All entries filed under Troubadour

Sound check

I was lucky to enlist Craig Thatcher and Nyke Van Wyk to join Kris Kehr and myself for a set of Troubadour material at Godfrey Daniels’ Day at Musikfest. This Liederplatz stage in the Sun Inn Courtyard is a perfect arena to perform at this festival and features the great sound of Terry and Dave. They truly make the experience comfortable for every musician (even if the musicians don’ know how to do a sound check….). Craig and Nyke had a gig later that afternoon so I made sure we had an early set. Kris had just come back from his family beach vacation, but, as it is with professionals, we settled in quickly, got our sound down and started off at 1:30 pm.

Liederplatz audience

I worked up a set that had a variety of pairings, duos, trios and a full quartet. I started out with Kris on Don’t Call Me Early and a whimsical Giants, brought out Craig for We Are Welcomed. Craig hadn’t played on this one before and I mentioned off mike during the tune that it was modal D and he picked up on that immediately and played accordingly. (One of many instances of great stage communication – more to follow) It was a good, solid start to the set, with good audience interaction, not that they have a choice at my concerts.

Thumb chord in Don’t Call Me Early

Rosie is a Friend of Mine is a strong, uptempo song, locally produced (Bill Hall) with lots of space for Craig and Nyke leads. I was able to stretch their leads in the moment and both got applause for their efforts. (Again, this was an indication that folks were really listening, almost a jazz-type of respect for the players). The ending (stay on the four!!) was nailed, another point when I had to direct C. and N. in the moment. It worked, to great effect.

I, unfortunately, missed Ten Men on the set list (I really need to play it out more), but continued with a great version of False From True, a Pete Seeger blues that was a highlight of the set. It pulled things back tempo and dynamic-wise and brought it down to my simple acoustic riff, the base for the song that lets the lyrics shine. Again, Craig played the first lead eloquently and the rondo that I’ve added to the song made for a great second, extended lead. Kris gets to lead off with four bars (a nice jolt to the audience and a nod to Kris’s creativity), followed by Nyke, Craig and myself. The audience picks up on that we are playing a game with and for each other. There are two lines in the song that resonated today that I sang with conviction and brought acknowledgement from the crowd: “No song I sing will ever change a politicians mind” and “No song I sing will take the gun from a hate-filled mind.”  The Power of Pete. The song finished with grace and the recognition from the audience of what had just happened – and with only two chords!


Stan Rogers’ Giant was next, so Craig took a break. The open tuning, the arcane lyrics and the modality of this makes it a delight to perform and experiment with. Having Nyke’s violin and creative mind simply takes this song to another level. Nyke and I had done this on Monday, so everything was comfortable. Kris, though, hasn’t had much opportunity to experience this, so I was tickled that he had a chance to be on stage for this one. In the middle, I bring the song out of its chord structure and put in a simple two chord space that sets up Nyke’s freedom. Again, I can present a solid rhythm pattern that the other players recognize on the fly. Nyke got another warm round of applause, one of the gifts that I can give my friends.


It was a good spot to have Craig and Nyke do their duo set. Craig does a nice acoustic finger-picking Blind Lemon Jefferson tune See That My Grave is Kept Clean that they have updated, and yet with great respect for the tradition it comes from. He followed with his collaboration with Dick Boak, Steel Town Refrain, a song about the rise and fall of Bethlehem Steel and the new Bethlehem. He gave a nice introduction about his father sitting in this courtyard the first year he played Musikfest. Spot on. I signaled to Craig that he should do an extra song (I’m no fool…) and he and Nyke did their Irish rocker Where the Shannon Meets the Sea, blowing away everyone in the place. They are a tsunami of sound as a duo and I stand in awe of their prowess on stage.

Yes, I had to follow that, and, mentioning that from the stage, I had to figure out how to move on. As I watched from the side, I decided I should break the mold and do an a Capella song: Tom Lehrer’s The Irish Ballad. It was a good choice but not without risk, especially in these rather violent times and my spotty memory. If people hang in long enough, they hopefully realize that it’s in jest. I was amazed that I was getting through it until I screwed up the last verse. Drat. Sometimes the little mistakes stick out the most when I reflect on the set as a whole. Coulda, shoulda, woulda. This blog helps me see the bigger picture.

Dave and Kris

I was glad to have The Crawl up next, one that Kris and I have performed for a while, and one that is up to snuff over these summer months’ of farmers’ markets gigs. Straight forward and strong presentation. Good. Back in gear.

