Saturday, February 14, 2015

February 2015 "Go Back To What You Love" The Love Story at the Heart of The Star City Playhouse by j. Gabrielle

 Much has been written about The Star City Playhouse since its arrival in Roanoke in 2004.  The Playhouse is owned and operated by Marlow and Karon Sue Semones Ferguson a dynamic husband and wife theatre team.  Together, they bring over 60 years of theatrical experience, which includes Broadway, The Muppet Show, The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Ford’s Theater in D.C. and much more.  This February the couple will present their 104th productions together; “Crimes of the Heart” by Beth Henley.

As Marlow fussed over set building, and Karon Sue prepared costuming in their giant wardrobe room, the couple chatted about the love story at the heart of this team.

Karon Sue grew up among the Blue Ridge Mountains ultimately graduating Hollins University in 1991 with two B.A. degrees in Creative Writing and Theatre in Dramatic Writing.  Along the way, she saw Marlow at work twice.  In the 70’s, she journeyed to Ford’s Theater on a school trip for a production of “Arsenic and Old Lace”.  Marlow played the cop moonlighting as a playwright.  Other cast members included Stockard Channing and Edward Herrmann.  Later, Marlow was hired to direct “The Owl and the Pussycat” at The Barn Dinner Theater here in Roanoke.  Karon Sue was in the audience. 

Skip to 1991.  Marlow was invited to direct “Postage Due”, one of Karon Sue’s plays at Hollins.  He was dazzled.  The two wrote letters back and forth for a year.  Marlow owned an apartment building in Li’l Italy in New York.  As Karon Sue prepared to take an internship with The Muppet Show, she planned to stay in one of his apartments.  This Roanoke gal worried that in New York she would not have a view of the mountains for the first time in her life.

“I took a look out of her window here.  When I went back to New York, I had an artist paint that view on the backside of the apartment across from her window.  It was four stories high!”, says Marlow.  They married in 1991 and have never left the other’s side.

Karon Sue Semones writes and adapts plays and does all costuming.   She is also the visionary for set dressing.  Marlow laughs “She does it all with one finger.  She says ‘paint that wall!’”  Marlow does all the set building, the lighting/tech and directing.

The last four years have been trying for the indie theatre.  First, they lost their space on Williamson Road.  Then efforts to open an ideal location in Roanoke County were thwarted by the county itself.  Hopes to open a dinner theatre at Crossroads evaporated as the landlord demanded the couple to do major repairs.

Undaunted, the show must go on!  Thankful for an interim space in the basement of the Metropolitan Community Church of the Blue Ridge in Southeast Roanoke, the couple hopes to find a new future home for their theatre, costumes and wide array of sets.  We've done three construction projects together”, says Karon Sue.  “We are not ready to retire.  This is who we are!  This is what we do!”  She hopes to launch an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign soon to raise money for a new space.  

The following is fiction & a wish for The Star City Playhouse:

          The lights go up on a sunny, bright kitchen.  Framed playbills of the 104 shows they have produced together are framed all over the walls.  Marlow and Karon Sue are eating breakfast.  Their three cats and their three dogs surround them. The phone starts ringing.

Karon Sue:  Hello?  Yes,…..this is she.  You heard of our theater? (Excitedly. Repeating so Marlow can hear)  You want to gift us with a downtown building?  Downtown Theatre Lab?  Yes! Yes!  We can meet you this afternoon!  (Writing down the address)  Yes!  3:15.  We’ll see you then. (Hanging up).  Marlow!  Did you hear?!

Marlow:  (Sweetly smug-he knew it would work out the whole time) Ah!  Nothing but happy endings for my redhead and me!
(The couple kiss and embrace becoming silhouetted in the kitchen window behind them with a view of the mountains as the stage dims and the window brightens and music swells.)

The End?

Crimes of the Heart
February 6-22, Fridays 7 PM, Saturday & Sundays 2 PM
Metropolitan Community Church
806 Jamison Ave SE     Reservations: 540.366.1446

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Welcome to Hoonah

The Soundcheck, February 2013
Welcome to Hoonah

By J. Gabrielle


There was a brief period last summer, when sultry, sexy leading lady, Jessica Larsen would quietly hold her hand out as though begging for change and say, “Have you any Hoonah?”  I thought at the time that hoonah was like manna?  Perhaps, for the band it is. 

