Tuesday, December 2, 2014
It was still floundering, and I have one more session left, but for all intents and purposes, it died.
I really didn't want to do it. I loved hosting at Rev. It was a coffee house, with an assortment of living room type furniture in several rooms set up in railroad car style. As I was fond of saying, it was like hosting a jam at home, but I didn't have to worry about cleaning or cooking or drunk folk or anything, just gather, smile, and provide an atmosphere conducive to music making. It was fun, rewarding, musical, friendly, welcoming..... I was real proud of what that that circle was, the role it had in the community, the musical collaborations born there, the friendships started.
Then ASCAP said NO. I looked frantically for a place that already paid ASCAP.
And, Red Dot said, Ok, you can come here.
I have had some great times there. Memorial moments. Having the whole bar singing old folk songs, harmonizing with the owner, playing on the patio, having a professional musician share his stuff with us. But lately, no one shows. Or we attract people whose music just doesn't easily fit together, and it feels more like work than fun. Seems like the magic left.
I LOVE playing with other people. I happen to think that music is a team sport.... and when people play together, there is something that happens in that space, and it can only happen at that moment in time with those folks present. That is where the healing is, the connection, the reason.
Now, I also love working on a song, solo or with a team (band) (folks) and taking a song and learning it and developing it and making it sound RIGHT. Love that too. I think maybe, now is the time for me to focus a little more on that....
But sitting with a group of people, playing a song you have never played before, trying out a harmony line or fill on the guitar, fitting a sound into a space that adds to the texture, and everyone 'on the same page', so to speak. Ah. That is close to heaven. It fills my need to be spontaneous, creative, and collaborative.... and I love hearing what other people bring to the tune-- new ideas for old songs.
That is what I loved about song circle.
I knew that I would get my dose of Jam every week. But not lately. And it was depressing to wait for the fun to return :(
So, I killed it.
But now I look forward to what the next part of my musical journey will be. Developing my solo act? Getting a band together? Song circle in another format, another place? I don't know, but I am sure I will head somewhere..... and it will be an adventure, it will be fun, and it will be creative and musical and something to share out.....
This winter, I will search for my next path....
(In complete disclosure....We also met at Hudson Opera House, and we get a fair turnout there, but, due to administrative constraints, we can no longer have the space)
Wow. Am I glad that I did THAT!!
What a kind, welcoming, talented group of people I met .... i completely and thoroughly enjoyed making music, and listening to others make music, with these folks!!!
Another thing to be thankful for.... I've added it to my bouquet of thanks.....
The day before, I hung around the house. Puttered here and there. And finally it was time to go to the gig.
The gig was a private benefit, and I was asked to perform by a friend of mine who actually asks me to help out on a lot of musical projects, mostly benefits. For some reason, I am never at my best at the things he asks me to do. As a matter of fact, it seems that I just can't pull it off. I should be able to. I have been doing this a long time now. Yes, I still get nervous, fearful, stage frightened, but i just shrug it off. I don't pay attention. I don't let it own me. I know that I have to forget the ME and concentrate 100% on just letting the music come through me... the music is the main thing. That almost always works for me these days.
But not usually when i work for this certain man, and I can't tell you why. And this day was no different. I sang 'Wagon Wheel' and that was fine. Then I wanted to do 'I Got You Babe'. Couldn't find my start note. Couldn't find the melody!!! Wow, I sing this song all the time, what is wrong??? I stopped, made a joke and restarted, but it wasn't much better.
Later, after the presentation, I sang some more off mic, which was ok, but I couldn't GET into it, if you understand me. My friend complimented me (a rare occurrence!!! and much treasured......). Later, he even thanked me via email and implied he would call me the next time something comes along..... and my other friend gave me some other excuses i could use....
But there is no excuse. I don't know why that sometimes happens. It happens less these days, but it still happens, and so, when it does, it really really really gets me down.
So Sunday, the next day, I was invited to a jam. I had indicated I would come, and they were expecting me. I have known about this gathering for a while, wanted to go, but felt really shy about it. I have been invited to other musical gatherings where I knew no one..... sometimes, it seems more like I was invited so I could listen to others play, not so that I could participate.... and that is ok, but a dissappointment if I thought i was going to make music with some new folk!
