Monday, March 03, 2008

On Broadway

This was TubaBoy’s first official gig. He has learned one of the most important lessons in music: If you don’t know the part well enough to sound good, just don’t sound bad.
They say that I won’t last too long on Broadway
I’ll take a Greyhound bus for home, they all say
But they’re dead wrong, I know they are
’Cause I can play this here guitar
And I won’t quit ’till I’m a star on Broadway
—Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil,
Jerry Leiber, and Mike Stoller

This weekend was one of the best I’ve had in a while. It was all about music.

We started Friday with a Trey Bone rehearsal in preparation for Sunday night. We got together at Deadhead’s to go over a few of the songs Suna and company have been doing for years. I’ve taken to playing lead bass. With two guitars already in the mix, a lead guitar wasn’t adding that much to the sound. Now, I’m rounding out the bottom while still adding some linear movement. We decided on four songs: “Helplessly Hoping,” “California Dreaming,” “Attics of My Life,” and “I’ve Just Seen a Face.”

After gardening all day Saturday (more in a later blog entry), we went to a house concert at MoneyMan’s house. I call him MoneyMan because he is the church treasurer, not because he is exceedingly rich—although he is not poor. His spouse won’t eat anything that has ever touched an animal product or flame. Even so, there was excellent snackage. Not to mention excellent music by Karen Mal and Ken Gaines. Two steel stringed acoustic guitars, two voices, and no amplification yielded a warm, rich sound that completely filled the room. I really enjoyed listening to them. I love the imagery on her song “The Space Between.” And I like the title track to Ken’s Catfish Moon CD. He is working very hard to keep a dying style of music alive.

It’s hard to believe that this was their third anniversary playing as a duet. Their first performance together was also a house concert at MoneyMan’s house.

The sermon at church Sunday was delivered by the senior religious education class. They also provided the music. Jewel2 sang and played acoustic guitar (nylon strings) for the transitional bits and a hymn. A small ensemble played Let It Be for the collection. And TubaBoy joined an electric ensemble for the postlude. I never thought I’d hear Red Hot Chili Peppers in church.

Then Sunday night was our “gig” at BB Rover’s Café and Pub. Well, it wasn’t really a gig; it was an open mike. After Attics, the crowd was so wowed, the owner asked us to play a fifth song, instead of the three (four with an encore) we had planned. We added “Landslide.” It’s good tune for Suna to sing, but the guys have an unfortunate tendency to not put the correct chords in the cheat sheet. They’ll put the chords in one key and then capo (seven frets in this case)—I’ve always played with people who could transpose before. Sigh. I started in the written key instead of the key they actually play it in. Other than that, it was a good evening.

All of the acts at the open mike, although of widely varying style, were good. Well, maybe one of them wasn’t, but we couldn’t hear his voice in the mix. So it didn’t matter. This being my first open mike, I wonder if any city other than Austin (or maybe Nashville or LA) would have the quality of performer showing up at an open mike in an obscure café. It really reinforced that I made the right decision when I chose to stop trying to earn a living as a performer. There is just too much good, unsung talent for the market to support.

Grateful Monday

So that brings us to what I am grateful for this week: music. It is so good to have music back in my life, pervading my life even. I am surrounded by music and musicians. Oddly, I find the cacophony of developing musicians satisfying, especially when the get what they were working on. I love the wonderful exploration that comes of not being afraid to make a mistake.


Sam said...

I love that you love making music with Suna and her children. I love that you love Suna, end of.

Re: Medieval Times check out There is a location in Dallas (that would be the closest to you -- although I would LOVE it if you came to ours in Toronto so that I could see you). It is a BLAST!! We had the BEST time!!

Suna said...

Yeah, we can go to Canada maybe next year. Hey,look, they gave me a minute to do something other than work so I read your blog..

Lee said...


Sam said...

YES!! YES!! Come to Canada. You can stay here. We don't have a LOT of room but we have enough!!!!!!!!!
(Am I being emphatic enough???)

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