We headed for home for the last twenty minutes with Louise. Again, I hoped to break the flow and insert a solid and gentle Paul Siebel country song, Louise. I sing it well, it has a nice story arc and the leads are short and focused. Nyke and Craig split the lead, again all communicated among us with nods and recognition from every one.

We teed up John Gorka’s How Legends Are Made, and without much fol de rol, I launched into an aggressive, uptempo version of the song. Nyke and Craig are not very familiar with this one, and John rarely leaves room for leads, but the tune lent itself to a really strong presentation, and had an almost rock feel to it. It surprised me how full the song sounded as a whole. John would have liked it this version, I’m sure.

We had ten minutes left and decided to bring it home with Lessons From Pete. Craig, Nyke and I did this on Monday, and with Kris’ bass, I knew this would be a great closer. It was. Craig and Nyke did short leads early and then the extended lead at the end developed nicely. I’ve been featuring Kris on the first part and I depend on the other players to back off completely, which, of course, they did. It becomes a special dynamic zero point to build from. It came back to Craig and Nyke’s rhythmic violin chops propelled this excursion (Nyke know when not to play, but support. It’s one of his great strengths as a player. It’s no wonder why Craig really doesn’t need a band for this kind of gig.)  Craig brought the heat to the climax and we gently brought it down the final lyrical statement and landed the ending. I extended my thanks to the audience, reintroduced the band members (Craig made a point of mentioning me, too – I forget these things…) and gracefully we exited stage left, with three minutes to spare.

Sometimes I wish I could jump out of my brain and skin and watch from the side. I’m all caught up in the heat of the moment and wash of the music and I wish I could experience the set as a spectator. This is where writing about these sets helps me do that, to the best that I can.

The quartet had a remarkably clean sound, unlike the final act of the day (too many guitars…) and made for an intelligent and stimulating presentation. One comment on FB – “Glad you’re so tight with Craig & Nyke along with Kris, the instrumentals were powerful & heart felt. I could feel the electricity between everyone (no pun intended)”

That’s the whole point, isn’t it?

The Final Set List:

Don’t Call Me Early
We Are Welcomed
Mr. Bojangles
Rosie is a Friend of Mine
False From True
Craig and Nyke: See That My Grave is Kept Clean, Steel Town Refrain and Where the Shannon Meets the Sea.
The Irish Ballad
The Crawl
Lessons from Pete

The end of another Musikfest – my 35th.

From a good friend and fellow guitarist, Joey Mutis, aka The Electric Farm.
“Very happy to talk with you about your CD. Blush on. You have good reason to be proud! Something I forgot to mention. Your guitar playing is excellent on Troubadour. I admire finger style and hybrid finger style guitar players. It’s what I wish I were better at. N Drake, R Thompson, B Jansch, M J Hurt, B Cockburn, D Graham, Arlo, Albert Lee w/ the Everly’s, Scotty Moore w/Elvis, Merle Travis, McCartney, Curtis Mayfield, Pops Staples, Nic Jones are some examples of my favorites. I also love melodic players who can play over chord changes, as opposed to playing one scale/key over blues changes. Your playing sounds like the guitar player is also the rhythm section. You can make us feel the bass drum, the backbeat and the bass guitar without a band. You can make us dance or tap our feet without a band. It’s all there in your fingers. Your playing reminds me of Levon Helm, in that you “drive” the band. Only, you can do that without a band, I mean, I also love N Young, J J Cale, Mother Maybelle, Carl Wilson, D Davies, R Robertson, P Green etc etc. But I rate finger style players at a higher level. I’m a very confident guitar player, who admires your playing more than any of the “blues” players (which in our area really means rock player with a few blues standards thrown in) who markets themselves or is “seen” as a guitar hero. Oh, and Lessons From Pete is also better than EVERY song I’ve heard from the other accomplished guitar players on Troubadour.”
Thank you for your friendship,

I have always had mixed feelings about these awards and the ceremony that happens annually this time of year. This one was the 20th and the event has pulled itself together remarkably over the years. It was initially the brain-child of a child-brain hippy, held at various bars, banquet halls, theaters, etc. but now is a polished production at the Musikfest Cafe. It’s still in a bar situation though, as I was remembering giving my Life-Time Acheivment Award speech several years ago. Half the crowd was at either end of the venue, chatting it up with friends at the two bars. But, still, it is now a professional event, with videos, live bands, “celebrities” and a roomful of musicians, old friends and music supporters. Good for us all.

