I was tickled that my friend Craig invited me to be part of his acoustic band at this old vaudeville house in Jim Thorpe, up in the coal country of my people. Craig is as good a guitarist as there is and his band is cracker jack. He did this type of show in the spring at Godfreys and I had the chance to finish out that evening as his encore. I appreciated his faith in adding me to this show.
It was a 4 pm load in for an 8 pm show so there was a long sound check and a chance to run a few things by with Craig and the band. I brought my mandolin as well to play on a couple of tunes with the band.
I decided to do July with the band, seeing how it has some nice interplay among the fiddle and guitars, a simple chord progression that the guys would pick up easily, and it’s July. Craig offered another tune so I decided to do Lessons from Pete with just the two of us. It turned out to be a good choice.
When my slot came up early on, I went with Lessons first in order to break the band stuff up with our duet. Back stage before the set, I had to tell Craig not to feel like he had to jump in with his licks, and that I’d like to set up the song vocally and with my acoustic. And he did, but I knew he hates ‘dead’ air. He did a fine lead in the middle, and then we did an extended jam at the end, and I was able to set the dynamics on my guitar and he simple knocked the lead out of the park. Excellent applause after the solo and the end of the song. I actually delivered the lyrics satisfactorily.
We invited the band out for July and it came off pretty well though some of the leads were hesitant and the audience was a little sluggish singing. It wasn’t a folkie audience, to be sure, but we managed.
I moved to mandolin to accompany Craig on You Ain’t Going Nowhere and a Robert Johnson tune. It felt good to be a side man for a change and both tunes came off fat and nice. I then headed backstage for the rest of the evening, hung out with Dick Boak and the guys in the band and got to know them better.
Craig said he would pitch me to the folk booking the venue, and they said they would definitely find a spot as an opener. That was part of my plan in doing the gig, so that was cool.
I drove back as a large moon ascended over the steep hills of Lehighton. It was a good gig. Sunday off for bitness….