“At times, my fears quiet down and I’m filled with amazement, able to witness the love and grace that surrounds all of us. That’s all. That’s everything.” ~ Vicki Caroline Cheatwood
And this was my office today, taking a seat at the skins with this incredible group of players known as Four Leonards and a Fifth (not pictured is Melissa Snow Groves). I was beyond thrilled that they let me play with them (really, I wore them down), and I was able to finally meet Billy (in green) and wife Becky Rudd. I’d only seen Becky play with Andrew Perkins (guitar), David Hurst (long hair), and Melissa at the first Leonard Cohen Tribute show way back in 2017. I loved Billy and Becky the second they walked in; gifted players both. I can’t tell you how much fun I had today. We played for two hours and actually got through about six songs; from Stevie Wonder’s Superstition to Cheap Trick’s Surrender. Not bad for a first time. This is going to be a super fun band and I’m in love with it already. They’re challenging me in the best way and this Stella is ready to get her groove back. They win Saturday (although I’m the real winner here).
This little girl adores her daddy, David Hurst. And right she should; he’s one cool daddy-o.
I saw David Hurst Saturday. He showed me a recent vinyl discovery he’d made. I took a little trip down memory lane with his find; a signed promotional copy of our first LP. It was signed by the most experienced lineup of the band; Kiya, Jon Durno, Gregg Fulkerson, and yours truly. We did a lot of touring after the album’s release in May 1988. Our first guitarist during the southern and part of the east coast tours was Brian Bonham. Gregg came aboard sometime during that east coast tour (I think) and through the Midwest and west coast tours which would have probably been July through December of ’88. It would be really interesting to know the life of David’s album because the lives we four shared during our time together was some of the best times I had in music. We were a really good combo that didn’t really get to finish what we started. Unfinished or not, I wouldn’t trade my life with them for anything.
David Hurst and Melissa Snow-Groves were meant for each other. I sure do love them.
Stacy Yelton says two things will melt a man; puppies and babies. I think she’s right.
Aurora’s older sister Juni (Juniper) joined in the photo fun. She started off a bit shy. My lens has a way of seeing what she thought it couldn’t see. Isn’t it adorable? She was sure she was hidden. Some kids could care less about a camera, some can’t get enough of it (they’re annoying), and some take a little while to warm up. Heck, some adults do, too, but I can usually wear them down if given enough time. Juni’s reluctance was not unusual, and when she decided to come alive, that wasn’t unusual either. I think it’s equal parts trust and attention. Most kids want attention but they want it on their terms. They’re also unsure of people they don’t know well or activities they don’t understand well. Once she figured out it was okay to be herself, well, I have a lot of great pictures of Juni from that day. I hope someday she enjoys them as much as I enjoyed taking them.
You might recall that Sunday before last I mentioned photographing Melissa Snow-Groves and family. She just had her second baby, Aurora, in late September and they wanted newborn photos. I don’t do newborn photos, and we were already three+ weeks late, but we gave it the ‘ol college try anyway. Immediately I regretted not having a macro lens, and when I said so, Melissa suddenly said, “I have one and it’s a Canon!” First: wow, what are the chances? Second: game changer. I’m still not a newborn photographer – those folks have got an incredible system that’s tough to emulate without a lot of practice – but I would take pictures of a blank wall if that’s what David and Melissa wanted. That they would let me practice on them at such a crucial time in their second child’s life is really touching and I was, and will always be, honored they let me be part of it. This particular shot is stylistically different for me but I like it and now I’m totally sold on adding a macro to my arsenal.