This year was a good one for Godfrey Daniels, taking home Best Performance Venue, Best Music Supporter and Best Open Mike. These all reflect the respect that the local music scene appreciates what the club stands for, all the more amazing because it’s not a bar (!!!!) and it is not a industrial-sized complex. These are the awards that I’m really proud of, and they reflect on the hard work that Ramona LaBarre, Dina Hall and the entire Godfrey’s community put in to maintain our excellence. I merely bask in their dedication and sweat.

I am also proud of the many poets, players, artists and creative friends who won individual awards. It’s really hard to find any larger artistic recognition in this Valley and this event helps to celebrate their efforts in our community. Amen. You know who you are.

There was some lousy weather coming in about the same time that things were about to begin, and that tempered my enthusiasm for going. I was only up for a couple of awards and not nominated for several that I had anticipated would have been over the last year. I was aiming for Best Album with my Troubadour CD and it got no mention. I was not nominated for Best Folk, one I have won over the last few years. I was surprised but would not have minded having someone else win it. I also had hoped Lessons from Peter would be nominated for Best Original Song. I felt somewhat miffed about the selection process, grounded in popular votes and not by a panel for merit. Folks don’t get to hear my CD or see me perform since I don’t play the barroom circuit. I remain invisible. So it goes.

I was nominated for Best Web Site, and would have liked to win this one, especially for the great work that my friend Mikc Duck puts in, developing and maintaining a pretty awesome site. You are on it now. It has provided me the chance to keep in touch with my performance base while giving me the chance to become a better writer through this blog. That’s the real value for me. I remain creatively engaged as an artist. Reflect. Reflect. Reflect.

I thought that I should go, just to bump into my fellow musicians. I owe them that much. I truly regret deciding against going. The weather turned out to be less than ferocious. I could have done it. Lesson learned. Sloth and indolence prevailed.

I did win Best Children’s Performer, one that I have, literally “grandfathered” over the last decade. I win it because I am ubiquitous – I’ve been doing it for several generations. And, there are so few of us doing this in the Lehigh Valley. I’ve had the chance to see Kira Willey’s work and she is as professional and fun as I am. She has some great exposure on PBS TV-39, with great production values. It would be nice to have her recognized as such. But, I hang on to these honors, for some internal reason.

I also received the Best College/Community Radio Personality for the 3rd or 4th year running. Again, I remain ambivalent about it, (especially the “personality” part) and share the airwaves with some much more committed radio programmers. I win this one because of my overall presence in the arts scene, and not because of merit. A.J Fritz, Tom Druckenmiller, Steve Capwell, Geoff Chambers, and many others in community radio all put in lots of time and expertise in their on shows. They all have years of being gatekeepers to what is best in creative radio, regardless of genre. Again, I value being recognized.

I came to realize that the cast for Troubadour took home individual honors. Dan DeChellis (piano), Craig Thatcher (acoustic Guitar), Nyke Van Wyk (string instrumentalist) and Kevin Soffera (drums/percussion and studio producer). That’s pretty good company there, and I wish we could have shared in its recognition.

Again, I was a fool for not attending and perhaps my ‘fragile’ ego stood in the way. But, I guess I can blame it on the weather.

It’s been a week since The Troubadour Concert at the Ice House and I’ve had time to distill how the project looks as a whole. I’m still waiting for a check from Brown Paper Tickets so I haven’t gauged the financials yet, though it turned out better than I thought.

I was particularly proud that I paid folks professionally: the sound crew, the musicians, the caterers, as well as the box office manager and photographer. I wasn’t at the break even point when I headed over to the venue on Saturday afternoon, and I hoping for walk-up sales. I didn’t let the $$ get in my way, though. But, I was delighted to see a relatively full audience in the sections facing the stage.

I thought I did a good job constructing the sets, the ebb and flow of the material and players on stage. I put my mind to the production weeks ahead of time, while sending out song charts to everyone. It didn’t hurt that these folks are pros and they did their homework. I was relatively calm come showtime.

The pre-show run throughs were crisp and effective; we got things prepped efficiently, and it served as our sound check as well. Terry Mutchler remarked that it was a great way to work his way through the instruments and vocals. Organic is the word.


