I recently bought a 1970 Harmony acoustic guitar, and fixed it up. It needed tuners, pick-guard, saddle, and a pick-up, plus cleaning and a lot of scraping to get off excess glue and gook. I got it fixed up and decided to take it to a local open mic to try it out. If you haven’t figured this out, I really like open mics. This one is in a town close by and the owner really supports local talent and especially young and beginning musicians. The talent-quotient is low and so are expectations put on those who find the courage to perform. I do not usually go here simply because I get more attention than I need, and I feel it takes away from those who are sprouting their musical wings. In any case I showed up with my brand new piece-of-crap guitar to see if it would work in public. It did!
In the course of events, a group of high school seniors showed up to try out their ability to perform as a band. They had practiced, and they felt it was not time to try their luck in public. They were nervous, it seemed that they would never get their guitars in tune, they hemmed and hawed, but by damn, when they got around to the music part they were good. Actually, they were a helluva lot better than some of the adults who had proceeded them. I was impressed. I mean really impressed.
I had done a three-song set earlier, and figured I was done for the night, but this club thinks I’m the cat’s pajamas, so they asked me back for an encore. Wow, right after those kids, who had filled the room with their friends and family and teachers. I had been meditating on the fact that when I was in high school all my teacher seemed to be my parents age, and now these teachers seem to be the age of my own kids, and the young performers were younger that my oldest granddaughter—YIKES!
I was also thinking that it might be a really bad idea for me to follow these kids, with half a senior class in the room who had come out to see their friends play, but there was no saying, “no.” So I bit the bullet (a 45-90) and went up to face my doom. What happened next just stunned me. The kids loved it!
I had a room full of high school seniors clapping in time to the music, and screaming right along with me. There were two little girls (I think 17 or 18), who stood out in front and kept asking me to play more songs that featured my harmonica–holy crap!!!
I played some of my songs, some Carl Perkins, a number that Jimmy Logston and Vic McAlpin wrote and these kids ate it up! In the end I was truly blessed. I realized that Rockabilly lives on. Rockabilly was in the hearts of kids when it began, and regardless of the music kids in our own time like, love and listen too, it seems that there is still an explosion deep in their hearts when they hear the melodies and feel the rockin’ beat of Rockabilly.
I left Friday night thinking, “Rockabilly is here to stay,” and damn but that feels good to me!