Hoonah is in the panhandle of Alaska located 30 miles west of Juneau and there resides 747 people who don’t know a band in Virginia is named after them.  This town is the namesake of the band from Roanoke called “Welcome to Hoonah”.  Visionaries, band mates and lovers Jessica and Spencer McKenna happened upon the sleepy fishing village during an Alaskan cruise.  They later found out “Hoonah” means a place on a precipice: a perfect name for their fledgling start-up band. 

 “Hoonah” makes visions come upon me of the quirky T.V. show of the early ‘90’s: “Northern Exposure”.  The band looks like they could live in the little town of Cicely, Alaska with its cast of eclectic characters. 

This band came upon the scene in 2012 with a strong sense of itself.  They have a decidedly 1930’s depression-era approach to their graphics, marketing and costuming. This is perhaps due in large part to lead singer/guitarist Spencer McKenna.  He continues to serve in the popular band “Grass Monkey” and is in his own right an excellent graphic designer.    Jessica gives him his kudos.  “Spencer wants to be a full-time musician”.  She notes that he practices hours daily on guitar, scales, harmony, and anything else he thinks will improve his performance.  They also work with photographer Rabiah Kwhah Gohar.  Jessica loves the timelessness of her photographs and the golden tones.

“That is what we’re going for!  Really retro, sultry, Americana!  A Melting Pot of every culture feel!  She upholds the mystery and timelessness the band radiates in their performance (“Is it jazz?  Is it country?) and in their ephemera.

Jessica and Spencer fine tune their concept and write most of the music they perform in their concert settings.  They have been writing together for several years now.  I asked them in this Valentine’s Month of Lovers how they perceived performing together and being mates.  “We really thought hard on that question!” says Jessica.  “We have learned it’s made us communicate better as a couple and given us a better ability to solve problems.  We HAVE to communicate within the band, so we HAVE to communicate within the relationship!”

Kevin Kittredge, longtime writer for the Roanoke Times is the bassist for this tight unit.  It is really nice to see him so at home in something he has wanted to do for such a long time.  At a recent show at Schooners, Kittredge kept a dance beat that was hard to resist!  Jessica credits Kevin with giving her the push to get her performing.  The couple met Kevin at the Open Mic at Village Grill. 

The band’s website says their mix of music is “is a fusion of folk-Americana, swing and Bakersfield country music, with a definitive Appalachian flavor and a touch of urban verve”.

Of course, the landing page of their website ( calls it “Dustbowl HonkyFunk”. 

Comparisons?  Many.  Old Crow Medicine Show and Larry’s Flask come to mind.  Also, Jessica and Spencer’s unique vocals harken back to early recordings in America, particularly, Jimmie Rogers the Singing Brakeman.  Both of these performers have unique voices that invoke 1920’s recordings and that make it so satisfying in 2013.

Recently they added the long searched for drummer Josh Smelser, chosen for his jazzy, swingy and suave feel.  Also, Liam Kelly has come to them to round out the melting pot of sound.

I am in a unique position to ask the musicians how they want their story to end.  Jessica reiterates what many hometown musicians feel….

“Welcome to Hoonah” went on to make a living playing music despite their obvious Dust Bowl Upbringing.  They performed for the Heads of State and the Queens and Kings of the World and they lived, happily ever after….

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Soundcheck, January 2012
By j. Gabrielle

The Rarely Available Band

When the stage lights illuminate #The Rarely Available Band (RAB) at Schooners, it is as a colorful dawn in a mystic, misty valley half way between Brigadoon and Edward Hopper’s much parodied painting “The Nighthawks”.  Like the mythical Scottish Kingdom that appears for one day every hundred years, they are at once rarely available, rural, rustic, idyllic, magically transient and unaffected by time.  Yet, they seem also neon-lit, afloat in caffeine and wired with anticipation and longing as the painting illustrates.

These troubadours have been rockin’ it for 33 years.  Often separated because of day jobs, the boys have been known to rent a van to travel to three states just to practice.  With perhaps some of the biggest hearts in the business, RAB plays many benefits and collects donations at every show.  In the last couple of years RAB has raised $8,140.16 for non-profit organizations and people in our area”, says leader @Steve Virts.  With their annual Alzheimer’s Benefit, the cause nearest their hearts, they hope to top $10,000!