Sonic Hallway

I was also glad that I had worked on a daily basis in my kitchen on the songs, running through all the material, honing the bumpy parts, and, eventually, rehearsing in my hallway (without cheat sheets and standing up). It actually worked well to get out of my standard zone, and I found out that it sounds really good in my hallway!  No surprise there. I felt my guitar playing was much stronger from the time I put in.

Perhaps the most striking impression I had was the backstage gathering of the musicians,  close friends but often strangers to others in the green room (and on stage). Thanks to Bake Door Bakery’s food spread (paid by Working Dog Press), the atmosphere made it so that folks mixed freely, swapping gig stories, talking instruments, music philosophies and more. My people!

Moe and Fred talkin’ Bodhran

Things were percolating nicely, and did I mention “organically”? It also made it possible for me to disappear to check on box office with Dave Reiber and merch with Mike Duck and the Duckettes (his sons Seth and Thomas), say hello to folks as they came in. Viola, Dale and Georgia were handling the lobby flow. I’m very grateful for these folks stepping up to help me out.

Rick and Dan, new friends.

The band was taking care of itself, the house was filling in and things were running smoothly. Phew.

The show flowed wonderfully, and thanks to the set list set out in the green room, people knew when to come on stage and I could concentrate on working the audience. There was a flow, indeed, and the audience picked up on that.

I’m glad I made space for Piper’s Request and Craig and Nyke for spotlight sets. They got to shine (and they did!) but it gave me (and the audience) some respite from me being on stage. I needed the space, as did everyone else. It was good theater, as well.

Jaimie (the tall one) and his Dad.

I was personally glad that my son Jaimie and his girlfriend Chelsy made the trek up from Philly. They arrived mid-show (in time for his favorite Ten Men) due to Philly traffic. I have lots of friends but only one son. I hope to make him proud of his pop. He was in my spotlight for the rest of the show always in my eye stage left.

I was glad for the standing ovation, but it remains uncomfortable for me, partially because I can only see it as a mass instead of individuals. It still takes eye-contact for me to feel the empathy.

I picked out the perfect encore with Song for the Life. It was effective in grounding the audience and myself, simple guitar and vocal with a reflective slant on my life. I planned it this way and it worked beautifully. In the theatrical parlance, I posited my landing. I Like Peanut Butter was a good way to loosen everyone up at the end. A good script for a solid show. 

This whole shebang may have some shelf-life. Craig and Nyke, as well as other folks in the band are willing to do it again. There may be some brand recognition from the Troubadour Concert title (sans my name) and we could do some more takes on this concept. We will have a decent recording of the show for a future CD release, airplay, etc. I’ve processed some of the videos for Youtube and passed them on to the players. And, we are all now really good friends, connected by the experience. That’s mighty stuff.

All in all, the concert created a nexus for friends, an appreciative audience and a larger respect for a high quality production I produced by the seat of my pants. It was an historic night for me and I’m glad I could share it with so many of my friends.

Having navigated the several chapters of the show, we headed into the home stretch with Lessons from Pete. We had charted the leads (Craig on the first) and the rondo towards the end (Nyke, Craig, Kris, Dan), so I was fairly confident that we knew what we were doing. It turned out great and I was strong on the verses, folks knew their spaces and every one stepped up nicely. I thanked people and we headed off stage to a standing ovation.

I never can quite drink in this experience; I’m always uncomfortable, feeling not quite deserving of the adulation. But, the quickest way to subdue these emotions is to play another song, so I quickly stepped out to do my encore.

I had given thought to this, and wanted to bring it back to a solo piece. Interestingly enough, I rediscovered the Rodney Crowell song Song for the Life a week ahead of the show. (I had given thought to Here Comes the Sun or I Can See Clearly Now, but settled on this one) My instincts were spot on. I had learned this one thirty years ago but had the opportunity to solidify it over the last week in my kitchen, at a GD open mike and for my Gorka opening set. It came off really well, though I didn’t quite nail the words, mixing in a line from the chorus in the first verse. I’m the only one who knows.

Wendi said later that she came back on stage with tears in her eyes. That’s all I need to know.



We gathered again to play I Like Peanut Butter, a salute to one of my signature kids’ pieces, easy enough for the band to follow and do leads. It was a good way to get people up and off their seats, do a little shaking and dancing, and restore some lightness to the end of the show. It was simply great to see all the musicians feeding off the good vibes of the song, each other and the evening, in general.

A fine finale, indeed.

Final reflections next.




