What is it?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Family....Mom, Marian, Muriel, Clifford

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Upcoming GIG

I will be opening for Jack Stafford on April 17th, 2010 in Sheffield, MA at the New Song House Concert. Hope to see you there!!

In the meantime, check out the following open mics that I have been going to and will continue to frequent:

-The Parlor, Mondays at 7:30, 800 Warren Street, Hudson, NY
-The Gypsy Joynt, Saturdays at 7:30, 389 Stockbridge Rd, Great Barrington, MA
-The Peint o Gwrw, first saturday of the month, Main Street Chatham, NY

Hope to see you!!!

Neil Young & Dave Matthews - Sings for Hope For Haiti

These guys get the power of music....

Neil Young On Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien on Final Show "Long May You Run"

neil lost his good friend LA Johnson yesterday

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Open Mic at The Parlor

Last night I attended an Open Mic at Parlors in Hudson. The atmosphere is of a laid back coffeehouse, with antiqued mismatched furniture, upholstered chairs and people half my age....

I had 'visited' the OM last week and there were several folks there who were more my peers, but last night....nope. My experience playing to younger people has been--they don't get me. I don't move them, my songs are the songs of an older woman (of course!!!).

So, I did play. The leader of the mic greeted me and offered me the first spot, which I declined per usual....but I took the second. The first person up was Liv Carrow. She is really a great songwriter, singer and performer.....NOT the person for me to follow!!! LOL....

But, she finished and I got up. Did my usual switching words, forgetting words, messing up chords, but covered pretty darn well for most of it....People listened carefully, a couple of guys 'whoa!'ed when I ended a song (per their usual) and everyone clapped. Politely. I saw a couple of foot tappers, elicited a couple smiles, bombed on every 'joke', including funny lines in the songs (It felt to me like maybe they didn't know if they *should* laugh...).

I left the stage feeling like a failure. I hung around though, and watched the other performers....most of them more talented than me (honestly). I also watched the response of the audience to the other players....and in most cases, they listened, whoa'ed and politely clapped for each musician/poet/reader, just like they did for me....

I had a facebook conversation about it all, and people made some good suggestions about having 'lines' to go on stage with that always 'work'. But the fact remains.....I EXPECTED a certain response from the audience and when I didn't get it, I felt like a failure.

I have given this some thought.....Do I have a right to EXPECT anything from an audience? They were a great audience in that they listened to me....something I hear a lot of people complain about the lack of in most of the situations they play in. Why didn't that satisfy me?

Because I didn't MOVE them in a way that I SAW.....I didn't make them physically move and interpreted that as a lack of emotional movement, a lack of touching them with my music. But, as Theresa pointed out on facebook....I really don't know how or if I affected anyone, last night or by extension, any time I play....

So, do I play for me? Or do I play for them? Or do I play for me and then by extension, them??

I was disappointed in my performance because I wanted to get them moving and with me and I didn't accept their quiet, polite appreciation as valid....That was Not Fair to me and Not Fair to them......

I am also beginning to realize that I look for fast music to get people moving during my performance because that is what FEELS GOOD to me, and I have recently only valued slower, more introspective music for the 'rest time' needed in between 'up time's..... I am not taking advantage of the differences in audiences, ie bar crowd vs dinner crowd vs coffeehouse crowd....and not giving them permission to take what I offer the way they want....

Time for me to get refocused on THE MUSIC and what IT wants to say through me, and less on the THE ACT.....That is the lesson of the day (AGAIN!!!!)-----Focus on the music and the act will take care of itself.....

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Brothers in Arms - Dire Straits

This video is one of my all time hauntingly, terribly, beautiful.....what got me paying attention to Mark Knopfler....

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Open Mic at the Peint O Gwrw

I finally played at 'The People's Open Mic' in Chatham, NY. I have checked it out, signed up, brought my guitar and for one reason or another not played several times before. But last night I played....and had a great time!!

Perhaps many times we carry our perceptions and that colors our experiences in ways that we can not know. I think that my past experiences at this open mike were that way....I had always felt a sort of ire coming from the audience towards folks on that stage that were not professional level....and that scared me!!! I play for fun and joy, not perfection....and when I sense that the spirit in a venue is not supportive and encouraging of efforts, I fear that I will surely fail....

Last night was different. First of all, I felt 'included' because I called the leader of the OM and got on the list (sign-up at the venue and you won't get on until waaaaay after 11pm). Then I called my best buddy Todd who is soooo cool and supportive (the kind of guy that says just the right thing at just the right time), and he said, yeah, let's go!!! (I also called a few other folks who didn't show....too bad!)

When we got there, there was a table near to the fire, but situated away from the flow of people and we grabbed that and our beers. I did check to see if I were on the list, but did not know who, out of the mass of folks milling about instruments and amps and bar and tables, was the host of the proceedings. My spot was fourth from the beginning.

I saw and greeted Roberta, a frequent face at open mics who sings mostly blues and needs instrumental back up....the band did her well. As we sat and talked, I noticed Steve, another old friend that I played with quite a bit in the Berkshires, and he joined us at the table. I started to feel like I had quite a few friends in the crowd and started to relax....

My turn. I take the time to be sure that my mic was placed at the right angle for my comfort and technique. I had my words with me. They plugged in my guitar and I knew it worked because I tested it at home with my new Christmas gift from Nan....a battery tester that you plug into the guitar!!! Great idea!!! I was actually prepared!

I said something about HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!, reminded the crowd of who I was, and started to play a song I wrote with Karen Barry, 'Candy'.

Almost immediately, a string (DARN ELIXERS!!!!) popped, but I kept playing on, because....

The crowd was hopping, bopping, and looking like they were surely enjoying themselves. Most people were talking and laughing, but as I played, I could see that many stopped and paid a bit of attention before returning to their chatting.....and that just fueled me. My next song was 'Dancing Tonight'.  I introduced the song, and asked people how they felt as someone came up and changed my cable (which made the guitar fade in and out) and started to play....

This time I noticed that some of the women in front were listening and smiling (and hopping, swaying and during the next pause, I said that I had written those two songs and, as a matter of fact, this one too, and played 'What is It'. The women started to really dance, just at the end of the song....

But, my time was up, I stopped and left the stage. Errors? Plenty!!! Forgotten lyrics?? SURE!!! Loads of fun??? YOU BET!!!!

We stayed for a bit after that.....several great bands played rock, classic rock and blues. It was a really fine evening....I will CERTAINLY do that again!!!