The group has among them three strong songwriters.  In fact, in a 2008 live radio interview country legend @Merle Haggard said these words, “@Steve Virts is a good songwriter!”  The two men are old friends and get together to sing, trade licks and write.  Wayne Fulp, who plays acoustic guitar and has a killer tenor voice also writes.  “Wayne and Steve sing like breathing”, says @Al Coffey the third writer of the group.  Al, the “Swiss Army Musician”, so named for the many instruments he plays, adds the icing to the band’s excellently performed repertoire.

@Tim Caldwell sings harmony and trades off on pedal steel, dobro, harp and electric guitar.  He says, “these guys keep me young” and his eyes twinkle.  I believe him.  This trading off on instruments that Tim and Al do is so seamlessly and gracefully done one hardly notices the shuffling.  This is part of the energetic calm the band beams out.  One feels in the presence of greatness as though at Austin City Limits or the Ryman Auditorium.  The music feels sacredly presented.

There is @Danny Altic on bass and “we can’t force him to sing” says Al.  Danny says of their music, “you can’t pigeonhole it, so don’t even try”.  This is true, they go from Rolling Stones, to originals, to Johnny Cash and the Beatles with fresh arrangements.

Drummer @Brett Reynolds fills the shoes originated by @Dave Hartman who went on to fame with @Southern Culture on the Skids.  Brett moved here from Rochester, New York after touring the U.S. and Europe with his band, and doing some recording with ex- Rolling Stone Mick Taylor “adopting kids, because of the schools – it turned out music is a blessing in Roanoke and these guys are like brothers to me”.

The band “family” got larger recently with the addition of @Nate Stoehr as full-time soundman.  “I’m as much a part of this as they are!  These guys welcomed me as part of a band of brothers!” says Nate. 

The silent partner in all of this is “Band Mama” @Val Virts who is cheerleader, sound engineer, roadie and manager.  “She’s kinda cute too”, grins grateful husband Steve.

As many of my interviews reflect, there is a need for an accessible venue in Downtown Roanoke for the local band.  Also, there is a hope for local music to be more cherished and recognized.  “Martin’s had us play outside under a tent for a benefit Dash fundraiser and all these musicians were playing for free.  The runners and athletes, thousands of people were just walking right by, not checking it out, not exposing their kids to it”, noted Brett.

Back to Hopper’s painting, often transformed to hold Elvis, Marilyn, Bogart, Dean and others at the counter and called “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”.  This time, I see this band of brothers and “Mama” at the counter after a satisfying show.  They are plotting the next adventure, identifying the next non-profit in need, picking the next song to be sung.  This painting is called, “Boulevard of Promise”.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

November 2012 Soundcheck, Autumn Musings (Gloom, Despair N Agony & The Floorboards)

The Soundcheck, November 2012
By j. Gabrielle

Autumn Musings

What a whirlwind Fall this is turning out to be!  This column will be part confession this month.  I have been SO covered up; I’ve not been able to make the rounds to live shows that I usually do.  The beginning of October was the Virginia State Fair.  I would love to offer you a review of that!  I saw Diamond Rio, The Kentucky Head Hunters, Starwood! (A John Denver Tribute), The Rhinestone Roper & Lucky Joe; a fabulous Wild West show, and even a genuine FREAK SHOW!  Then it was back to Roanoke for several gigs and packing for a cruise as a face painter at the end of the month.  In the middle of all of this, Mac Daddy and I did manage a Friday night out to catch a couple of bands.

Gloom, Despair N Agony at The Village Grill was our first stop.  The power three-piece is very tight and has just the right sound for “punk-billy, surf”.  Their 10-song CD “Love Songs for the Zombie Apocalypse” is the perfect soundtrack to a stormy October Monday morning.  I have to say I am enjoying hearing the nuances and lyrics to these well-written songs, something I missed at the live show.  I have already made a mental note to myself to see these guys at a big stage.  The Village Grill is a tough place for me to enjoy music.  The sound is always terrible, too loud, too distorted.  There is a tidal flow to the room as smokers periodically exit en masse to the deck.  Lead singer Chad Jordan had a good sense of humor about it and seemed to enjoy entertaining friends and family.  Bassist Randall Houchins sang a couple of songs, including a unique arrangement of “Folsom Prison Blues”.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t hear a word he sang.  Same case when drummer Michael “King” Pendleton took the vocal on a Dead Volts tune.  The band has a good look and Chad is able to converse comfortably with the audience.   I detected no arrogance from the band - like they should be playing some place better – but they should be. 

