Class in Session: NeedToBreatheAgain…

Did you ever repeat a class, not because you flunked, just because you wanted to?  Either you really liked the professor or the subject was surprisingly interesting and you knew  you’d probably get even more out of it the second (or third or fourth) time around it than you did the first?  Yeah, it’s kind of like that.  In my “Class in Session” blog series I’ve experienced up close and personal, some greatly talented peeps and I’ve come away from each experience feeling like I’ve learned something valuable, something that could really help me to become a better performer/writer, but there is only one band that I seem to continually seek out and that’s NeedToBreathe.

There is something about their sound, their looks and their mannerisms that I feel very much at home with and never seem to tire of.  I don’t know if it’s the way Bo gets lost in the meaning of the music and looks as if he’s going to thrust his whole being into the mic or if it’s Bear’s ability to reach deep down and belt out the words like he’s pleading for his soul’s redemption, or maybe it’s his undeniable wit and charm that draws me in .  To tell you the truth, there’s something alluring about each and every one of them.  For starters, they don’t look like every other band out there. Granted, Bear is a fashion hound and seemingly hopeful trendsetter, but they each have their own unique style and seem very comfortable in it.

They’re from South Carolina and they emanate that traditional southern upbringing of well intentioned, young men who love their moms and do their best to honor their commitments to each other, to their families and to their fans (old and new).  It’s funny how every time I go to one of their concerts I end up becoming instant friends with random strangers.  I think the band evokes that sense of community that invites that kind of genuine warmth from unknowns. For example, some guy just walked up and asked about my Nikon and lens (with the kind of relaxed demeanor of a friend) and was dying to know whether I could actually see the surfers way down there on the water through the lens.  I immediately responded and let him see for himself.  I know it’s a risk, but I get such a kick out of the joy on people’s faces when I share what I get to experience with others.  I wouldn’t say yes to just anyone either, but you get a feel for who you can trust not to break or run off with your not so easily replaced stuff. And the topic among our new friends is generally the same, the wishing them stardom, but liking them so much you hope they stay that well kept secret and slightly attainable just a bit longer, that Seth is “sooooooo pretty” and “what (thefk) is the keyboard players name and when did he become part of the band?”.  Top three, for sure.

Several peeps in the crew (affectionate name for our band of friends here in Oceanside) are fans,  but this time it was only M and I that could make the show.  This one was held at the Birch Aquarium in San Diego.  Gorgeous place.  The kind that if you stop to soak in just how beautiful it is and that you are actually standing in it,  it’ll bring a tear to your eye. I hope I was able to capture some of it on film.  They host their concerts outdoors and I was late getting there so I didn’t walk through the aquarium itself to get shots of the fishes.  Trust me though, the place is gorgeous inside and out.

Now, the last time we saw them was on one of the Hornblower cruises (see home page image for www.aligilmore.com) where M got her CD signed by 3 of the 5, but Bo and Bear (the brothers) were dragging their butts getting up to the signing area after their performance so only the quick and aggressive (she is neither) got their autographs before the boat docked and the unsympathetic (and rather surly) ship’s crew shooed everyone off the boat.  She was really disappointed and had been stewing over it since.  I asked her when we caught up at the aquarium if she’d brought her CD cover and she produced it on cue with a big smile.

After a walk about we ended up in the spot behind the stage where a lone bar table stood, and unoccupied (which was rare because by this time the place is packed).  We hung out there for a while, chatting to our unknown friends (seriously, some really lovely people) and then M walked off toward the bathrooms when I heard her shout “Ali…Ali…Up…Ali!”.  I looked up from my drink and the boys were just strolling past me.  Dammit~  I fumbled for the camera, but by the time I had it focused on them they were marching up the stairs and onto the stage.  You could just feel the electricity in the air emitting from those in the know and familiar view of the first timers taking notice of the shift.

