I put together an ambitious evening of music, photos and videos celebrating the arc of my life as a folk musician. It came about when my friend Doug Roysdon gave me a Saturday slot as part of his Ice House Tonight series, and when it came up on my radar last month, I put together an idea for this particular show. I invited friends from my past bands and assembled a powerpoint presentation with the vast amount of images and photos I have amassed over the years. It seemed to have a historical narrative and could prove to be entertaining. It was, but it was an exhausting project worth doing since I now can do it again down the line.
I started with a list of my various bands, picked out a song from that time period, assembled the players available (there were several who couldn’t do it on such a tight time frame) and linked the songs with the visual projections. It turned out to be a good format.
Each slide gave me an opportunity to tell an interesting anecdote, add some good storytelling and humor to the show and then play a live song with a friend or two. I was able to play some videos of some gigs at the Philly Folk Festival and on PBS-TV to give some added diversity to the show. I was also able to build to the material I’m doing for my new CD Troubadour with a nice cast of live musicians.
The fly in the ointment that caused some stress was an intermittent drop out of the speakers that developed 15 minutes before the show. My sound system has become somewhat road-weary and it rose it’s ugly head just in time for this gig. The sound would cut in and out, depending on vibrations from the stage, and was often set off by tapping my foot. Do you know how hard it is for a musician not to tap his foot? But I also found pounding my foot would bring it back on. It was a constant battle.
I was lucky that there was a small and very forgiving audience in the house. Yes, it turned out that I was thankful for a small audience.
I did not do a good job of promoting the gig, especially in such a tight time frame of one month. But it turned out to be a successful way to put the show together for future events. I appreciated the support I got from my fellow musicians Chris Simmons, John Christie, Hub Willson, Jesse Grim, Michael Beaky and Harley Newman (sword swallower). They were all wonderful.
This was a seat-of-the-pants operation for me. I was in charge of sound, promo, production, etc. and was a little above my pay scale. But, as a friend said, no one left early and there was no snoring in the audience. I was told, “Your presentation was excellent because you are a good speaker, excellent performer, and it’s apparent where your heart really is because of your accomplishments. I was fascinated by all of the performances you chronicled.” Mission accomplished.