Steve Driscoll had his first professional gig at the age of 13 while growing up on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Since he’s lived in Grand Forks, he’s been a member of the Jordan River Band, Jedd Zeppelin, and Flat Broke. He’s also been on the Fire Hall Theater stage many times.
Steve’s still got the music in him but at the moment it’s on the back burner as he awaits a kidney transplant that will take place in Rochester, Minn. In the meantime, his son Josh Driscoll, who was destined to follow in his dad’s footsteps, is at the family musical helm with his step mom, Jeani Driscoll.
Tuesday night (Oct. 29) backstage in the Empire Arts Center, downtown Grand Forks, Josh, a self-taught local bluegrass musician, will team up with Jeani to present what they’ve titled, “The Love of a Good Family.” It’s a benefit to help the Driscoll family with the many medical expenses on their horizon. Other musicians joining in are Margaret Brack and Ron Franz.
Empire doors open at 6 p.m. and the music begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Call the Empire at: (701) 746-5500. Box office hours are week days from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Previous to the flood of 1997, you may have been among those who heard Steve and Jeani singing and playing guitar from the front porch of their home on Cottonwood Street in Grand Forks. They’ve also played at the Urban Stampede.
Although Jeani enjoys performing, her love is teaching “non-singers” to sing. Years ago, she started the class, “Singing in the Shower,” in East Grand Forks. Since then, she has taught the class in both the Boston, Mass., and St. Louis, Mo., areas. She’s even been featured in the Boston Globe.
During Tuesday night’s show, Jeani and Josh, accompanied by Margaret and Ron, will take turns playing some of their old favorites, each in their own styles. They also will do at least one old family favorite together: “The Boxer” by Paul Simon.
If Steve’s energy holds up, he will accompany Jeani on the first song of the evening on the ”Cajun,” a small box-shaped drum he and his step-son, Chris Battle, made together.
Not wanting to be left out, another of Steve’s sons, Jason Driscoll, a local chef, will provide three of his well-known cheesecakes for auction.
The Driscolls are extremely grateful to Medicap Pharmacy, Scott’s Music Store, Grease Monkey, and Conlin’s Furniture, who are very generously sponsoring the Tuesday night event.
More about Steve
Steve has sung, played piano, guitar, bass, drums and flute. After his first stroke, eight years ago, he found it difficult to continue playing guitar, so he decided to focus more on his abilities as a self-taught sound engineer. He was able to maintain his singing voice until a second stroke left him unable to speak, swallow or walk.
While medical staff questioned whether Steve would ever be able to return home, he worked hard, spending three months in rehab in order to regain his abilities to swallow, speak, and walk. Being aware that singing is sometimes used to help stroke survivors regain their speech, Jeani encouraged Steve to sing the words that he was unable to speak – and it worked.
Although his singing voice has not fully recovered, “yet,” he says, Steve is able to function quite well and keeps busy enjoying his family as well as his e-bay business.
A brittle diabetic with high blood pressure, two strokes, and multiple episodes of congestive heart failure, Steve’s kidneys failed in April 2013 and he was placed on dialysis. Although it was certainly a shock and a set-back, the Driscolls were surprised and grateful that Steve’s congestive heart failure cleared up when he started dialysis.
The improvement in the functioning of Steve’s heart brought new hope. Within a short time, the Driscoll family decided to pursue a kidney transplant through the Mayo Clinic. Having started the initial evaluation process, Mayo doctors are hopeful that Steve will be able to receive an improved level of health and quality of life through this process.
Let’s fill the Empire on Tuesday night – for the love of Steve and for the love of music. You do know, don’t you, that music is medicine? .