This Sunday is Mother’s Day, so please allow me some space to honor, praise and celebrate all the Mothers, Moms, Mommies, Ma’s, Mommos and all the many variations who are doing their best.

It’s a tough gig that requires a wide range of skills and is often thankless, or at least severely underappreciated, except on your official One Day of the Year. I hope all the moms out there are able to thoroughly enjoy their day, and please don’t feel guilty if your idea of enjoyment is kicking everyone out of the house, or doing something by yourself for a few hours. Hey, simply being left alone for a while can feel like a fantastic and rare gift.

I know a few people for whom 2019 will be their first Mother’s Day without their mothers, and it’s going to be a rough day. The deep feelings of loss and the gaping emotional wound are likely still fresh, and they haven’t developed the scab that comes with time and having to move forward. You’ll make it through, and hopefully you’ll find a way to honor your lost loved ones and continue to draw strength from their actions that helped shape you and your memories of them.

My mom’s been dead for nearly 30 years, but nearly every day since the cancer won, something she told me or showed me pops into my head and/or suddenly becomes applicable to my current life, and she was usually right. So in a way, at least in my heart and mind, Dorothy Rivers is still doing her best, and I’m still trying to make her proud.

Happy Mother’s Day.

 

Tony Bennett tour

Speaking of Mother’s Day and possible gifts for moms of a certain age, Tony Bennett will be at Packard Music Hall in Warren on Sunday evening. The 92-year-old — arguably the last true crooner, depending on your feelings about the skills of Michael Buble — is bringing his “I Left My Heart” tour to Northeast Ohio. (You’d think every tour he’s taken since 1963 when his signature hit song was released would be called the “I Left My Heart Tour” but here we are.)

In his seven (seven!) decades in music, Bennett has two Emmys and 20 Grammys spread across two centuries, including a 2018 Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album win for “Tony Bennett Celebrates 90.” He’s managed to do all this without changing his fundamental style or setlist.

The artists he’s worked with, including Lady Gaga, k.d. lang, Stevie Wonder, Dixie Chicks, the aforementioned Buble, Amy Winehouse and Willie Nelson, have all brought their pop seasoning to his traditional jazz singer stew, which is a sign of respect.

Bennett’s most recent release, “Love Is Here To Stay,” is a chilled-out, low-key duet record of George and Ira Gershwin tunes recorded with singer/pianist Diana Krall and the Bill Charlap Trio. Krall won’t be at Packard Hall but Bennett’s daughter Antonia is opening for him, and like dear old dad, she’ll be performing a few songs from The Great American Songbook.

 

Shootouts release

On Friday night at the Music Box Supper Club, The Shootouts will celebrate the release of their debut national album “Quick Draw.” The band formed a few years ago as a loose honky-tonk and old-school country side project for longtime local singer-songwriter Ryan Humbert and his band, calling themselves Shooter Sharp and the Shootouts.

But what began as just fun quickly became serious fun, as the band began drawing positive attention for its uncluttered, rootsy sound. Now, they’ve signed with MegaForce Records, recorded a full-length album in Brooklyn in six days, and are ready to take their talents and fringed shirts to the world.

I’m no honky-tonk connoisseur but I have enjoyed some Western Swing over the years, and this band — Humbert (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), Brian Poston (electric & acoustic guitar), Ryan McDermott (bass), Dylan Gomez (drums, percussion) and Emily Bates (harmony vocals) — is tight as a drum. Also, Poston is one helluva picker, evidenced on the instrumental title track by his fleet-fingered fretwork alongside Al Moss, an auxiliary Shootout member and awesome local pedal steel player.

“Quick Draw” is a fun record and the band certainly seems to enjoy the jaunty rhythms and some humorous lyrics, such as the torch song “Lonely Never Lets Me Down,” Shel Silverstein’s still-funny “Alimony” and “Reckless Abandon” (“I was reckless and now I’ve been abandoned”). Should be a good show.

 

Malcolm X Abram can be reached at mabram@thebeaconjournal.com or 330-996-3758. Like him on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1lNgxml, and follow him on Twitter @malcolmabramABJ.