Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Summerville's Joseph Tedesco Plays From the Heart-A Story Of Tragedy And Triumph

Two days, two parties. Friday and Saturday nights are always entertaining at Coastal Coffee Roasters of Summerville with its acoustic lineup, but this past weekend was exceptional with two top headliners back to back on the schedule. Add to the mix a birthday party and it became a celebration of candles and music.

The two guitars were propped up on their stands. The head stock of one of the guitars had a fedora hanging on it. Later, we would learn the fedora was a subject of contention between its owner and his wife, a matter dealing with appearance. Joseph Tedesco is its owner, and he was making final preparations for his performance while Brad and staff catered to the party guests. Joseph has become a CCR favorite.

Joseph Tedesco's story is a one of tragedy and triumph. It is a human story. Speaking of more recent times, he recalled, "I stumbled on to Coastal Coffee Roasters and found a very comfortable venue and a very welcoming audience to what I want to do." Though he was born in New Jersey and later moved to Atlanta when he was seven, Joseph has been no stranger to the Lowcountry. In the 80's, he traveled from Atlanta on weekends many times to perform at the Shem Creek Bar and Grill.

Joseph started out on the drums when he was ten and turned to the guitar a couple of years later. His first band was The Rising Sun, established while he was only in elementary school. He began writing songs in his early teens and the first song he wrote was called "Prayer for Pocahontas". After high school, he began working with the Georgia Game and Fish Division and his music took a backseat for a time.

Eventually, Joseph moved to Colorado with the intent of continuing to work in wildlife or fisheries management, but once he settled in things changed. "Colorado can be very inspiring to creative people. Within weeks of moving west, I formed another band," he recounted. The band's name was the Cholla Canyon Band. They opened for numerous national headliners all over the state and did some pretty big shows all on our own name recognition. The band performed together for 12 years.

Then, a tragedy struck that would alter Joseph's course. "My older brother, a big musical influence on me, passed away suddenly and I hit the skids." He developed a panic disorder and eventually terrible stage fright, ending his music career, momentarily.

Joseph moved back to the east, this time to Charleston, and slowly started regaining the ability to perform again, which brings the story to Summerville and Coastal Coffee Roasters. Now, he sings his own songs and songs he feels close to or has some attachment to. He views this as a second chance to do what he loves.

Joseph summed it up this way, "I have played in front of ten thousand people and 25 folks at Coastal Coffee. The number of people makes zero difference to me anymore. I just do what I do, with all the truth and courage I have and hope to connect with at least some of them every night. If my 15 minutes of fame has already come and gone, I'm okay with that. If tomorrow I write that big radio song, I'm okay with that too."

Maureen O'Brien and Kathlene Lainhart
Friday, Joseph played his guitar, piano, and harmonica with non-stop energy and fun. Maureen O'Brien celebrated her 29th(?) birthday while he entertained the crowd with a mix of his own songs and requests of favorites from the happy crowd. Jacki Mallett sang a couple of songs to close out the evening. It was another fantastic night at Coastal Coffee Roasters.

Next time you are in Summerville, stop in and join the fun. Check their Facebook page for the week's schedule of entertainment.

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