Lucky

About two years ago, I was accepted to and began attending the Songwriters Hall of Fame Writers Workshop down in New York City. It was an 8-week workshop that met once a week. I remember walking into that room the first day and not knowing who anyone was or what I was getting myself into. Eight weeks later I finished one of the best experiences I've had since embarking on this crazy thing called a "career" as a singer/songwriter, and I made some great friends that I still keep in touch with today.

One of those friends is Jason Kingston. Jason lives in Florida and would fly up every week for the workshop, always wearing his red Mickey Mouse shirt; his traveling shirt. Over the course of the workshop, JK and I got to know each other a little, and it became obvious not only how talented a person he is, but how wonderful a person he is. We've tried to keep in touch since the workshop, and while we haven't quite worked out the kinks and gotten to write together, we have performed together.

A little less than a year ago, Jason was awarded the Songwriters Hall of Fame Abe Olman Award, and he asked me to accompany him for the performance of his song, "Lucky." Of course I said yes, and I was touched at how much he loved my piano arrangement of his song. We practiced the tune at soundcheck, gave a great performance, and after that had some mediocre food at a nearby restaurant. So, overall it was a good night.

But there's a hitch to the story. Not long before JK was given his award, he was in NYC when he suffered what's called an abdominal aortic aneurysm, or triple-A. I learned about them in 2005 when I was studying to be a New York State EMT, and they are the real deal. Luckily, he survived, but lost the function of his kidneys, has been having to deal with dialysis treatments ever since, and is in need of a kidney transplant. He has good days and bad days, and to be honest I haven't talked to him in many months because he's been dealing with the situation.

Last night at the Bitter End on Bleecker St., the New York Songwriters Collective - a group that JK was instrumental in launching - held a "member benefit" showcase with all proceeds going to JK. Thankfully, JK has health insurance, but there are a good amount of expenses that need to come out of his pocket for the transplant. When I learned about this event and what it was for, I knew that I had to be there. And I knew that I had to perform the song that JK and I once performed together - "Lucky." After the showcase I had some people that I knew - and some that I didn't - tell me that my performance was beautiful and one of the highlights of the evening. I'll take that. But I didn't write the song. JK wrote it. I can't wait to hear what he writes next.

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    © STEVE SCHULTZ