The last one had been this past summer, and most of my time there, I felt like a fish out of water... I didn't know anyone, and they all knew each other. There was a few people who play together quite a bit, who just kept playing and playing, and would throw the ball at me but take it right back, later making comments like, 'we don't want to be the only ones playing', while they just kept going, not giving much opportunity for others to give a song. No one was mean or impolite, and I was likely overly shy, but, still, the feeling of not belonging was very strong.....
So, it was with that background that I ventured nearly an hour south, by my self, to the Victorian Session. I had gotten directions, I got assurances that YES, they really wanted me, and I easily found the property. But there were several buildings. Some cars, but not a 'group of cars up by the house'.
I tried texting, calling, facebook, but I didn't have a good enough connection. So I went up to the house. The man at the door said, I don't know if they are having it today!!! He also said, they usually don't start til 4 (the announced start time was 1!!). So I left and went to town and had a bite to eat....
Just as I was heading out of the driveway, the folks, who had been visiting at another place on the property, came out, and saw me drive away.
The host facebooked, Come back!, but I didn't have reception and didn't see it.....
So, I went to town. I ate. I seriously contemplated heading home.
But I went back. I was warmly greeted. One of the hosts, as soon as I had my guitar on, wisely asked me to play a song he had seen me play at an open mic (i did not know him at the time....). I did it, it felt good, and I was asked to play another, which I passed on, deferring to the other folks who wanted to lead a song. But he asked me to play another song, pretty soon. And another. And I was feeling very very welcomed and very very appreciative of the musicianship that existed in that room. And privileged to be a part of it. The music being made there was simply SO good and SO much fun..... the comradeship!! It fed my soul to be in that room, listening to and making music.
I was so excited, that listening to the tapes, I was loud and obnoxious and talkative and laughing.... but if you know me, i guess you know all that too.... at one point, I think I was thinking about this being 'home' in some sense, making music with people I just met! ....But I know that most of my home-feeling-situations, involves making music.... and, again, that reminds me that music is a connection between people. Sometimes a profound connection, sometimes just comfortable..... but a connection. Always.
Another item in my bouquet of thanks.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Wow. Flying home now. Thinking of a lot of things. Thinking about good friends from far away and fun times. Let me talk a little bit about that here. I am going to try to NOT use names, for fear of leaving someone out.
I have watched Neil Young a LOT. 109 shows and counting, as well as innumerable videos- solo, with bands he works with and one offs, such as joining someone on stage at the Bridge School Benefits.
People often remark that when he enters a group, the energy level increases, the musicianship skyrockets and he takes it all up a few hundred levels or so. LOL. This year at BSB, I watched carefully. Smiling, he approaches the other musicians on stage and almost HANDS them some energy, with his playing and his dancing and his smile. The people playing with him start to respond. There is a palpable increase in everyones ability to put the music out there, in a way that touches the players and the audience. Lesson one.
When Neil plays a show, there is always a reason behind what he is doing, what songs and stories he uses, even the shirts he wears. The entire show is a piece of art. Lesson two.
I think that art is the expression of the human truth that we live, the common and utter truth of being a person. Everytime Neil is on stage, he tells the truth about life as he sees it, what is on his mind about the world and the way things are. Telling the truth is Lesson three.
Neil sings the songs he believes in at the time, and for that reason we can believe them too. Lesson four.
I once heard a story from a man who played the warm up band for neil. He said that Neil told them to play for the people in the parking lot, make the sound big through how you use your energy that way. Lesson five.
Dont listen to the critics, don't listen to your friends, don't listen to other people about your art. Listen only to the muse, she is your artististic spirit guide. As Ryan Adams once said, Just Make Art. Lesson six. And I am sure there are more....
Monday, October 6, 2014
Last night I remembered why I follow this man. Why I call him my musical hero.
Neil comes out on stage and sings his heart out. We forgive his numerous mistakes. They seem to make him a little more human than you usually think your hero's should be. But he believes, and makes you believe, that music is important and powerful and necessary for life. That art and life are inseparable. That there is healing in the singing of songs that are truth for your life. That music itself is a living, breathing thing that would be silent if not for the person who lets it come through them, to the ears of the listener.
And that action creates a bond that is like no other.
Inspired. We were lifted last night, through those amazing sounds, delivered from the heart, to a very special place.
