Tonight was a wonderful evening with my good friend Joey Mutis from the Electric Farm. Joey brought out a good crowd of his fans and, for a DNO, there were people in the house for a change. Joe is an introvert, to say the least, but as the night wore on, he really opened up, usually to explain why he wouldn’t play a request, and then proceed to play a verse or two. That’s all that was needed in this informal situation. I made a quip about Joey’s next album Fragments. It turned out to be quite appropo.
Since a lot of the folks were new to the DNO concept of chat and interaction, I had to do some work to establish the idea, and these folks were not ready to sing at all. I abused them immediately. We did Green, Green Rocky Road to start out with and off we went. Joey was unsure of the evening from the get go, and I assured him we’d be fine. Joey gave me homework: Cuppa Tea (Halleluyah, Rosalie!) and one of his tunes. I had some time to learn some mandolin on those, and pulled it of, enough to rest poor Joey’s mind. Joey was his usual rambling self, but that’s what endears him to so many people, very, very similar to my friend John Gorka’s vulnerability on stage. I said that people lean into to his songs and make it personal.
I had the chance to play a couple of my tunes, with Joey playing some really nice leads as he let me establish the song. Giants came off well, and Joey and I did some extensions of the tune, new ear candy for a fairly new song. The keeper of the evening was our rendition of Bruce Cockburn’s Creation Dream, a tune that is one of my favorite personal guitar pieces, but one I could never be able to sing in the key I can play it. Joey heard me do this back in my Beck Road days at a picnic, and we connected then on its brilliance. Out of the blue, Joey offered to sing it tonight. It was a big full circle for us both, and with my friend. There was some nice two guitar stuff going on between us, and, again, a chance to expand on old/new stuff and create some really nice music on the spot.
The audience was initially unsure, but gradually Joey warmed up, there were a few really nice questions that Joey fielded adeptly. Joe is a good storyteller, though fragmented, and engages his audience with intelligence, just like his music does, as well.
One woman complimented me on her way out the door. She was familiar with my kids’ work, and she sensed that the tools I used tonight to engage both Joe and his audience were very much the ones I use with kids. That’s something I will have to ponder for a while.
It was nice to have people in the house for a Dave’s Night Out! It was really good evening of music and intelligence and a little bit of art, too.