I can’t remember too many details of the rest of the evening because once I have my eye in the camera and my ears in the music I sort of get wrapped up in it all (chemo brain or no).  I do remember some of the women we made friends with earlier had snagged a bench to the left of the stage.  I offered one the camera to take some shots for me, but she wouldn’t hear it and insisted I take her spot and get some good shots in.  As that was going on a guy with his gal standing next to the bench said he wouldn’t have declined that offer…so I had to give him a chance with the camera too.  After all, this wasn’t a job I was on so I didn’t have to worry about accidentally taking credit for someone else’s shot.  It’s all good, all part of the one common thread.  The one moment that stood out the most though was that when they started playing Stones over rushing water, my heart skipped a beat for a second there.  Y’see I make it a habit of posting on their fb page (like a good lil stalker) whenever I’m going to be at one of their shows and offering up my vocals if they’re in need of them on that song (he originally recorded it with Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek).  What, it’s part of my self imposed therapy for breaking through my stage fright and c’mon, what female singer in her right mind wouldn’t have “sing duet with Bear from NeedToBreathe” on their “How fkng cool would that be?” list. Well, anyway, I did post it and so for just a second I thought they were repeating the intro over and over because they were mulling over whether or not to throw caution to the wind and invite me up on stage.  Or maybe…they’d responded with “Give us a shout when we start the song and we’ll let you” and I missed it (yes, I’m just that delusional that it did actually cross my mind and yes, I didn’t even go so far as to check their page this morning to see, but no…no response, no likes, no nothing but my active and rather bold imagination). Then, they started singing and M looked over at me and smiled that “it’s ok, maybe next time” kind of cheering smile.

I know.  I sound like a 12 year old with a puppy luv crush.  Ok, I’ll get back to the project.  What did I learn (or re-learn) from this particular Class in Session?  I was reminded to put all my breath into my voice when I sing (I tend to pull back from the mic), I was reminded that when something goes wrong, like a mic goes out, to keep your cool, don’t let a beat drop and wing it til it’s fixed.  In other words, never break the momentum.  I also like that they introduce themselves “we know we may be new to some of you” and they acknowledged and thanked those of who do know them for coming back.  They’re good at engaging the audience and keeping them engaged.  They also reminded me how important it is to wrap it up neatly.  It’s the one downer is you never know if/when they’ll be available after for autographs and pics.  I think it would be great to announce it toward the end, like just before the last song so people know to stick around and where to gravitate to and I see it’s important the band stick together on that.  In that instance they seem really disconnected.  If my trio and I ever get to perform at these kinds of venues (y’know…my trio…the one I’m so going to form on day…) then I will remember to say goodnight or stay for a nightcap before exiting the stage and be sure the lads (oh yeah, in my trio there are 2 guys, probably one will have a beard) are in on it.

 

A couple examples of the night’s captures: Bear (L) Rinehart, making sure even those in the back row get their money’s worth and Bo (R) Rinehart, showing his appreciation for the wave of love the crowd was sending his way.

Head on over to the Ali Gilmore Music Facebook page for the rest of the photos and hey, to you new found friends…if you see yourself or someone you know, feel free to enter names and tag people.  Sharing is encouraged and if I didn’t say it before, it was awesome spending time with you all.  See you at the next one 🙂

As for me, I’m off to feed the fishies (Fish Joint Open Mic) to put what I just learned into practice and late as usual. Till next time~

‘ali

 

 

Class in Session: Meiko-ing Music

As you know the local radio station, KPRI, has a brilliant loyalty program.  If you sign up, they’ll invite you to a host of private listener concerts throughout the year.  I’ve been to dozens and I’ve yet to attend one I didn’t enjoy and learn something from.

