Coach Ryan's Corner: Music Heals the Broken

Today, I want to talk about healing.

Make no mistake, a coach isn’t a healer. A coach is a creator. And that shouldn’t be overlooked. If you need healing, see a therapist.

But even coaches need a little touch of healing.

This past Saturday night, I had one of the most emotionally healing experiences I have ever had. Especially since I moved from Alabama.

And it took place less than a mile from my apartment.

Port Chester, NY has an historic theatre called the Capitol Theatre. What started as a movie palace back in the 20s has emerged as one of the NYC Metro Area’s foremost rock and roll palaces. The Grateful Dead loved playing there. Bob Weir of the Dead still loves playing there. And they had Bob Dylan for three straight nights back in June.

Port Chester is less than an hour from NYC. It’s not a large city at all.

Back in April, I learned that my late musician father’s musical hero – Donald Fagen of Steely Dan – would play a solo tour this summer. And the first stops would be at the Cap in Port Chester.

Obviously, I’d be there with bells on and with tears in my eyes. And I will be this Friday night.

But while I was looking for tickets to that show, I learned that Lake Street Dive – one of my newest musical discoveries – would be playing there this past weekend. I couldn’t overlook that.

Now, I credit Tony Hall with a lot of my musical tastes. I wouldn’t be surprised if I was the only white kid at Central High School in Tuscaloosa who dug James Brown and Earth, Wind, and Fire.

Lake Street Dive was a discovery I made after my dad passed away. While I don’t believe he ever heard them, I believe he would have dug them.


LSD’s opening act was a band I’d never heard of before called Lawrence. It’s a brother/sister act with a full band and a horn section.

First – they KILLED! And it really set my heart free seeing so many incredibly young musicians playing their hearts out and playing incredible songs!

And by young – I know Clyde Lawrence (the brother and a helluva keyboardist) is only like 24. He’s a phenomenal singer as well.

And I think his sister Gracie (a dynamic singer) may only be 21. She knocked me flat! She’s a tiny little thing but I heard glimpses of Chaka Khan in her voice!

Watch out for Lawrence! I’m sure they’d have the Tony Hall seal of approval. They’ve got the Ryan Hall seal, that’s for sure.

Speaking of dynamic singers – LSD’s Rachael Price could sing the phone book and make it come alive!

Lake Street Dive (I’m not talking about acid here) brings old school sensibilities with a new school flavor that I just adore. And the concert delivered.

All during the show however, I kept thinking – I haven’t felt this alive in years! And my dad was definitely with me!

I have been experiencing some real turmoil in my life lately. Sleep has been at a premium. This has been a period of transition in my life.

When I came home from that show, I slept like a rock. And have had several amazing nights of sleep since then.

I feel like I’ve cut 15 years off my age.

There have been some holes in my life lately. And Saturday night was the putty that filled those gaps.

And this past Saturday night wasn’t even the main event.

I’ll be sure to report next week how Donald Fagen and the Nightflyers goes. I believe it’ll be one of the most emotional musical experiences of my life. And a night I’ll never forget.

While his body won’t be there, my dad’s spirit will be in the seat next to me.


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Tell your friends, because this will be where I make a major announcement this Friday in a special issue of Coach Ryan’s Corner. You won’t want to miss that.