It’s good to be out and about and playing music, even on such a limited basis. I had two gigs today, both postage stamp affairs, but it’s mostly a chance for me to gauge my skills.
The Saucon Valley Farmers’ Market gig was from 9:30 to 11:30 am, and it was a gorgeous day – clear and comfortable temps in the 70’s and enough sunshine to feel some warmth after a cool overnight.
I set up in a pop-up with my small system and started in. A couple of older women stopped by before I even began to toss in a couple of bucks. That counts for a lot. Things were busier today, with folks wearing masks, bring out the kids (with masks) and walking the dogs. As for the playing, I was finding myself screwing up some words, forgetting verses but playing guitar quite well. I found myself out of practice, easily distracted by the scene in front of the gentle scene in front of me. Last year, the number of farmers’ markets I was playing, really honed my repertoire. Even though I’m still working on my material at home, with my daily FB postings, there are tunes I haven’t played in a month or so.
I tried weaning myself from my cheat sheets on some material and surprised myself on a bunch of them but still knew I was leaving out stuff. Such is state of the art these days, but I’m lucky I can sit and play for two hours on my material in front of a distant audience. Lots of waves from masked people I guess I know. Weird. And more parents willing to engage me with their kids. That was a nice take-away from this morning.
The second gig was in a parking lot between Bethlehem and Easton, the slate put together by Bill Parker, a friend/fellow mandolin player. I’ve gone to his bluegrass pickin’ parties over the last few years and was glad I could help him out with a set for this benefit.
I got there nick o’ time, with long stop lights bogging me down on the way. Still, I was up and playing at 1:04 pm.
It was under a nice double pop-up tent, a delightful breeze, and a few folks sprinkled on the macadam with their own lawn chairs. No masks though. Per usual, I had nobody who I could call a follower (though Danielle and her mom came up afterwards. Anybody who books me thinking that I will draw any kind of crowd is delusional. I was glad there was a good sound system ready, and Bill’s son was on sound. I had a 45 minute set, with no particular order in mind and decided to play my good stuff and go with the flow.
It was interesting to play for folks who had no idea who I was, as well as for the musicians that played before and after me. They were my base to play as best I could. My warm up at the farmer’s market helped me play my material much better than I had in the morning. I pulled a lot from my Troubadour CD and it was good to exercise those tunes. The set went quickly and I succeeded in connecting with this small audience. Bill’s friends appreciate good music. It was a good time.
The other bands were quite good and it was nice to connect these familiar faces from the jams with their bands. Folks are working together on their music and they were doing it together for the first time in months. There was joy in the playing. That’s what I take from this afternoon.
A good day on the planet.