Our second, and last stop of the evening was a benefit show for murder victim Anthony Hall and family at Growler’s.  The turnout for the event was HUGE for the three bands.  Another confession; I was already kicking myself as I entered the door for I realized I had once again missed Valley Blend writer J.D. and his band Madrone!  Forgive me J.D.  I’ll get there!  We did, however, make it in time for The Floorboards.

This was a band I knew nothing about except I loved the name and I knew drummer George “RockSteady” Penn.  George is one of those magical people to me that I just know whatever he’s involved in, I’m probably gonna like it.  Sure enough, just minutes into their set, I was all happy feet at the lyric-based country rock.   Tunes like “A Woman Named Whiskey” and “Pistol and a Bottle” are catchy and radio ready.  The band bio reads, “The Floorboards marry rock n' roll and country roots music with the sights and sounds of southern mountain towns. Jake and George shake the leaves from the trees. Bob wails like steam whistle cutting through the pines. Patrick coaxes stringed cries from the hills and hollers. Matt tells the story.”  Excellent description!  I hear comparisons to Uncle Tupelo, and locally, to work by Michael Mitchell and Clayton Ellers.  Must be the fiddle?  Jake Dempsey is on bass, Bob Chew, steel guitar, dobro, vocals, Patrick Turner on fiddle. mandolin and vocals, Matt Browning is the lead singer and rhythm guitar.  Back to that dreary Monday morning, this band is the perfect soundtrack to disappearing broken clouds and sunshine comin’ down.

I promise to revisit these bands at a later date.  Both are far more multi-faceted than this short musing can tell.  They deserve more space and they deserve more fans!  C’mon Roanoke!  SUPPORT LIVE MUSIC!

October 2012 Soundcheck,, The Music Police

The Soundcheck, October 2012

The Music Police
By J. Gabrielle

The recent article in The Roanoke Times about BMI’s (Broadcast Music Inc.) lawsuit against a Roanoke nightclub for copyright infringement made my blood start to boil…again.

There are three licensing agencies: BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC. 

It was in 1909 when recorded music was in its infancy and the Copyright Law was passed.  This law said that 2 cents off of each sheet music and later, recordings, would be the “mechanical rate” and it would go to the songwriter.

Two cents!  Here’s the shocker.  That rate has moved higher over the years.  The last raise was in 2007.  It is NOW 9.5 cents per unit.  Yes, in 103 years we’ve given songwriters a 7 cent raise.

Now onto the licensing!

Anyone entertaining the public at large in a venue MUST pay licensing fees.  Because all songs are licensed by one of the three companies, fees must be paid to all three.  Fees run from a couple hundred dollars a year for a small store to $500-800 for a medium-sized club.  The scale increases for bigger clubs.  Who else pays licensing fees?  Also, movies, circuses, places with a jukebox and any establishment allowing live music pay.  Coffee houses. Television stations.  Satellite. Cable.  Sirius.  XMRadio. Grocery Stores. Drug Stores.  Does your bar have a T.V.?  You need a licensing fee.  Play music while a customer is on hold?  You owe!  The minimum is $283.  The maximum is over $8,000.

If you don’t pay your licensing fees, these companies will send you letters inquiring why.  They will send a representative who looks very much like a customer.  He will sit in your establishment writing down the songs he heard.  They will bring suit against you.

This happened to Shirley Thomas at The Iroquois Club in the early ‘90’s.  Shirley would not be played.  I was there the night the ATF came to seize the club’s door earnings (set aside for the band) to pay the licensing company.  It has not been substantiated, but it is said the cash got stuffed into a certain redhead’s bra as she was sent to the ladies room to hide until they left.  Shirley switched to an all-original venue thereafter, arguing that unlicensed songwriters owed them nothing!

In the early 2000’s, I was running the honky-tonk Briz’s in New Castle.  The licensors came for our little club.  They came and counted the chairs and multiplied it by seven nights a week.  They wanted $800 a year.  I argued that we weren’t full seven nights a week.  I bade him to come to WWF on Monday nights with just drunk Larry and me.  Finally, I showed him our jukebox over half full of local music.    I identified myself as a BMI writer.  I asked where my royalties were?  Surely if they counted “All My Rowdy Friends” they counted local music?  Or did they just skip that?   I told them that I was not “hostile”, but I was not cooperating until I saw some revenue for the local artist.