I was quite honored to have my friend, Craig Thatcher on stage with me for this concert. First of all, it was amazing that he had the date open. He also is part of the authority and confidence that is displayed on the Troubadour CD and, as I listen to it, I’m am still transported by his leads (on four guitars  laid down in two hours in the studio). It was important to feature him in this set. I’m no fool.

Dan, Kris, Wendi, DF, Kevin, Craig, Nyke and Moe

We started of with Mama Wants to Barrelhouse, a Bruce Cockburn blues that I’ve played for years (on Pearls CD), and one that is hardly a three-chord wonder. Great changes and curious poetry. I can lay down a strong beginning and set up the song well on guitar. The band found the groove immediately and we laid into it with gusto. Craig and Dan did leads and we all had our ears and brains on fire listening to each of them. Wendi did some fine vocals, Kevin and Kris put down the groove. We aint’ a country band now!

Nyke and Craig

I had promised Craig and Nyke a two-song set. That was a no-brainer. They lit up the house as they so often do – just acoustic guitar and violin. They know each other musically as do few others in the Lehigh Valley. They finished with a Celtic tune that was phenomenal. As I came back on, I said that they had used up all the notes. Actually I was grateful to have a break, check in with the backstage band and reboot for the big finish.

The last song in this set was False from True, a Pete Seeger tune I learned from Guy Davis. It’s one of the last tunes on the CD  that pairs Craig and Mike Dugan, as well as Wendi and Annie Patterson’s great vocals at the end. It was set up to feature a ‘conversation’ between the two electric guitars.


I really looked forward to re-creating the same effect tonight, this time passing the lead around with Craig, Nyke, Kris and Dan. Craig brought out his very nice dobro for this one and the effect was striking.  I called it The Rondo, though I’m not sure if technically that’s what it’s called. We went around three times and took our time bringing it home. The house was riveted, as was the band. Lots of respect for each other. A great landing and the audience loved it. This was one of the payoffs from some ideas I had two years ago. It worked on the CD and was even better on stage.

Dan and Kris

My friend Hub gave me a nice compliment this week about the night, “Great show, well paced and everyone got to show their stuff.” These are Hub’s photographs, by the way.

It was a pleasure to feature my friends.

Time for the Big Finish.


Having rolled through the “solo” folk and the Celtic set, I put together a Country Set that held together nicely. As Piper’s Request left, Dan DeChellis, Nyke Van Wyk, Craig Thatcher and Wendi joined Kris, Kevin and Moe (and myself) on stage for four tunes from the album. Again, this was the first time that we played these tunes, outside of a runthrough before the show.

I wanted to start aggressively with David Mallett’s Ten Men, a nasty little political tune that I dedicated to the recent Davos meeting of the 1% in Switzerland. This is one of the tunes that I was most concerned with. I haven’t played this one out and had done a lot of woodshedding over the last few weeks. I assigned leads to Nyke and Dan, and it was the first time for Craig to play on it. (He hadn’t even played on the CD for this one.) Kevin started it up on drums while I was introducing it (a nice touch) and we rolled right into it. It kicked some righteous ass from the start, I nailed the lyrics (!!!) and the whole band drove the tune home. Very nice reaction from the crowd and a good transition from the Celtic set. 

I always have loved Paul Siebel’s Louise, not just for the lyrics and the vocals, but for the quintessential country quality of the song. We took our time setting it up, with the vocals right up front (as it should be), the lead was short and sweet (it was necessary to keep the lads from over-extending it). Dan’s piano lead was pure Floyd Cramer and it was a great introduction of his chops to the audience. I made a point of drifting over to watch him do it, a professional way to acknowledge who’s taking the spotlight. Wendi did some fine vocal harmonies, as she did throughout the night. My Sistah!

Wendi and Dave

We followed with Bill Hall’s great tune Rosie Is a Friend of Mine, a sprightly little number. This one got to introduce Craig’s brilliance as a lead player. We had decided to have him play acoustic tonight, and his lead was tremendous. I actually blanked for the second lead, passing it to Dan, which surprised him (and probably Craig), but that’s what makes these gigs amazing. Dan did a great lead. And, as we ended on the four chord, leaving the audience dangling, it was performed to perfection. My arrangement came out sparkling. What a treat to play with these people! Kris’s solid bass, Moe’s tasty percussion, Kevin’s driving beat, Nyke’s intelligent backup, Wendi’s harmonies and Dan’s piano tones all supported my acoustic rhythm chops and vocals. Kris said this was the finest band he’s played with. I agree.

