For those of us of a certain age, we can hearken back to the now shuttered Nye's Polonaise Room. It was never really cabaret, but for decades it was a song lounge and listening room when there was no other game in town. Before the Shout House, the Times, Dakota and Crooners. One never knew what "regulars" would roll in, or what tunes were on deck for the night. But the one constant that brought all of us back time and again was Lou Snider at the piano in the corner of the room. With her small rail of stools, a few mics to pass around and stacks of charts hidden behind the counter. Even I was in the final "class" of the golden age of Nye's before the college crowd made it a trendy go-to spot & far-too crowded room.
Last Sunday, the #Strib did a lovely feature on Lou as one of those monumental souls we lost this year in the Arts. Of course Prince was the headliner, but it was rightly so that she would be named right beside him as an institution that touched so many people in her 45 years there. I was astounded to read what a tragic childhood she lived. A mother that died while she was young. And then a depressed father that shot her and her siblings in desperation. She survived but always walked with a cane from the injuries - I had often thought is was likely polio or a medical condition. Somehow she defied odds and brought her talents and joy for life to the masses. Lucky us!
Both are gone now, as are many losses in 2016. But I will often recall the many times together that we shared Since I Fell For You in the key of E flat. She always knew what song and what key for me.