WOW! I think I’ve dun died and gone to songwriter’s heaven! I’ve got this twice a month gig at a wine lounge called Wicked Wines in Healdsburg, CA, owned by Steven Moore. Steven and I discovered we had similar goals: He to have some music in his shop that did not cause riots, and me to have a place where I could work out some new chops, learn some new material, and have a home for the winter. I am playing there on the first and third Fridays through April.
I began by competing for a date with musicians who play loud and amplified, but it turned out that he didn’t have a license to have amplified music in his shop, and couldn’t afford one just yet, and had to shut down the music. I told him that I could play and sing with no amplifier, just my vocals and a guitar with no problem. It’s just like the days in the late 1960s when I first started out in the coffee houses around Sacramento, CA. Another plus is that it is an early gig. I begin my act at 7:00 pm, and close up at 9:00 pm, so I have time to get out and check out the rest of the music scene in the area.
This gig, I am finding out is great for my fan base around Northern Sonoma County. People are coming in to hear me. They are remembering my songs and asking for me to sing them when they come in. These people are young, many in their twenties and thirties, and some forties and fifties, but mostly in their early thirties. I have to say, this is great for my ego. They listen and talk, interact, with me. It’s just kool!
This past Friday after I finished my gig and packed up I went over to another venue where they have an open mic with a karaoke program from 9:30 pm on. I check out the karaoke because I find great voices, and really good talent for my demos at them.
I left my guitar in the truck so I wouldn’t intrude on what was going on inside and went on in. I no sooner got in the door than the MC started yelling that I was there and asked me if I would do a couple of numbers, and I told him that no, I wouldn’t, that I was just there to check out the scene. Looking right at me he started to tell the crowd that I would be playing as soon as they set up for me, and he wouldn’t take no for an answer. So I went back out the the truck and got my guitar and harps.
I want to go on record that I absolutely love being loved! As far as I am concerned, it is as good as it gets. Performance is what songwriting is all about for me. I began writing because I wanted songs to sing that were relevant to and for me. It turned out that what was relevant for me was relevant for others as well. I learned harmonica to back up my folksy/bluesy friends who needed somebody to fill in some holes in the music. I learned guitar because I needed to write songs. At the time performance was far from my mind, and when I started performing, that was extremely evident. Jeeze, but I was bad! Now performing my material is as natural as breathing–and as necessary.
But with all that said I do not, ever, want to take stage where my performance is going to upstage amateurs, who are at these things and are trying to build confidence. When I get on stage, I pull out all the stops, and give my best to those listening. Yet, while I was reluctant to go up front and play, I still didn’t protest too strongly when I was asked. Fans are indeed fans, and they need to be respected.
So, I played some new material I am working up for a CD. The music drew them in and turned them on. At one point they joined in an a repeatable chorus. All stuff that makes my songwriter’s heart go pitter patter. My life is good, and sometimes It just gets better! People singing along with your original music IS like going to songwriter’s heaven! Can I get an amen? AMEN!