Lisa Loeb’s Return to Atlanta and Other Musical Moments

By Bram Bessoff

Featured AJT Columnist

Lisa Loeb

I must say I’m excited for the fresh start. The end of 5774 was a rough one, and with a cleansed soul, I’m looking forward to quickly filling it with happiness and good vibes. For me, that is centered around the two most important aspects of my life – family and music, and I look forward to focusing this year on as much of both as possible.

5775 will be off to a rollicking start. It begins with one of my all-time favorite holidays, Sukkot. At The Temple, Rabbi David Spinrad, along with local musicians and fellow AJMF Board Members Sammy Rosenbaum and Eli Sperling will kick off the First Fridays series with an extra special musical experience. Shabbat under the Sukkah starts at 8pm Friday October 10. The evening will feature live performances by Sammy Rosenbaum, Hannah Zale and Adam Klein. The event, brought to you by The Atlanta Jewish Music Festival is FREE to attend and open to all. For full details or to RSVP, visit http://eepurl.com/3CJWf.

Make it an easy weekend, because the fun continues Monday as AJMF4 headliner Lisa Loeb returns to town for a special limited capacity show at Vinyl (Center Stage) in midtown. Loeb was the first artist to have a number one single in the United States while not signed to a recording contract. Many of you around my age remember Lisa Loeb as the hit songwriter of “Stay” (I missed you) from the classic Ben Stiller flick “Reality Bites” and far from a one hit wonder, she has brilliantly kept herself and that song relevant through the years.

Loeb was born into a Jewish medical family (her mom was president of the Dallas Medical Alliance and her father, like mine, is a gastroenterologist,) but she, along with her sister and two brothers are all involved with music professionally.

Lisa and I have a few more things in common, we both attended a summer session at Berklee College of Music and went on to tour as successful indie acts in a world before Napster. In 1990 she formed a full band called Nine Stories named after the book by J.D. Salinger and included Tim Bright on guitar, Jonathan Feinberg on drums, and Joe Quigley on bass. She worked with producer Juan Patiño to make the demo Purple Tape in 1992. While we were putting press kits in tin cans to resemble Campbell’s label to promote our band name Soup, Lisa made purple demo cassette tapes to gain attention of the industry. I remember the day of duping and manufacturing cassettes as CD duplication was unavailable and unaffordable for short run pressings – we both sold cassettes at our early shows.

Lisa’s debut release included the first production of her other hit “Do You Sleep.” She spent most of her indie days touring in and around NYC until her big movie break that led her to where she is now. It could be argued that Lisa was an early pioneer to the all too familiar model many indie artists use today with everyone trying to get their music sync licensed to television and film.

Lisa Loeb Eyewear

Lisa Loeb is not just a talented songwriter and performer, she has quite the head for business. Lisa has taken her passions and turned them into two successful TV shows, Food Network’s cooking show with Frank Zappa’s son “Dweezil & Lisa” and an early reality series called “Number One Single” (2006) about her personal adventures to find love and start a family. And although she did not achieve her goal by the series end, three years later she did marry and start a family with Roey Hershkovitz, the music director for “Conan.” Starting a family led her down an interesting path of releasing a few children’s albums ultimately culminating in the successful book and record “Silly Sing-Along: The Disappointing Pancake and Other Zany Songs” published in 2011.

Loeb enterprised her own unique look by starting the Lisa Loeb Eyewear collection.  She did not simply license her name to a manufacturer, the eyewear designs are hers. In fact, each model is named after one of her tunes and they are not just for the ladies, she has frames for kids and men too. That’s just plain smart!

You would think this woman should be exhausted, perhaps the reason she started an organic brand of coffee called “Wake Up! Brew”, a reference to her “Everybody Wake Up” song. All profits go to Camp Lisa, a foundation started to help under privileged kids have the same special summer memories she got to experience as a kid. Camp Lisa was inspired by the children’s record of the same name, which not only garnered National Parenting Publications Awards Honors but received the 2008 Parents’ Choice and NPR’s year-end Top 10 list of the best kids’ music for 2008.

This time she is in town to support her eyewear collection and I was happy to get her email that she was looking for a special room in town to do another intimate show. As she told me to pass along to you:

“I’m so excited to return to Atlanta this month!  The last two times I played in town were really meaningful and memorable for me: one for the NPR Convention and one for the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival.  This time I’ll be in Atlanta presenting my eyewear line…  I’m so excited to share new songs and of course, some classic favorites with the folks in Atlanta!  Tweet me your requests @lisaloeb.”

The plan for this show is to get some special friends to join in and make the evening extra special. As most guests are being kept under wraps I am excited to say I’ll be sitting in on Cajon for a song and hope you all, or at least the first 150 of you will join me for this special musical moment in my life. I’m a huge fan and humbled to share the stage with such an excellent musician. As a pro of live music productions, I must say Lisa knows how to put on a show and her performance ability rivals the best of the best. Hope to see you at the show.

 

Bram Bessoff is a drummer and musician. When not onstage, Bram is a performance coach and music industry entrepreneur helping artists get the most out of their live shows and chart on Billboard. He sits on the board of directors as VP for The Atlanta Jewish Music Festival. Follow Bram’s experiences on, off and backstage @bram_rocks. Interact with him at #InItForTheMoment to share thoughts, comments and ideas about this column.