When I was 14 years old I bought Phoebe Snow’s first album. I heard Poetry Man on KINK radio in Portland, Oregon and was hooked. It’s not often that a song, on first play, will grab my attention. This one did.

It’s not often that an entire vinyl album had no duds on it. None of Phoebe’s albums have duds. You know, that one song that feels hurried, or was a filler. The one that you just can’t stand to hear, so you get up, carefully grab the needle, tilt your head just right so you can see the separation lines on the album to gently set the needle back down without making that horrible “scrreacch scratch thump” noise? NOTE: If you’re under 30 you probably have no idea what I’m saying.

Well Phoebe Snow’s first album was this and more. It was the album that I listened to in high school through first loves, break-ups, stupid fights with parents, mind-numbing homework, sunburns, sleepless summer nights. When I was 21 I got to see her live at a cool venue in Portland that was like a lounge. Cocktails and live Phoebe. No one, not even the Rolling Stones could top that concert experience for me.

A few fabulous albums later, Phoebe sort of retired. You see, she gave birth to her daughter Valerie Rose. She was very ill. Instead of outsourcing her daughter’s care to continue her career, she chose to stay home.

She did some commercial jingles to pay the bills. You may remember her fabulous “Colon Blow” spoof on Saturday Night Live. Vintage Phoebe.

Last year, Valerie Rose died. I cannot even imagine that pain. No parent should outlive their child. Her long-time friend, Linda Rondstadt invited Phoebe to sing with her last year and well, she’s back!

Yesterday I had the honor of seeing her perform at the First Tech Credit Union Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland, Oregon. Thank you to Tom Sargent and JaReda Webb for inviting me on the VIP stage to see her and meet her!

She is and always has been an inspiration to me. For not only her voice, but her honor as a mother and a strong self-employed woman.

Thank you Phoebe.

PLUG: She will be releasing a live album in October of this year. Look for it and buy it.

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