Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Song Circle

After much much thought, I killed the Song Circle. The one that I have been hosting for a few years now, in Hudson.

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)

Victorian Sessions

Sunday, I stuffed my fears into a bottle, and left them on the shelf in the closet while I ventured into a group of musicians that I did not know.... yet.

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.