My final gig on Wednesday fell on my lap when Ron Anthony mentioned that there was a good open mike in Seymour, CT, somewhat on my way home from Northford to PA. I got there around 8 pm or so and Ron was pacing the pavement outside the coffee shop. He was worried that I wouldn’t make it and had been talking me up to folks who ran the shop. He had arranged for me to play when I got there, so I quickly unpacked my guitar, said hello to several old CT open mikers waiting outside on the porch, tuned up and hit the stage.
I was somewhat whipped from the long day but felt confident that I could nail my three songs. This venue actually has attracted a fairly hip audience so I had a fertile crowd to play for. Plus, Frank and Ron were in the audience.
I did Don’t Call Me Early as an opener, encouraged the folk to sing along, including a guy who had to go to work at 5 am the next day. I was conversational as well as insistent in their singing along. It worked.
I followed with the Vegetable Song, suggested by Frank, and it worked well, especially when the vocal trombone kicked in, again surprising the new audience. A few folks even chimed in with my trombone.
As I was deciding on my next song, Dave, the proprietor, asked me to add “Baby Shark” after my last song. I was really surprised to be in a completely new venue and have the bass ask for this really obscure song. I initially declined (my hip doesn’t allow the physicality necessary for a proper presentation) but quickly said you bet, sir.
I finished with it, and though I did it from a stool, it rolls out as a great story with nice twists and turns, hand motions that engage and surprise. I thanked the crowd and the venue for being so nice. I meant it, too.
There were several teachers in the audience, including Dave, who teaches fourth grade. I handed out cards and CDs to several folks who were interested in me coming to play in their local schools.
I was quite glad that I took Ron up on his invitation, not only for the potential of returning as a feature act and for some school work as well. But what buoyed my long ride home to Bethlehem was the experience of playing a killer set of music in front of a room of new people.