Funny.  They went away. 

In the last decade, BMI sued Gillie’s and Champs in Blacksburg.  Champs paid $10,500 in fines.  Fees per song in violation range from $750 to $15,000.  Champs now spends $1,000 a year in licensing fees.  BMI has also pursued Mill Mountain Coffee & Tea for an Old Time Music Jam.  The music performed there is now in the Public Domain.  Artists retain rights for life plus 70 years unless someone applies for extension (this happens in the case of Elvis or Michael Jackson, etc.).   After that, it is in the Public Domain, and no one owes any licensing on anything.

On a local level, these licensors contribute to preventing local musicians from making a living.  Each live music venue that has to pay out anything in an already stressed budget is diminished in what it can afford to pay local artists.  The three licensors pay all these collected fees to a 1% of the at large musician population.

When will we unite as musicians and club owners and turn this thing around?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Marc Baskind: Marc with a “C”, September 2012

The Soundcheck, September 2012
By j. Gabrielle

Marc Baskind:  Marc with a “C”

The Mississippi Delta has been called “the most Southern place in the world”.  It is the incubator for a great deal of American music including Rock-n-Roll and Delta Blues.  It is also the birthplace of the musical soul of Marc Baskind.

Marc learned the ukulele at age 7, guitar at 11 and majored in the tuba.  He fell in love with every kind of music.  Unfortunately, he quit college and got into direct sales for 35 years.

Music took fire in him again in 1984 as he sat in on a riverside jam. Marc says he played good that day and had a good time.  Among the audience was Joe Frank Carollo, the bassist of the 70’s soft rock band “Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds” best known for “Don’t Pull Your Love”.  Joe Frank liked what he heard and hired Marc as a guitarist for his side project “Joe Frank & The Knights”.  This eventually led to Baskind playing in Vegas with “H, JF & R” for several months.  The band eventually stuck Marc on keyboard.  “I had as much business on keys as performing brain surgery”, he says. 

Disenchanted with the gig and with being on “The Road”, it was back to sales and some bad advice.  A fellow salesman told him he’d never make it in sales as long as he had music as his goal.  So, Marc quit playing for 15 years.  He even quit listening to the radio.

Living in Bluefield, VA in the early part of this century, he got a call from a local beach band “The Collegians” who had been shagging since 1964.  Saxophonist Scott Belcher asked him to join the band as guitarist.  Marc has toured with the band since and will complete his run this year as they have embarked on their farewell tour.  I got to see this band at the Tazewell County Fair last month.  The excellent group performed beach and shag hits to the delighted packed  house at Nuckolls Hall.  Couples shagged to “Don’t Let the Green Grass Fool You”, “To The Beach”, “Every Time I Roll The Dice”, “Mustang Sally” and a Doo-wop version of “Stand By Me”.  Baskind nailed a beautiful lead in the latter tune.  “The Collegians” have five strong vocalists among their seven members.

Marc Baskind made Roanoke his home in 2004.  It was in the mid-2000’s I first heard him at Open Mic.  His Lou Rawls-like voice and material made me scrawl his number down.  I have followed his various bands since.

Marc has put together several projects besides his solo endeavor.  There’s the Marc Baskind Trio, and the Caravan Band (Jazz, Rock, Blues, Variety).  Although he uses many different musicians, you will often find master drummer Kelly Gravely, bassist John Yates and monster keyboardist, Dave Ferguson.  Marc also has country bands “39 & Holding”, Bluegrass “BluSpruce” and “The Stardusters” and Big Bands, “The Swaykatz” and “Let’s Dance”.

Marc is a faithful member of the Southwest Virginia Songwriters Association who he says “opened his eyes about the importance of lyric”.  He credits fellow member and songwriter Greg Trafidlo with pushing him to do a CD and also to go to the annual Swannanoa Gathering in North Carolina.  Here, Marc has enjoyed a vocal class from Kathy Mattea and a performance class from Janis Ian, among many others.

Baskind’s heroes of music are Ray Charles, B.B. King, and Tommy Emmanuel.  He admires Norah Jones, Diana Krall and Lou Rawls.  He can’t play reggae unless he is dancing.  His favorite song to sing is “We’re in This Love Together” by Al Jarreau.  His criteria is “I guess I’m looking for the SOUL, the MAGIC of the music”.

