gmhTODAY 17 gmhToday Nov Dec 2017 - Page 57

“Music is really in me, it’s really important and it’s definitely a strong passion,” he said. “In some cases music comes first.” Fenichel started on the drums at age eleven for a few years, but ultimately abandoned it because “it was just such a hassle to pack the drums into the car, set them up, tear them down” over and over again. Instead he was drawn by the haunting sound of musicians like Sonny Terry that he soon identified as the harmonica. “I loved the sound of it, got one and started messing around with it,” he said. Though he also plays guitar, harmonica has become his instrument of choice. He plays numerous different styles on it, from blues to country to rock, anchoring his three bands that play numerous gigs in South County and beyond. There are three bands he calls his own, which play regularly together. Chubby’s All Stars, a vintage classic rock band. “Three of us have been playing together for over thirty two years,” he said. Then there’s One Country, which is “strictly country and rock, mostly classic country music from well known country artists.” And then there’s the Fancy Nancy Band, whose name comes from member Nancy Wenstrom. He, Nancy and Walter Jeby front the blues-based band. Of course, this doesn’t count the numerous bands he is asked to play with on a regular basis. Fenichel plays anywhere from five to ten gigs a week. “I’m also a host and emcee of the main music stage at seven major art and wine festivals throughout the Bay Area,” he added. “I get to meet and play with all kinds of different bands.” While there have been many memorable moments in Fenichel’s musical career, the highlight took place in 1995, when famous musician “Brownie” McGhee, an internationally renowned acoustic guitar player and singer-songwriter along with his former partner Sonny Terry, asked him to be his harmonica player as they headlined the Chicago Blues Festival. “We played on the main stage in front of about one hundred thousand people, and they broadcast our set to one-hundred NPR radio stations throughout the country,” he recalled. This moment was “a dream come true,” as two decades earlier he had seen “Sonny and Brownie” live at a concert in Albany, New York where he went to University. “I was sitting there near the front row watching them as a kid, and then here I am twenty-two years later sitting in Sonny Terry’s chair, playing with Brownie.” Fenichel and McGhee became good friends—he even spent a Thanksgiving with Brownie’s family—and often spent time jamming at Brownie’s house with famous visiting musicians who would stop by to play with the great man. “We had a wonderful relationship. He was like my grandpa,” he said. The concert was such a hit that Brownie, Fenichel and the rest of the band recorded an album in anticipation of a tour in Australia and New Zealand they were supposed to go on the following year. Everything was ready: venues booked, hotels confirmed, airfare purchased, and merchandise printed. “Then Brownie got sick, and it turned out he had stomach cancer,” Fenichel said. Brownie passed away in February of 1996 but his spirit lives on in Fenichel’s music. While music is his passion, Fenichel’s day job has long been in the area of radio and television marketing. He left his home state of New York and came to the Bay Area in 1979 where he wrote commercials, marketing copy and press releases for radio and TV. He has been Advertising and Marketing Director for Morgan Hill Life papers since their sixth issue, over four years ago, where he also pens a weekly column, “Music in the Air.” Though he’s only been in Morgan Hill GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 eight years—he was in Santa Clara for five and San Jos ȁݕQٕ́ѡ݅)ͥ́Ʌѡ́չ七q%ӊe)ЁɕЁչ䁅ٕ役́ͼ)ɕѥٔѡͥQͥ)ɔ䁡ɔt)!́ѡЁ5ɝ!)ɕхͽ́͵ѽݸٽȁ́)̰͕ѥЁ́ɕ͕)ѕqЁɔɕ䁅Ʌ)ѡЁѡ́ѽݸ́ЁѼЁѽ)ȁ̻́͡tQ՝݅́Ѽ)Ёѡ́ɕЁɽѠ)ѥٔ!ɕѱ啐Ёѡ5ɝ)!!ѽɥMèѠՅ)չˊéٕи=ѡ)ɕٕ݅́̀́)ɔͥȸq!é͕ͽɕ)̳tͅݥѠՍ)ٕȁչ́Ёѡ)Ѽͅ䁅Ёͥq'eٔ啐ͥ)ͼ䁱ٕ́ݥѠͼ䁝ɕ)ٕͥ́ȁѡ啅̳tͅ)Սݕݸ)5䰁)]ѕȰAЁQɅٕ̰))͔ eչѡ̸)!ͼɥѕ́əɵ́)ݸͽ̰ͽѡ́)ɕ݅ɑ!ɕչѕɕ)͍ɥѕȁ她́ݸ)ͽ́Ё5ɝ!è-̸qQݼ)́Ёѡȁݕɔѥٕȁݡ͔)ͽЁ̰݅$ЁѼѕѡЁ݅)QЁ݅́лt)!éЁѥՅɅѥѠ)ȁ́յ́́ݸͥ)!ٕ́܁ȁͽ)ͅѕєɅ)ݡЁЁ̰ɸЁѡЁѼ)əɵɕѽɔq$ٕȁЁѥɕ)ͥQɗé݅́ͽ)ѡѼɸtͅ)!ٕ́ѡЁ͕ͥ́ѥ)ȁٕ役ݡѡȁԁ䁥Ё)䁅ɕєЁ́ѕȸq5ͥ)́eԁձ)ɕ͕ͥ́ԁ)ѕȸeԁձͥ)ԁѕȸ5ͥɥ́ѡ)ɥ́ݡ׊eɔt)ѽ乍(