Today was the test run of my new 00015 M Martin guitar and I found myself somewhat sidetracked with performing the songs while I was dealing with this new tool in my bag. As with any new instrument, you dance around and figure out what you can do together. It’s a beautiful guitar, and my first all-mahogany instrument so the tone and response from a non-spruce top is different. It also is stiff and the action is higher than I would like, but those concerns I can deal with in time. I was hoping to open it up through the sound system but the vendor parked in front of me asked me to turn down. So I did. I think the electronics are going to be great.
It was ostensibly ‘Kids Day’ so the first half hour, I got to do a couple of laps on my adult material, but several waves of kids, moms, grandmoms rolled through and I concentrated on engaging them. All of them were familiar with me, so we could dig a little deeper as we interacted. One girl asked for “Hey, Ho, Calypso”, a tune I wrote for her school last fall. She said she could only remember the chorus (more than I could), but that says alot about the power of the song. She took various cues from me on rhythm patterns, she wanted to play a new shaker for each song and generally was a treat to play with. A great session.
During one of these exercises, one older black lady sat down and clapped along. I took the opportunity to connect the two women, and, though the young girl was challenged by the situation (yay!), it turned out to be a marvelous exercise in diversity. I asked the girl to share the sound of the rain stick with the lady, and eventually, the older woman came down closer, played tambourine and, wonderfully, started to dance to the music with the young girl. I sensed the woman welcomed the experience, too. A small, but important moment for us all.
Towards the end of the two hour set, a mom, nanna and two young sisters came up, the girls with matching blue dresses. They were fans and pitched in with the scarves, shakers, et. al. I enjoyed watching the younger sister/older sister dynamics, each challenging the other but finding spaces to play together. Good work with the arts. Again, some good work.
I finished with Here Comes the Sun, the benchmark for testing out my new instruments. It has been a touchstone for me in many ways – when I tried out the song on the first really good Martin I ever played, it literally opened up my ears and mind to the possibilities of owning a great instrument. I played the tune on the new guitar with that in mind. I think I know a little bit more of the soul and potential of this instrument now. Now, I just have to bang on it, as only I can do, wrassle with it until it loosens up and then we can really make some fine music together. It’s a process.