Originally published on the website The Bluegrass Situation
Walking up the steps of old 1604 8th Avenue South on my first day of work at Thirty Tigers over three years ago, the very first thing I saw was an office window. In that window was a gigantic poster of the cover of Miles Davis’ album Kind of Blue. That was Bob Goldstone’s office. I thought to myself “good sign.”
You have to understand something: Thirty Tigers is an incredibly fast-paced, lean, powerful machine. The staff there puts in the type of hours you’d equate to a doctor in residency. We spent most of our days and the majority of our nights together. That was my life for last three years. We were TIGHT. Some of that crew has been working together for over a decade. It’s more than a job over there, it’s a ship on a holy fucking mission, and Bob was firmly positioned at the front of the helm. He was the greatest champion of up-and-coming artists that are now household names: The Avett Brothers, Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, St. Paul and The Broken Bones…just a few of the bands that went from obscurity to stardom under his loyal watch.
Many of my former colleagues have mentioned this, but Bob set me straight on many occasions. When I bought my new (to me) car, I complained about something and said that I was surely getting screwed over by the dealership. He quickly and sternly told me to STOP. Call the dealer. Figure it out. They will do you right. You see, the root of all that reaction was because I didn’t have trust in my heart…but Bob did. His heart was filled with goodness and light and great vibes, and with all that comes clarity and self-awareness. He knew what was up, and he wasn’t going to let you get away with a bad attitude. The people who call you out on your shit do that because they give a damn. Those are the people who love you, who want you to be your best self. Sometimes it was hard to hear, but I always walked away thinking he cared enough to say something.
There isn’t one person in that organization that asked me “how are you doing?” more…and with earnest. I think many times he asked he did so because he sensed the answer was maybe not good, and he’d close his office door and listen to me. The constant advice was “it’s all going to work out.” He had faith in the organization and the process…and he just plain had encompassing faith. And faith is infectious. It helped me get through many tough decisions and choices.
I left Thirty Tigers for a new career opportunity at the end of last year. It was the right choice and a wonderful opportunity for me, but the hardest transition was walking into a new office with new people. It’s like the first day of Kindergarten in a new town. I dearly missed my old co-workers. The person I kept running into after I left the company the most was Bob, always boisterous and joyus. The last time I saw Bob was at the City Winery about a month ago. Big hug…talk of my new job…how happy I looked. “I am so happy for you.” And he meant it.
Back to the beginning…that first day of work. I will forever think of Bob when I hear “So What” from Kind of Blue. That iconic poster in his window. And how many times did I hear that song radiate from his office? It seemed like his song, and the sirens call for me to come and sit in his chair and say hello, or confess, or vent. I know when I hear it now, I will forever think of him: the person who cared enough to set me straight, to ask my how I was doing, and to be of such generous heart to always put the happiness of others at the top of his list.
BMLB (Be More Like Bob)
– Katy Kirby