Last weekend, I was invited by Don and Jill Seagraves to open a show for Tom Pacheco at their new House Concert Series, Peace of Mind.
The time leading up to the show was a little nerve wracking. I couldn't get people to commit to coming..... many had gigs of their own, or they were not interested in traveling to Sheffield, MA to see me when I am pretty available many weekends right here.... and no spending cover charges or high gas prices to do so. Most of my friends and fans had never heard of Tom, so that was not a draw either.
Don and Jill were not having their phone ring off the wall with reservations either. There was some discussion about cancelling the show all together when a few reservations started to trickle in and a few rusties let it be known that they were traveling distances to come for the chance to party with other rusties and hear some new music!!
I am SO glad we continued with the show. First of all, Tom and his manager Nancy and roadman Fred, were great people! Very comfortable, interesting, and very very nice to me. And Tom writes amazingly good songs, telling interesting stories and singing them with conviction and skill. His guitar playing is excellent and he puts on a show that will keep you listening and laughing and tapping and feeling.
Second of all, it was a fantastic experience for me. Tom was very pleasant to me, listening to my entire set with an occasional nod and frequent smile, and even mentioned me during his show!! At first it was very very odd to actually have people LISTENING to my songs, INTENSELY. Most often, playing bars, or coffee shops or farmers markets, people experience what I do as background to their conversations. It took me by such surprise, and made me feel so self conscious, that I mentioned it from the 'stage'..... and got some laughs.... AND a lot of relaxation. I learned that YES, just be WHO YOU ARE, talk like you do every other day and time, and present the songs as if they are stories these people never heard before. Just be myself, not an 'act', not a 'show', just ME. I felt vulnerable on that stage, and realized that what I was really feeling was OPEN to the music, and singing it from my gut, where it lives, instead of from my head or my throat or my fingers.
And I saw people respond. I could tell by their expressions, how they nodded and moved to the songs, that I was doing what I dreamed of doing for folks at a show..... I was taking them on a journey of stories and thoughts and feelings, and they were coming with me and enjoying the trip.....
What an amazing experience.
Thank you, Don and Jill.
Thank you, Tom and Fred and Nancy.
Thank you, audience.
Thank you, music!!!