Saturday night, August 20th, Geneva native Christine Lavin performs in Pulteney Park for Moonshadow over Pulteney. It’s the second year for the food and music event, which is put on by the Historic South Neighborhood Association. Last year drew a large crowd for hometown favorite Christine Lavin, but this year she decided to invite her long-time friend Julie Gold.
“It was the late 1970’s and we were both invited to be part of a songwriting workshop,” says Lavin. “The guy who invited us, his name was Bob Esposito, he was hoping that we would join together and form a songwriting team, which we’ve never written songs together. We’ve known each other for 40 years. But, I became a huge fan of her work right away and she became a fan of my work.”
If Julie Gold’s name isn’t immediately familiar, you’ve almost certainly heard her work. Bette Midler had an enormous hit with a song she wrote, “From a Distance.”
“She sent it to every music contact she had in the business including Clive Davis,” Lavin recalls, “who wrote back a handwritten note that said, this song is worthy of authorship by Joni Mitchell, but I just don’t hear it as a hit. Clive Davis! And she saved it! She has that note! So, she was so demoralized and depressed that everybody turned down that song. I said, bring me ten copies. I was playing at The Speakeasy on MacDougal Street. Bring me ten cassettes. Let me see what I can do. I sent it to Vin Scelsa at K-Rock. I sent it to Pete Fornatale at WFUV. I sent it to Stephen Holden at the New York Times. And what happened is, Ahmet Ertegun was Bette Midler’s producer and he called Stephen, they were working on the next record after the big hit ‘The Wind Beneath My Wings.’ He said, we need one more song. We need a song that could be a follow-up hit to ‘Wind Beneath My Wings.’ Have you heard anything? And, he said yes, ‘From a Distance.’”
But, Lavin, of course, extended the invitation not for the songs others have recorded, but for Gold herself.
“She’s a real original voice, as a singer, as a songwriter, as a pianist. She has her very recognizable sound. And all of her songs are so true. They’re so from the heart. That’s the thing that I remember. Before I ever met her I heard a recording of hers that Bob Esposito played for me. And I had two feelings when I heard it. One was Oh, my God that’s a great song! And, the other was, I wish I could sound like that, but I don’t. But, luckily as years go by and I get over it, get past the age of envy or jealousy, it’s much better to be friends with people whose work you love than to be jealous of them.”
Moonshadow over Pulteney happens Saturday in Pulteney Park in Geneva. Food trucks will be serving food beginning at 5 with music at 7. The event is free and open to the public with lawn seating and, according to Lavin, something else.
“Well, there’s going to be a surprise on the show, but I can’t tell you what it is or it wouldn’t be a surprise!”