Thank you Neil.
Sunday, July 6, 2014
An amazing songwriter.
And, starting tomorrow, I am going to spend three days getting everything about songwriting that I can from him. I wish I felt more prepared. I wish I felt healthier (I have some sort of stomach bug that is kicking my backside). I wish my muse would return.
I haven't written a song that found its way to the public ear for a year. I have spent a bit of time this week, trying to find melodies and words and ideas worthy of being repeated over and over again, because that is what I think is necessary in a song.
So, am I going to be only person in the room without a song?? LOL. Or not.
Today, I search for the muse.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
'Nope, I am not, tonight is my hundredth show'
'Well, thank you'
'No, thank YOU'
..... as he signs his name, prints in large letters, THANKS and pauses....
'What is your name?'
I laugh as I say 'Marilyn', but it is right in front of you, so you can even spell it right'
And i realized, i had hardly looked up into his face. Just glanced to see the smile. Afraid of his eyes, those very piercing eyes that seem to look right into you, even in pictures. But I got to touch THE HAND. If you are a crazy fanatical fan of an artist, you will understand....
Happy one hundred shows!
..... and he hands me a cd.
I read the paper that covers it... it is a copy of last night's show! THANK YOU DAVE!
Rusties are the best, most generous, thoughtful, people in the world.
This is a stranger?..... nope, just a friend I never seen. Lol.
But gesh. I thought I was entertaining folks, at least everyone I saw around me. Oh, well. And then, I get approached a bit later by a couple of women who were willing to get security called if I wasn't allowed to play them a request (No, please, lets not cause trouble), and then a young man who would not take 'no, you can NOT play my guitar', as an answer!
SO.....Time for me to say goodnight! ... and *I* disappeared.
Sunday, April 6, 2014
The Peint o Grwr in Chatham, NY is a local pub that has a variety of musical offerings throughout any given year. One of the longest running and most community oriented nights is their Open Mic, run by Pat. As each musician comes in, they are greeted heartily by the others. It is a celebratory mood, and we celebrate making music and seeing each other. It sort of feels like a homecoming. And then, there are the regular listeners, all happy to be there, chatting to each other, but always noticing when the song ends, to encourage the performer with some appreciative noise. And, there is a house band, a talented group of folks who can hold down the sound with tasty bass lines and spice up the music with wonderful fills and great solos....
This Open Mic has it all..... friendship, networking, house band that makes it all sound GREAT!!! Wonderful to play at, and wonderful to listen to....
Foregoing my own songwriting, I decided to choose easy to play (less challenging for the house band), well known (less challenging for the audience) songs, so I did Dead Flowers, Wagon Wheel and Rocking in the Free World..... and ROCKED OUT!!! Wendy helped out with some fantastic harmonies, Pat gave me really delicious guitar solos, and the bass player (sorry! his name escapes me at the moment, it sure is tough getting old!!) held us all together with his excellent lines!!! What a wonderful, fulfilling, FUN performance!!! Thank you all.....
And the audience! So appreciative of the music, they make it a pure pleasure to play for them....
Finally, the other musicians!!! Again, my ability to remember names is not one of my strong points. There was a young woman who has her first NYC gig very soon, who has a great sound and interesting songs. Aaron, who I think grew up at this open mic, wowed us with his fantastic blues guitar and songs. Connie, who appears everywhere and is one of the pillars of the local musical community. Amy, who came with band and played us some wonderful sounds. Oh, and so very many more, the evening was chock full of music and laughter and good times.
Thank you Chatham, for hosting this monthly musical wonder......
Monday, March 31, 2014
This past Saturday we gathered together, all except one very key player, but we had the rhythm section complete. Drums and bass. What a difference in the sound!! We did six songs in 3 hours, and I think that we have something worth sharing.... A sound, a feel, and folks who can deliver it up....
Thank you to the the musicians who are working hard, making what I have in my head a reality. It is the most amazing thing, to hear your own songs coming to life.....
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Sunday, March 9, 2014
My yard is STILL covered in snow.
But there are signs of spring out there.....
Birds are flying and singing!!
People are on the move!!
We are saving Daylight again (LOL)!!
......and HUDSON BUSK is out in front of Mexican Radio, Hudson, NY, singing and playing for some happy passersby....