Two ALX-Based Musicians Bracing for the Opportunities of a Lifetime

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Alexandria, VA – For current Alexandria residents Robert Gabriel and John Fishell, music has been an integral part of their lives from early on, and since their youth, both of them have been closely embraced with music for decades. But now as the new year begins, both of these talented men are embarking on the next phase of their musical lives with different but very exciting opportunities.

In the spring of 2024, Gabriel will be the bassist and musical director on the tour of country artist John Paycheck, son of country music legend Johnny Paycheck who played on Hee Haw, performed at the Grand Ol’ Opry, and had country hits in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

“Right before COVID hit, John ran a social media ad saying ‘National Touring Act Looking For Musicians,’“ said Rob, 68. “I thought, well my kids are all in college – my wife Sarah and I have triplets – and I’m retired, and this is a good time to do this, so I let him know I was interested. Fast forward three years later and John surprisingly essaged me and said, ‘Might you still be interested in doing it?’ And I was like, ‘Well, hell yeah!’ ”

As for Fishell, 54, he recently left his 30-year career as a college music recording and production instructor to go full steam ahead with his own musical career, and is now clearly on a roll, releasing an excellent single “Carolina California” that reached top 40 on the Mediabase chart (plus he had previously recorded a ‘live’ studio album and three other songs), and as well as doing local gigs, he will be playing in the UK in 2024 and no doubt writing and recording more songs as well.

“I’ve been wanting to do a variety of things at the same time, like teaching as well as writing, producing and playing music. But you find that teaching takes up all your time, and being a musician, if you’re gonna be a good one, that also takes up all your time. At some point, you gotta decide, well, I’m gonna do that, and really go all in. So…I am.”

Catch both Rob Gabriel and John Fishell’s full stories on their Living On Music With Steve Houk episodes on You Tube and most major podcasts.

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