, but it’s been far short of any definition of work I’m used to as I’ve found in the effort of all of this a great deal of joy and that, along with our good music is what we want you to see and to experience.

You’ll see more videos, you’ll hear more stories, and our vision is to shoot once a week.  It’s not going to be perfect, but it’ll be fun….and we’ll be trying. 

That’s Utopian in my book.

Band Update

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Hey all.  A quick update on Wendy Darling and the Lost Boy, the New Year and all that lies ahead.

We just finished the video for the Tiny Desk Contest held by NPR.  It’s our third year of entry and we’re looking forward to the final product, which you’ll see soon.  We hired a company started by a former student of mine called Gimmick Studios and held the shoot in his studio which was a very cool structure—a former church renovated into living/working space.  We had an incredible experience in the making of it as we were treated professionally by four very young, but extremely competent artists who, having heard our song and what we wanted out of the shoot, made it come alive.

Here are some shots of us recording the video.

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This Friday we’re playing at a club in Cambridge called The Rising and, having scoped it out last weekend, we are thrilled at how warm and inviting a place it is to play.  We feel both fortunate to have gotten the job, and also very confident that we are perfect for the vibe of the place.  It is our hope that we can earn a few places there in Cambridge to play regularly and are working hard to make sure it happens.

What’s true is that it IS HAPPENING.  We’re playing in Cambridge at a very great club…can you believe it?

The Rising Bar, Inman Square, Cambridge

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We are entirely grateful to all of you who have shown your support by coming out because it makes us work harder and push our goals forward.   It matters a lot and while we know that you enjoy the music and that The Rising is a great venue, that you’ll have a great time, we also know that it’s late and a significant drive.  We know it and cannot thank you enough.

Do come out.  You’ll like the place.  We go on at The Rising in Inman Square  a little after 10 and are playing until 1:30.  Can you believe that?  It’s like the real deal.

Hope to see you there.

Next Stop…..Markoh’s by Peter Banker

The other night, we had the pleasure of playing at my son’s graduation party. It was a three family affair and the place was alive with the energy of both the myriad young people in attendance and their parents. I took the chance to talk to a number of my son’s friends and they expressed both delight at having finished high school and a certain trepidation about what was now before them. They were not unlike their parents, many of whom will be saying goodbye to their last child as they go off to college and a new kind of living reality which, for now, is a little unclear.

A lot of people there leaving behind something and taking on new direction. It’s a thrill, but it’s also a terror. There was a dynamic I noticed in these conversations that led me to believe even more that being timid stints growth, that if you’re stuck in the past, those fears, and those obstructions, you can only become a part of what is intended for you. You compromise your greater self.

It’s a feeling that I am coming to grips with in this musical journey. The timidity—it comes and goes; I hear an amazing musician and think to myself that I am kidding myself in trying to chart this path. What am I doing spending all this time? And then, on an evening when Wendy and I are clicking on every tune and I see heads nodding in appreciation for our work, I wonder the opposite. What took me so long to garner the courage? How can I find more time in working with Wendy in arranging these tunes so that they can accentuate the best that both of us have to offer? There’s never enough time.

We got a great boost when we played an open mic at Markoh’s a few weeks ago and they hired us on the spot to play on Friday the 24th of June. Do consider coming out for that; it’s an incredible feeling for us when we see our friends walk in, give us a nod and settle in for a couple of beers.

And we have a few more performances lined up as well. There is Markoh’s, of course, but we are also playing on July 1st at Fruitlands in Harvard as part of the July 4th celebration, and the Bravehearts 4th Annual Dylan Connelly Memorial Ride on July 9, also at Fruitlands.

We’re going to make the most of these chances and are excited for the work ahead in preparing to do our best for those and all that await us. No fear about it, just hard work and some diligence in getting an audience. It’ll pay off. Never fails.

Wendy Darling and the Lost Boy (with Matty and CJ) at Matty’s Grad Party….

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Emerging Artist Series – Night One

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By Peter Banker

Well, it’s on. We have our Emerging Artists and are set for this Saturday, April 30 at 7:00 Upstairs at the Harvard General Store.

And as the days have passed and in the planning Wendy and I have done, our eyes are becoming wide open to the possibilities that this venue, this event and those beyond it have as a potential for artists, like ourselves to have our work heard and appreciated. In our quest to expand our horizons, we have targeted other larger venues and have found it not entirely easy to break in. It’s not impossible if you have a good product, but we have come to know that it’s going to take some time, patience and dedicated work for our vision to become reality, which it will. This event, we hope, will open some eyes to our work and also the work of two additional local artists, both of whom are very accomplished and further ahead of us in their musical journey.

One is Aidan O’Brien, a young man who I met many, many years ago at an outdoor music festival in Trumansburg, NY called Grass Roots. He was…about 7 and was in the camping area playing a guitar that looked enormous in his little hands, but there he was…for three consecutive days, playing that thing and hugging it like it was his best friend. And, damn it, he was good. Even then. Now, of course, he’s really good, has been in several successful bands and has an entire trove of songs he’s written and covered. Just wait. He’s the real deal. That guitar has never left his side and has proven to be faithful friend.

The other is Mike Kelly. Wendy and I met him at Slater’s Pizzeria and he runs an open mic there on Thursdays, one in which we played early when Wendy Darling and the Lost Boy were just getting started and he was encouraging from the start. A couple of weeks ago when we asked him to play at the Emerging Artist Series, he was on board immediately, telling us that it was a great idea, that he’d be glad to be a part of it. What Wendy and I didn’t quite know then was how accomplished he is. Like Aidan, he’s had an instrument in his hand from the beginning and has, over the course of his young life played with James Montgomery, James Cotton, Johnny A., J. Geils, David, Maxwell, GE Smith, Paula Cole, Trombone Shorty, Joan Osborne, Simon Kirk, Barry Goudreau, The Uptown Horns, and others. He is an excellent song writer and musician in his own right and you’ll love him. (website: www.thebrotherstereo.com).

What are these two doing at the Harvard General Store? Just sharing their music. They, like Wendy and I, just want to play. It’s such a blast, you should know, and it will be a pleasure to play alongside these two for all of you.

Do show up on time and bring as many people with you as possible. We’re trying to fill the place and to fit in as much music as we can. More importantly, Wendy Darling and the Lost Boy are on first; you do not want to miss that…. No way. We are emerging, baby, and want to share our love of what we do with all of you on that night and, hopefully many others.(website: bankeP.wix.com/wendydarling).

See you there.

If you want a sneak preview of what you will see Saturday, check out the video links below.

Mike Kelly…..

 

Aidan O’Brien…

 

Wendy Darling and the Lost Boy…