Kris Kehr

It was another leap of faith to perform John Gorka’s How Legends Are Made for the lead-up to the Blues Set. The chord progression is delicious and I enjoy playing the fat E chords up and down the neck. It was another song that we put together before the show, and decided to break the Gorka tradition of eliminating leads by asking Craig to come up with two of them. Professional that he is, he had prepared ahead of time and came out with two gorgeous lines. (I can’t wait to hear the tapes… I never can quite appreciate them in the moment)  Nyke, Kevin, Kris, Wendi and Dan did all of the seamless backup and gave me the opportunity to sing the hell out of it.  Again, it is a song I particularly cared about with the Godfrey’s and Stan  connections, to do it to the best of my ability for my friend John. It was a solid finish to this segment of the show. Now the audience knew the whole band

On to the Blues Set.

I wanted to take my first departure from the solo set to introduce my friends in Piper’s Request – Terry, Fred and Rick – to the audience. Also up on stage was my good friend Tom Druckenmiller on vocals. I had asked the four of them to record the CD vocals on a couple of tunes, along with Mike Beaky who was in the studio for banjo. There are several tunes on the CD that harken to this part of my repertoire: Don’t Call Me Early (opens up the CD), The Crawl and Giant. 

Don’t Call Me is a great opener and the lads know it well from several jams at Godfrey’s. This was the first time for  them to be playing with Kevin on drums and Kris on bass, so it was a kick in the ass for them. It did kick some ass with the audience, as well.

We followed with The Crawl, another tune that has been in my repertoire with several bands, including Pavlov’ Dawgs, a bluegrass band Kris and I were in last century. AGain, it is built to be a British Isles folk-rocker (shades of Fairport Convention, an early influence) and it was delivered nicely. I still couldn’t hear if the audience was singing, but I have faith they were. The Drunken Lads proved great vocal support.

Terry Hartzell on Uilleann pipes

I asked them to do an instrumental medley, giving them the spotlight and giving me some time off stage. Their set of tunes was really fine and sounded great in this venue with this sound stage. The audience ate it up. They turned out to be a great addition to the show.

I came back on, along with Moe and Nyke, for Stan Rogers’ Giant for the final tune of this set. We had talked about the arrangement hours before the show, and it was one that I had on my mind for years. We did a great version of it on the CD, but now was the time to stretch it out.

GD Martin prototype GDMG 000-16R

I brought my GD Martin out for the first time in years, in the strange D tuning I use for this particular song. It was kinda cool to have two guitars on stage, just like the big boys. When the sound guys turned it on, it literally roared. I said, “Ohhh, I like that!”

Moe Jerant

I’ve been able to play this one quite strongly, so I was able to kick it from the get-go. Nyke did a great improve for a couple of sections, the lads (pipes, mandolin and octave mandolin) and Moe (bodhran) set the rich tone. We then set up the final improvisation against a simple chord pattern, Terry added tin whistle, Nyke violin and, as the band did a slow fade, the spotlight fell on Moe’s lone drum. Bang! The improv section could have been more deliberate (a new experience for the lads and the second time we tried it) but the effect was pretty much what I wanted. Damn.

I thanked the boys and they exited stage right to well-deserved applause.

I came out to fairly big crowd and warm applause. I wanted to start small and expand throughout the evening, so Kevin and I did We are Welcomed, Sally Roger’s simple but powerful tune, with Kevin sitting up with me on hands and thighs percussion. It was a great to finish out the album and a wonderful way to start the show.

I brought out Wendi to join me with Sixty Minute Man. It was fun, but not terribly tight (we hadn’t done it since we played at Godfrey’s in the fall. Kris snuck up on stage and we followed with Kent’s Giants. I scanned the crowd for thunder-tube players and landed on my good friends Bill George and Doug Roysdon, a good choice, since they are stage veterans. They know how to “play” on stage, and they nailed it. I was glad to make them part of the show. 

I followed with Baby Smokers (I still can’t gauge what the audience’s reaction is to this song but it was important to get it played). I did it well but missed Ansel’s harmonica part. I followed with Mr. Bojangles, a recent addition to my recent sets. I think I finally have it down and the audience sang along at the end. (I really didn’t have a sense of the audience’s sound in this space, so I assumed it went well.)

All in all, the acoustic set put things in motion organically, and away we went.