So, last night marked the return to these concerts and to the blog series “Class in Session”.  The location was the beautiful grounds of the La Costa Spa in Carlsbad, Ca. (one town south). M, myself, Diane and a friend of hers were there.  We took up seats by the fountain instead of the numerous chairs they provide because it’s straight in the middle of it all between the warmup act stage and the headliner stage.  The subject/teacher goes by the name of Meiko.  She has it pronounced “Meeko”.  I say that because after living in Japan for two years my head is trained to pronounce all Japanese words/names and I was diligently taught, i.e. if there is an “I” then it sounds like an “E” and if there is an “E” then is sounds like an “A”, so it would sound like “Mayeeko”. I’m not being a brat.  Just a solid student (and the original pronounce suits the title of the blog better ;)).  I know the spelling of my name isn’t traditional for the way I pronounce it either.  One look at “Ali” and people like to ask if I “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee”.  Either way, I like the name Meeko and that she and her sister Kelly took on Meiko/Keiko nicknames to become more connected to their Japanese heritage.

It was played up that this sweet little performer (and she really was little and sweet) was about being from Georgia, but the more we listened to her stories (or tried to over the splash of the fountain) the more we got that she’s spent quite a few years in Los Angeles and it kind of showed.  I have friends in LA and I work there from time to time photographing some of the MLS matches and the more time I spend there, the more I see a series of packaging that goes on.  People there (not my friends) tend to package their appearance and demeanor to suit…well, to suit whatever it is that’ll sell.  I’m not a fan of it as you can tell, but it does sell so I can’t exactly dispute it either.

In her introduction it was noted that prior to being signed by a label she had sold several hundred thousand downloads of her music on iTunes and that she’s gotten her music into several TV shows including Grey’s Anatomy and a few Indie films, so she was automatically my mentor for accomplishing those big steps in my dream.  That, and she has a really cool way of strumming her guitar that felt like a back beat.  It’s a short sample and sorry for that. People kept wandering in front of the lens. Next time I’ll get off my creaky butt and move in closer.I’m gonna look up Russell (Moppet) and get him to teach me that one.  All of that and she also got to tour and open for Mat Kearney.  Yes, I may not care for the whole packaging thing, but you cannot argue with that kind of success, no siree bob~

Even though her look/sound/demeanor weren’t all that unique (If Ingrid Michaelson, Sara Bareilles, John Mayer and Colbie Callait all had a twin sister…), her lyrics are easy to relate to and her voice was even easier to listen to.  The woman behind me made a comment that struck me “she has a nice background kind of sound.  Like you could put her music on and go clean the house or work at your desk”.  I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or not, but by the tone of her voice you could tell she meant it to be. You know I have that hyper awareness of pitch (problems)?  Well, she was right on the money with every single note.  As they say, she has “excellent control” and that is something I struggle with whenever I’m tired, nervous or get distracted, oy.

At one point in the evening M turned to me and said that someone had asked her if I was hoping to get on a label and go on tour and I was suddenly saddened by my response, “No, I couldn’t even if I wanted to”. It’s not like it was ever my dream to tour.  I love singing, but I’m a happy little hermit/homebody and besides, as you know I’ve never been comfortable on stage.  I do it to push myself to get over the fear and anxiety that I associate with it.  It just made me sad to realize that I don’t think I could physically handle it.  Hell, I’m still trying to recover from a little weekend getaway from over two weeks ago and I mostly sat on my ass~  It was just for a moment, but in that moment when my head and heart did that “If only” routine, if only I hadn’t stopped singing in my 20’s, if only I had decided to get over my stage fright when I had the chance back in Hawaii, if only I had not been a jackass and gotten the colonoscopy done back in 2009, if only blah blah blaaaaaah…

