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Celebrity Surprise at Bodles
Michael McGlone / Graham Vest at Bodles Opera House
Saturday, October 10, 1998

Story by Kevin Robinson   --   Pictures by Ellie Apuzzo

Related links: Michael McGlone's Website Listen to McGlone's CD
Bodles Opera House Pine Bush Coffee House

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Jon Stein
Jon Stein
Saturday night October 10th [1998] was an unusual night at Bodles Opera House in Chester. Jon Stein (Host, booking coordinator, and ad interim entertainer.) introduced two singer/songwriters to an enthusiastic rainy night crowd. The first was a history teacher, and the second was a movie star.

Graham Vest
Graham Vest
The history teacher from Ellenville was Graham Vest, a moonlighting troubadour who has been seen woodshedding his act at the Pine Bush Coffee House. Graham's deep raspy voice is distinctive, a cross between Kris Khristofferson and John Cougar Mellencamp. He was at times too quiet; but mostly, Vest's vocals were clear and comfortable. His guitar playing is inventive, if not always polished. That's a good thing. A would-be performer who never stretches, never reaches down for a little more, will never be anything but mediocre. Graham Vest's heart is in his music. (I suspect it's in his teaching too.) And he's not afraid to show you what he's got. But what he's really got is a way with words. Graham is a good songwriter. The heart and soul his of his musical talent was evident in a beautiful song called "Moroccan Dreams." Then there were lines in his songs about love and love lost that jumped right out and grabbed you. "When the walls close in and it's time to go" was one that I suspect resonated with everyone in the house.

But there is also a quirky uniqueness in Vest's original music, and my suspicion is that his interest in history fuels some of his creativity. One of my favorite examples of this was a refrain that went something like this:

"I ain't got no million dollars
I ain't got no blood red rose
All I got's this battered compass
And this sea dog's nose"

Keep an eye and an ear out for this newcomer.

Michael McGlone and Joel Lisi
Joel Lisi, Michael McGlone
The headliner for the evening was actor, Michael McGlone. And you should know that I was fully prepared to hate him. Not because of his acting. I loved him in "The Brothers McMullen." (He also starred in "She's the One," and can currently be seen with Stephen Baldwin in "One Tough Cop.") No, I have this whole attitude thing about celebrities who use their name recognition quotient to crowbar their way into other arts, arts in which they would never otherwise have made it to first base. There are half a dozen actors currently playing around the country with high dollar bands to make them look like they know what they're doing.

Michael McGlone, close-up
Michael McGlone
Talented, even amazing, young musicians are struggling to get bookings, but Bruce Willis buys a harmonica and he can name his own price. (If he can't get it, he can just build another Planet Hollywood and book himself!) I doubt Bodles has the kind of money it takes to book a "star" that way, so I fully expected to see this young actor show up with a band and an entourage that cost him more than Jon Stein puts out for a year's worth of headliners. (It's like some rich folks who aren't good enough to land a book publisher and a legitimate advance, so they go to a "vanity press," and pay a small fortune to have their own book published.) Well, as you might have guessed by now, I was dead wrong about McGlone.

Joel Lisi
Joel Lisi
Michael is just a really nice kid. And his "high dollar" back-up band was his best friend from high school, a warm, genuine, and extremely talented young guitar player named Joel Lisi. Worse yet, McGlone can actually sing. Wonderfully. And his songwriting skills are, well, too damn good for a 26-year-old. Am I a little jealous? Well. Okay. Yes! There. Are you happy now?

McGlone, Lisi, Stein & Daughter Emily
McGlone, Lisi, Jon Stein & daughter, Emily
McGlone opened his set with a beautiful ballad called "Juliet," and then won the hearts of his audience quickly with a string of songs dedicated to members of his family: "Long Way To Go" for his father. "Become That Man" for his brother, Patrick. "Shayna Play My Guitar" for his baby sister. (Complete with touching "back-up vocals" from an infant in the audience!) This unpretentious young actor has a big heart; and, without embarrassment, he pours every ounce of it into his songs. His voice, as one might expect of a trained actor, is clear and resonant, and his musical arrangements range from simple and genuinely fun to complex and richly emotive. Michael McGlone is for real.

You'll be seeing more of Michael. . .on the big screen, and in intimate acoustic clubs like Bodles. And you'll see that the boy's paying his dues in both places. To learn more about this talented young man, or to order his CD, check out his website at:

Kevin Robinson is a freelance writer/photographer, and the author of three "Stick Foster" hardback mystery novels. A former syndicated columnist for the Detroit Free Press, his byline has appeared over 100 times in national and regional periodicals. Kevin is a partner at No Bull Productions, and his PR credits include promotion and booking work for several of Kansas City's top blues bands. Kevin can be reached at Ellie Apuzzo owns and operates Ellie's Consider It Done. She provides "on-site oversight for absentee owners" here in the Florida Keys; and so far, this lifelong New Yorker just can't seem to get into "Keys time!" Ellie can be reached at

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