I Love LJ...

and I've loved him ever since I met him back in March of 1991.  Our paths have crossed a dozen or so times since then and every time I have the opportunity to listen to and/or speak with him, I love him more, even though he probably doesn't remember my name.  (He did call me by name just last Sunday, but I was wearing a name badge so he had an advantage.)

So who is this LJ person (since clearly he's NOT my husband)?  The man that I speak of is the incredibly talented musician, Laurence Juber.  You may not know the name, but you know the music and the distinctive guitar sound.  He was part of Wings from 1978-1981 which is how he came to my attention.

I went to my first Beatles convention back in 1991. (What can I say?  I was late to the convention game; if ONLY I'd known.)  Laurence Juber happened to be one of the guests.  I went to hear him speak and play because he had been in Wings.  I left entranced by the way he played and charmed by his storytelling.  I might have intended to buy his album, Solo Flight, just because he worked with Paul McCartney, but hearing him play some of the songs live captivated me.  If it was possible to wear CDs out, I certainly would have worn out that one as I listened to it over and over again.  (And I still do.)

Several years later I attended another convention where he was the guest.  He was just as charming. (And obviously still has talented.)  Of course I had to buy the album he had available at the time, Naked Guitar.  Upon completion of his afternoon concert, I dashed out of the ballroom to be the first one at the table where he would be selling his CDs.  He arrived a few minutes later alone and by that time there was quite a crowd waiting for him.  He was all alone and clearly needed help; so I volunteered.  It was crazy!  In the days before being able to take credit card electronically it was cash only and I remember he was ran out of change and I was pulling money out of my wallet to try and make everything balance.  It wasn't until he finished his session that he realized that I was NOT part of the convention staff and just a fan happy to help.  He rewarded me with a cassette (which shows you how long ago this was) of Solo Flight.  I told him I already had it on CD, but he insisted.  (Sadly it went missing; I have a feeling that when I was helping him pack everything back up it went back into one of his boxes.)  I was glad to help him in whatever way I could because to put it plainly, he's just a nice guy.

I've seen him perform not just at conventions, but at smaller clubs and he is just as comfortable and congenial in front of twenty people as he is in front of 2,000 or more.  In all the times I've seen him, he's always had a smile on his face.  (Even when he's heading to a hotel restaurant for breakfast.)  If I'd have to compare him to someone, the person who comes to mind is Cary Grant.  He's just as charming as his fellow countryman and talented (though in a different arena).  Also like Cary Grant, he doesn't seem to age, but only gets more distinguished looking.

Now before you think I have evolved into a deranged stalker fan, let me say that I have also have had the pleasure to have met his wife who is just as charming and talented.  (And also has the annoying ability to not seem to age!)  She has come to several conventions with him and she is one of the nicest and friendly people I have ever met.  (And I don't just say this because the last time I saw her, which was about 9 years ago, she cooed over my son, who was only a few months old at the time.  Yes, the surest way to a mother's heart is to tell her how adorable her baby is, but I liked Hope the first time I met her several years prior.)  It's obvious that she and Laurence are meant for each other; after all they've been married for 32 years as of this past weekend!  

But to get back to Hope's husband, the biggest compliment I can give is that I DIDN'T take any photos while he was performing.  I did the first time I saw him (way back when you had to wait to get your photos printed and there was no social media to post them on), but ever since then I have not.  Why?  Because I get too wrapped up in his music to even think about pulling out a camera.  Yes, I did update my Facebook status last Saturday to say that I was listening to LJ, but I did it AFTER the concert.  How could I even think of pulling out an electronic device?  I was too captivated by the music; and so was everyone else in the room.

Incredibly talented, charming and kind:  that's the recipe for LJ's success in my book.  And it's why I've become a lifelong fan.  If you're not already one, I encourage you to go to his website:  http://www.laurencejuber.com.  Close your eyes and take a listen; you’ll be glad you did.


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