Val Emmich has worn many hats in the entertainment field. Songwriter, musician, actor and writer, Emmich pools real experience, imagination and a passion for excellence in everything he does. And while he has experimented with written word quite extensively, The Reminders is Emmich’s first foray into storytelling in novel form. Born partly of a truth and mostly of fiction and the wonderment of how certain people are never forgotten, The Reminders is the story of two unique individuals with memories and life feelings that cross over each other like a rhubarb pie covering.
Emmich tells the story of each character, in turn, beginning with 10-year-old Joan Lennon Sully. Waiting for her father to pick her up after school, Joan Lennon (named after the legendary John Lennon) waits patiently for her late father while school officials nervously check their watches. Once he finally shows up and gets her into the car, Joan notices a newspaper article that says “The Next Great Songwriter Contest” which starts this story on its way.
Joan is a budding musician that takes after her father, an established songwriter who has done OK in commercials and movies but has run into hard times and is looking to close his studio and join his father in the stable family business. Joan’s dream is to become a famous songwriter like John or Paul from the Beatles.
Joan’s mother had a childhood friend named Sydney. Sydney eventually met partner Gavin (an unsung television star), and the two begin their life together. After Sydney’s untimely passing, Gavin burns their memories and gains nationwide phone camera notoriety before heading to New Jersey to visit with friends and family. It is here that he meets young Joan.
Emmich’s skill at weaving multiple stories into one cohesive masterpiece comes alive on The Reminders. It is here that he pairs Joan and Gavin (Winters) as songwriting partners with Joan hoping to win the songwriting contest and change her life in return for her telling him all about the memories of Sydney that she remembers.
She remembers so well because Joan, after falling on her head in Home Depot (the one actual piece of the story that Emmich used from what happened to his real daughter), was left with the rare ability to recall every day of her life in cinematic detail. In seconds, she can tell you how many times her mother had uttered the phrase “it never fails” in the last six months (27) or what she was wearing when her grandfather took her fishing on a Sunday in June years ago.
Joan had never met Gavin until now, but she did know his partner, Sydney, and waiting inside her uncanny mind are half a dozen startlingly vivid memories to prove it. It is for this reason that Gavin stays and helps her write her song so that in return he can figure out what his partner might have been up to and where he was going at the end of his life. The unlikely duo sets off on their quest until Joan reveals unexpected details about Sydney’s final months, forcing Gavin to question not only the purity of his past with Sydney but the course of his immediate future.
Emmich’s style is both intelligent and tender at heart, rolling emotional angst and sweet memories of the past into a plethora of soul-searching questions and answers focusing on the present. Joan’s rockstar dad and supportive mom also play vital roles in the book, revealing worries and fears of theirs while supporting both daughter and Gavin as they search for clues on the road of life. Each new chapter takes the characters further down the yellow brick road until they reach their unchosen destinies. And even if things don’t work out exactly as planned, in the end, everybody pretty much finds the answers they were looking for.
Emmich has done exceedingly well for a first book author, and The Reminders should appeal to readers of all ages. I enjoyed the book tremendously and can’t wait to see what Emmich comes up with next. Charming, raw and filled with empathy and sorrow, The Reminders is also a refreshing look into the lives of people on the road to healing and new purpose, and for these reasons alone I give The Reminders five stars.
Emmich is a writer, singer-songwriter, and actor. Besides his many recorded records, Emmich has also had recurring roles on shows such as Vinyl, Ugly Betty, and 30 Rock.
Val Emmich will be holding his book release party on June 3 at Maxwell’s in Hoboken. The Reminders will be available for purchase at the show along with a free The Reminders limited release CD. For more information go to Val’s website for details at valemmich.com.
Live On LBI Series Announced For This June Feat. Jeffrey Gaines, Willie Nile, And Ben Arnold/Matt O’Ree/Eryn Shewell
When you usually think of LBI, you think of loads and loads of tourists from New York, Delaware and Pennsylvania, crowded beaches, packed restaurants and dance music clubs galore. The one thing you hardly ever hear about is real live original music. Once you cross over that causeway and onto the island, most visitors seem to want specific forms of entertainment and live original music never seemed to be one of those desires. Or so I thought. The Long Beach Island Foundation of Arts and Sciences has found their musical niche and are starting to forge their specific brand of entertainment across the island of summertime delights.
FSA Marketing and Entertainment LLC announces a new singer-songwriter series to take place this June at the Long Beach Island Foundation of Arts and Sciences. The series will feature regional and national performers in the intimate setting of the LBIF performance space at 120 Long Beach Boulevard in Loveladies, NJ.
FSA founder Jim Steen stated, “This series will fill a niche on LBI demographically and musically that has previously been neglected. LBI is home to cover bands in the summer months traditionally. The reopening of Surf Light Theater promises lots of musical theater, but singer-songwriters and the original music gets neglected in this part of the Shore.”
Steen plans the series to be a staple of tourist season shoulder months June and September for years to come. The lineup for Live on LBI is as follows:
Jeffrey Gaines – June 1 – 8 p.m. Tickets are $25.
Willie Nile – June 22 – 8 p.m. Tickets are $35.
Ben Arnold/Matt O’Ree and Eryn Shewell – June 29 – 8 p.m. Tickets are $25.
Jim Steen tells us, “Response has been great so far. People are excited to see this be a success and I am already getting wish lists of what people would like to see for September.”
Tickets are available at Eventbrite.com. Should tickets remain, they will be offered at the door night of the show.