I had planned on heading down to Andy’s Jam, but, after the Lehigh gig, I was more than ready to perform for a mature audience, though in a bar situation. My friend Nadine greeted me and said that she had a bag of frozen leftovers for me, something she’s promised for months. What is it about women who feel they need to feed me? I’m fine with that, though.
I got to back up my friend Dave Turner on mandolin for a funky old blues/ragtime piece. I eventually figured out the tune, which I should have known earlier. But, it was great to add my Yank Rachel chops to his nice fingerpicking.
Since I followed Dave and I had mandolin in hand (and in tune!) I started my three song set with Voodoo Chile/Irish Spring and though I didn’t play it as good as I have, it caught people’s attention and the fairly noisy crowd started to tune in. (This is the big challenge at this gig – quiet the room)
I had Andy bring my guitar up while I did my mando tune and I strapped it on for the next two songs. I came around to do False From True next, though I had my doubts about doing such a pulled-back blues at the bar. Actually, it worked because of how far back it was, and the quality of the folks who sat in. I laid it out, off mike, that it was two chords and quiet. They all responded, the words were up front (as they should be for a Pete Seeger blues) and it succeeded in bringing the audience in. Several nods at the right places from the players in the crowd.
I finally got the chance to try out Long Way Home, the Stevie Winwood masterpiece, that I’ve been woodshedding over the last two months. It is deceptively simple and complicated so I wondered how I could navigate the changes and leads among the players. Andy and Mitch, the bass player, knew the tune so it turned out nicely, even with a late appearance of Charlie on sax. Again, it’s fun to deal with leading the song the and arrangement from off mike and trusting that the players will tune in. It had moments of chaos, but everyone on stage was listening intently. That’s what makes these leaps of faith wonderful. Great energy, and I think the audience senses the creative juices when they are flowing.
I took some chances with all three selections, connected with the audience and my fellow musicians, and drove home with a bag of Nadine’s leftover ‘Dinners for Single Male Folk Musicians’ in the car.
A good finish to a strange day.