I’ve played Hallenbeck’s General Store probably 10 times, and have never written about it, so here goes:
First of all, it is indeed a general store.  They sell all sorts of old-fashioned items.  A while back, I bought a pepper tin that says Watkin’s Black Pepper on one side and Poivre Noir on the other.  When I have dinner guests, the French side is of course displayed.  I also bought a 10” Robinson Ransbottom Roseville Spongeware bowl for $15.  It’s beautiful and very heavy.  A great one for your Thanksgiving mashed potatoes.  They sell sandwiches, soups, salads, and great drinks.  (No alcohol.)  It’s very quaint.  I’m sure that is the best word to describe it.  Hallenbeck’s also has a stage in the corner, two or three feet raised, so everyone can see… unless you’re behind the post and pot-bellied stove in the middle of the room.  It’s a delightful venue.  I love it.
Dave Harvey finds talent and puts on shows there for SongsAlive.  Last night started with Angela Leo, a young poet who now sings and plays guitar.  Her material is very personal.  She’s got a wonderful voice and a lot of charm on stage.  It doesn’t hurt that she’s really good-looking, smart and funny.  She’s about to do a tour in India .  I call that brave.  www.myspace.com/angelaleomusic.com.
Next up was a group called “Serenity.”  Billy Moschella sings, Keigo Yoshida plays guitar, and they had a percussionist/drummer named Troy , or T-roy.  They were really interesting and their name suits them.  To me, Billy’s songs sound like a strange combo of Japanese music and American easy listening.  Billy’s a tenor which makes it really unusual and compelling.  Keigo and T-Roy were extremely tasteful.  (www.serenitymusic.us)
Then Alex Nester took the stage.  Dave Harvey describes her as a “unique raw talent,” which is an understatement.  She plays piano and sings her own songs in a blues, R & B, gospel style.  Very good voice, pitch perfect, skilled.  Young and lovely.  (www.alexnester.com)
We followed Alex.  I was there with my Reinforcements, Lorie and Gene.  (The stage is small, so I didn’t bring the rest of my band, although John O’Kennedy, my mandolin/dobro/Weisenborn player showed up with his wife, Leslie, and borrowed Angela Leo’s guitar to join us for the last two songs of our second set.)  We opened with “I Can Be Bad.”  Man, I love to do that song!  Not just because the audience laughs, but because it’s just damn fun to play.  When Lorie and Gene come in, it just sounds so good to me.  Then we did my carpool song, “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.”  Both those songs will be on my new CD.  Then “Goodbye Aloha,” from “ A Place in the Sun.”  Our second set was “You Loved Me Better,” “I Just See You” and “Table Nine,” my tribute to Merle Haggard.  The sound was great, thanks to Charlie!  The whole night was great fun.  I’m trying to lose a few pounds, so all I ate was a banana.  All the food looked sooo good though.  I hate dieting.
Our next show is at The Talking Stick on Thursday, Oct 8, from 8-10.  I’ll have my whole band for that.  I’m hosting and my guests are Women on the Move, aka Joan Enguita, Linda Geleris and Trish Lester.  It should be pretty nice.  I hope to see you there.
Tracy Newman