Godfrey Daniels Night at Mayfair.
This was a big one one several levels. I haven’t been asked to put together a night like this in a while, and I had to call on many folks to stretch themselves artistically and represent Godfrey’s to a listening audience. Every one stepped up big time, and how!
I invited four of Godfrey’s best open mikers to play. Originally I thought about four separate sets, but the ‘in the round’ concept seemed to be more entertaining and appropriate for a folk night. Rachel, Ed, Mike and Sam did a great job on their songs and intros. Nice to see the respect flow amongst them.
So very proud of these folks. Ed’s new song about South Side Sundays was spot on. Each has a special connection to the club and approach a folkie audience in wonderful and true ways.
And then, the All-Stars took the stage. I felt really comfortable doing this set, with Ansel and Kris familiar with my material, and their ability to back up Dina on here stuff, too. Thanks to Drop Box, we were all able to listen to her tunes ahead of time and jump on the songs live.
Perhaps the most delightful part of the evening was playing with Josh Kanusky on drums. He had never played with Kris, Ansel or myself, and only one gig with Dina. But we knew he had ‘ears’ and ‘chops’, being the drummer for the Dave Bromberg Band. David is the epitome of loose folk, so I knew Josh would be cool. He was. I didn’t have to think about him at all.
There was a snafu when Josh and I found out that there was no back line (drum set) at this stage. Luckily Josh had his snare, highhat and a ride cymbal but no bass drum. The sound man came up with a solution. He grabbed a 2×3 top to a road case (in nifty candy apple red!), shoved a mike underneath, and Josh used it as a stomp box. It was perfect and sounded great!
We did well backing Dina up – lots of mando for me – and Ansel knocked his leads out to applause from the crowd. I must say I got some claps after one of my mando lead. Feels good.
I did ‘Lessons from Pete’ solo, and it went well. Ansel followed with his harp solo that involved Amazing Grace plus a fiddle tune (major and minor versions!). What a pleasure for me to have him play on the same stage or hospital room with me. Kris did a solo piece, ‘Daddy’s Old Guitar’ as well as ‘Early Morning Rain’, a tune worth reviving, with the band. Kris enjoys backing my stuff up, so its nice to count on his support to put on a good show.
We finished up nicely with Green, Green Rocky Road and Dixie Chicken, a folkie and a funky rocker. I invited the Fab Four songwriters up to sing on the chorus’s and that was nice bow on the evening. They sang great, Ed added some nasty slide on DC, and it was a visual feast to see all my friends up on stage together, making some powerful music on the fly.
I’m lucky in that I am familiar with these ‘big stage’ situations, lights, sound, etc., but I’m sure that a few of these folks found it to be new territory. The adreline counts for a lot.
I was pleased that the evening held together as a fine evening of music. No real soft spots, and entertaining introductions and banter with the audience and all the good things that make for a nice evening of folk music at a festival.