His advice to other musicians?  “Give more to the song than you are getting!”  and also, “SUPPORT LIVE MUSIC!”

At 166 years old (he admits to anyway), he performs 3-4 gigs a week.  I asked what his goal is.  “I sat in last week with Jane Powell, J.J., Bernie on bass, Dave…just to play with those guys is a goal!”

Curley Ennis, August 2012

Curley Ennis, August 2012 Valley Blend Magazine
By J. Gabrielle

When legendary blues pianist “Pinetop” Perkins played the Iroquois Club in the late 80’s, I was escorted to the show by walking musical historian Curley Ennis.  “C’mon, let’s go say hello,” Curley said with mischievous grin and twinkling eye.  He sauntered us down some secret steps to a Green Room that I had never seen before (and never saw again).  “Pinetop” looked up and exclaimed, “Well, Curley Ennis!” They greeted each other as old friends, knowing the other from touring on the road at roots music festivals.

Curley Ennis: Musician.  Musical Historian.  Storyteller.  Teacher.  Photographer.  Citizen of the World. Legend. Musicians were his family.  On June 22, we musicians lost our Grandpappy. 

Curley Ennis specialized in traditional and contemporary folk songs and folk tales.  He accompanied himself on the guitar, dulcimer, banjo, song-bow, and harmonica.  He sang songs of the cowboy, the railroad, bluegrass, blues, Irish, children's songs, pioneer and contemporary life.  Ennis told stories about the music and people he encountered in his travels. 

I met Curley at the Iroquois Club where he ran the Open Mic on Wednesday nights.  We became fast friends.  A look in the Roanoke Times Friday Extra Section in those days would find a Roanoke still in its’ infancy as a music boomtown.  Besides the aforementioned Iroquois, precious few other venues existed.  There was Crystal Spring Deli, Third Street Coffeehouse, Steak and Ale, Billy’s Ritz and not much else.  Curley stayed busy, scratching out the next gig and pushing the idea of live entertainment. I always enjoyed his unique set list of folk songs.  He would work in a yodeling number delighting in recounting that the Queen of Country Music, Miss Kitty Wells taught him the craft.

He would regale us with stories from touring with “The Road Rangers” in Omaha and of a wild youth.  He told me about being pulled over for suspected inebriation one particular time.  The officer asked him to say his ABCs.  Curley sang the ABC Song for him.  He laughed, “They really hate that.” 

Curley went on to become the “go to guy” for Appalachian and Folk Music.  He worked at Roanoke’s Explore Park as a living history re-enactor.  He lectured at area colleges on the subject, including Hollins University.  He performed in Mill Mountain Theatre’s production of Woody Guthrie’s “American Song”.  He pursued photography, exhibiting his excellent work at galleries. 
We were label-mates on Clayton Ellers’ Encrypted Records in the late 90’s.  Ellers had the foresight to produce Curley’s album “On the Job”.  Reviews on the project were unanimous.
  "These are beautiful songs. They harken back to old values. Music that feels good." 
                                    Dan Taylor, Entertainment Reviewer Omaha Sun Newspaper
"I like the honesty about it, the truthfulness in it. It's the music of the people. It's not canned. It's human, it's live. It's like a work of art." Jeff Bahr, The Lincoln Star, Nebraska
Like many area musicians, Curley often traveled to perform.  He played at the New Orleans Jazz & Blues Festival.  While touring, he shared the bill with the likes of John McCutcheon, Asleep At The Wheel, David Bromberg, John Hammond, Richie Havens, Jean Redpath, Tom Paxton, and Mike Seeger
Ennis was also the consummate “wedding singer”.  Many of us were lucky to have him bless that special day with his voice, a perfect song, and his easy-going manner.
Always, Curley had his children in view when making plans.  He took the responsibility seriously doing the single dad routine in a little country house on Ruddell Road.  I have no doubt that these three Ennises are the spittin’ images of their Dad’s kind and gentle spirit.
I propose we establish the Curley Ennis Memorial Music Gazebo in Elmwood Park.  Curley was the pioneer here in the current Roanoke Music Scene.  Know his name, dear Roanoke, for Curley Ennis once played here.
“Looking back along the road I've traveled,
The miles can tell a million tales.
Each year is like some rolling freight train,
And cold as starlight on the rails”

(Bruce “Utah” Phillips, Starlight on the Rails)