A couple weekends back, my dear wife Karen and I went to a special show at local joint Sharkey’s.
I needed to show my support for the leader of the Todd Hobin Band. It’s been a tough summer for Todd. Just weeks before this show, his longtime band mate and friend, Doug Moncrief, passed away in his sleep.
My working relationship with Todd and Doug started in 1991, when I became the music writer for the big daily. Fan-wise, I first saw the band play in the mid-1970s, when I was a student at SUNY Morrisville and they were having fun on stage at the campus pub we called The Last Resort. Respect-wise, well, the bonds tightened always because these men always treated people right, every time I saw them.
A handful of years into the 1990s, Doug agreed to let the big daily send myself and photographer Al Campanie along with him to Nashville to chronicle his journey through Music City seeking contacts as a solo singer-songwriter. The Sunday magazine piece that resulted from our trip will remain one of my favorite memories and stories from my time at the big daily. Interviewing Todd for any number of news stories, my attendance at the band’s shows to write reviews, running into him even after my time at the paper ended … the end result on his side was always a thoughtful demeanor, professional performance and wise words.
We talked at Doug’s calling hours. I saw the hole in Todd’s soul.
But he knew that Doug would want the band to play on.
So it was important for us to see that set at Sharkey’s.
Todd, his brother Shawn Hobin, his son Bret Hobin, and their longtime band mate Bruce Fowler, left Doug’s keyboards and a microphone set up on stage with them.
Sad, so much.
But I saw the healing power of their songs together, too.
Syracuse legend Joe Whiting joined them for an Elvis medley. I caught in on my iPhone.