It was a slow OM at Godfrey’s tonight due to the icy conditions during the daytime. But, good folks and friends turned out, as always, with Dina, Mance, Mike, Sam, Matt, Leon, Bill and others.
Tonight I decided to do my two song set on mandolin. The ole Gibson had been treating me nicely recently, so I thought it interesting to put down the guitar and strike out on the mando.
I wanted to do a vocal tune and an instrumental so I pulled up The Crawl, a drinking ballad that I can do strongly with just a solo mandolin. But (but!), I did the 4th verse second while I was thinking about my not-quite-in-tuning. So, I semi-recovered by doing the 2nd, 3rd and final verse in line. It sure changed the storyline. But, once again, folk music can set you free, and I thought: 1. who’s gonna know? 2. it almost made sense. 3. I’m among friends at a Godfrey’s Open Mike.
I followed with my Voodoo Chile, and though it was somewhat scattered (again tuning) it was fun to do for these folks here tonight. I like this fusion of Hendrix, Afro-pop, Celtic and Appalachian to bend people’s minds as to what folk music is. It’s also fun to play on this 94 year-old instrument. And I’m extremely lucky to have this Gibson in my hands.
It only goes to show what TUNING means to a performer who cares about these things. It really changes the perception and comfort in playing the instrument and can lead to brain-freezes and distraction. Thanks to modern tuners, some of that angst is dispelled. But there’s nothing like ‘in the moment’ problems that create less-than-optimum performances.
It’s always something different and challenging that make this quite a trip. The internal mind games we performers (not just musicians) have to deal with make for creative choices not recognized by the audience.