I had the extreme pleasure of meeting/hanging with Phoebe Snow twice. The first time my band, Jiva, was working with Donovan on his debut album for Atlantic Records with the famous Jerry Wexler producing and the now famous Barry Beckett, associate producing (both now deceased, bless their rockin' souls!). I was in the lunch room at Cherokee Studios in LA, having a snack and in walks Phoebe with her lunch and sits right down next to me! She was working on another record after her huge hit "Poetry Man" in '75 (I'm uncertain which record she was working on at the time....it was late '76) and wanted to know all about what I was doing there. What impressed me about her right away was that she wanted to know about what I was doing! I told her, with great excitement, that I was working on Don's new album for Atlantic with Jerry Wexler. One thing led to another and she came into the studio to say hey to everyone, including Donovan. The next time I saw her was many years later.
It was late September, 2004. My oldest son, Ian, had just passed away from testicular cancer (that's a whole other blog, as soon as I can get up the courage to write about it) and I had just returned from his wake in Malibu, Ca. and jumped right into work (believe me, I needed the distraction) on an amazing rock opera written by my dear friends to this day, Justin Murphy and Roger Butterley entitled "Fallen Angel". We were slated to do a staged reading at The Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor and had about a week to put it all together. Now I knew that Roger had been working with Phoebe as her Guitarist/Music Director. What I didn't know was that Phoebe herself was going to be a special guest on the Fallen Angel project, singing a beautiful song to open the 2nd act at The Bay St. Theatre! I was thrilled since I had always loved Phoebe's unique, soulful sound.
Phoebe could not make any of the rehearsals (If I'm not mistaken, she had just reconnected with her father who was dying....corrections are welcomed and appreciated) but was just gonna show up and sing the song at our presentation. The weekend comes for the reading and the whole cast was staying in this huge house with a hot tub. Angel soup, as it was dubbed by Wendi, Roger's wife. The day comes and I learn to my disappointment that Phoebe doesn't really want to "hang out" with the cast, assumably because of what she was going through. Now I had told Roger and Wendi of my previous run in with Phoebe so I was elected to lead her, in the dark, to the stage to sing her song. I went in early to talk her through where we were going and had worked it out that so I could find my way, in the dark, to lead her to the stage. I noticed that she had been crying and said to her, "I doubt you remember me, but I do know what your going through" and she said "how do you mean?" I told her all about how we had shared a lunch together years ago, then I shared the fact that my son had just passed away very recently and had in fact, just returned from California from his wake. "How can you even get through this? How are you even here?" she asked and broke down crying all over again, came over and hugged me hard (I am in tears as I write this) and said, and I quote, "if you can do this, I can". When it came time to lead her out, I helped her find the stage and she tore the house down with that song. I was crying my eyes out while she was singing, thinking at the time, "great! I have to follow that!", since my song was directly after hers, not to mention the moment we had just shared backstage. That's the memory I will forever have in my heart about Phoebe. God loves you, Phoebe. Of this I am certain. I will leave you all with this quote:
"God doesn't give you great things.....He asks great things of you".....and I KNOW that he has asked of you great things, Phoebe. God rest your beautiful soul. M.Lanning 4/26/11