I have begun hosting an open mic in Geyserville, the little town I live in. Someone asked last why and how I could fit this one-more-thing into my already jam-packed life. I answered that this was fun, and that I’d do it until I couldn’t. Fun is important and not overrated. Fun is the breath of life, and those who are not working at something that makes them feel as if they are breathing in this breath of life, are people who are just biding their time on this planet.
My idea is to sing a few songs, to get things started, and then let the other performers get their time to share their stuff, let that morph into a jam-session, and then, if there’s time, to close out the gig. So far folks seem to like the format. It’s strictly acoustic/electric with no drums so the volume is down and tolerable. which opens it up to folks who like music but don’t like the volume of heavy rock.
Anyway, last night there was a young woman there who I had not seen before. She yelled and hollered after each song I sang, and if it was an old song, shouted out the songwriter/performer of the original hit. WOW! I was impressed, I’ll tell you. That sort of thing just doesn’t happen to me that often.
We got to talking after the show, and she told me that she was brought up on Country Music, then as she got older, she gravitated to the music of her age, but as she has grown up she has gone back to the music of her childhood–old time country. She said that she discovered that Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell, Johnny Horton were at the hub of most all Rockabilly, Modern Country, and Americana. She’s right!
I would, however add a few more names for those of my readers who would like to hear some really great, really old music. I’ll begin with Jimmy Rogers, the Singing Brakeman. Rogers wrote the music many early performers such as Gene Autry, and Bill Boyd performed. While you’re at it try finding some early Gene Autry. Charlie Musselwhite gave me a CD of Autry’s Cowboy Blues tunes that were recorded in 1929.
Last year I shared the stage with Patrick Skiffleton, and to our great surprise, we discovered that we both had a Bill Boyd and His Cowboy Ramblers fixation. Which, I might add, is not a bad fixation. Bill Boyd‘s rendition of Rogers’ “Desert Blues,” which he called “Windswept Desert“, was one of the first songs I learned. After, Woody Guthrie‘s, “Oklahoma Hills,” of course. Third was Guthrie’s “Ramblin’ Round,” the tune he stole from Huddy Ledbetter.
Hmmm! This hub is strong, well greased, and is the center for every song that I sing–or write for that matter.