“If only”.  One of the most dangerous word combinations known to mankind…

Okay, back to class and lessons learned…The first one would be to remember that when something you do is cool, don’t wear it out.  I loved her cool guitar thing, but after about the third song I started to focus on its redundancy rather than the message in the song (and she does have some really good lyrics).  I do this with Travis picking I know, because I’m adept at it (unlike any other style I’ve tried) and so it makes me feel like a real guitarist instead of a bumbling idiot.  I will take heed (right after this new song I’m working on) and learn some new tricks.  The second lesson would be that though I fight for my right to be an individual (lazy and unkept) I do need to recognize the value of formula and packaging.  I will work on that, I promise.  I’ll even try to put it into action this Sunday when I attempt to perform the new song at our friends’ pub.  It’s their going away party.  They’re moving back overseas and though I pretend it’s no big deal (because I hate to cry) it is.  So much so that a song came pouring, no, gushing out of me the other night.  I’ll probably have to tape the lyrics to the stage, but I’ll do my best to give it the packaging it deserves.  Because “What if” I did it that way and someone heard it and loved it and bought it for big bucks and I could afford to fly out to Europe to visit them anytime I liked?  “What if”, a much better combination, don’t you think?

And with that, I am late.  I’m supposed to be somewhere in two hours and I’m still in my jamms.  Yikes~

Okay, I’ll leave you with another short clip of Meiko (She wrote this one as her boyfriend was packing up and moving out).  Once you hear the clip I’ll bet you’ll want more.  There are several versions of it on youtube. Catchy~ And here’s a link to her site/self as well: Meikomusic.com.

Weekend Update: and the Heart of It…

So, as you know I’ve had my hands full between trying to get my body/mind back in working order and pushing the book.  I have it in my head that once 1,000,000 people have read it, I can consider it a complete success.  I don’t mean 1,000,000 purchases (that’s a bit unrealistic even for my Pollyanna noggin), but that 1,000,000 peeps actually read the book and got the message “Show No Fear and Live Life Now, Regardless of (x)” would be a dream come true.  It’s become my daily mantra (mostly because I can’t remember much from one day to the next).

Part of that means that I have to speak out loud when I want something and that’s really hard for me to do.  I’m much more comfortable wandering around inside the recesses of my head.  I’m reminded of Monster Boy, the guy/marine/musician that I’d met at Matt Hensley’s Open Mic, had an ensemble of super friends with him who all seemed to have comic book names…and they approached me one night saying they had dubbed me “Invisible Girl” because I was virtually unnoticeable until I got up and sang and my super powers were revealed (according to them).  Honestly, sometimes I do wonder if I’m just a tad bit autistic.  I mean, nearly every time I hear the word “autistic” I repeat “autistic/artistic, what’s the diff”, but I digress.

I’ve been working so much on the book that when I saw the notice pop up “Brendan Rogers” is now following you on twitter, I was like huh?  How does this singer know about The C Card?  Then I realized he was following Ali Gilmore Music on twitter.  I’ve been crap at keeping it up so, I’m always surprised (and a little embarrassed) whenever anyone finds it.  Even though it’s usually a bot or a cheaply paid assistant that rounds up the follows I always feel a bit honored that even a bot wants to follow my rag tagness, so I always take the time to give their (or the artist they’re representing’s) music a listen.  For the most part, I don’t really care for their stuff.  I have a weird ear for music.  It definitely knows what it likes and doesn’t like and won’t waste more than a few seconds on what it doesn’t.  A good 40 minutes later after virtually memorizing a couple of his songs I decided to send the Rogers bot a comment about liking the sound.  How strange was it was to get a response back that sounded so…human.  I dug a little deeper and googled him.  After some crack research, I surmised that he is NOT the manager for Liverpool, a fact that confuses a lot of people according to the tweets. I can see where the confusion lies.  They are virtually the same (see below), why even with the contrast of B&W vs Color it can throw one off.  Like in the hair splitting difference between tortured and torturer. If it weren’t for the beard (you know how I love a good beard), I might still be scratching my head.  See?

This guy (on left) is real, he’s connected and for the time being (which won’t be long), before he makes it too big to care or be able to keep up with, he’s actually the thumbs behind the tweets.  How cool is that~   So, I was working on the next Read it Free promo for the book and since my (what’s less than shoestring…dental floss?) tiny PR budget doesn’t allow for flash of any kind I’ve been going with great sound to backup the words I want to say. I thought about cross promoting and  putting one of my recorded songs behind it, but nothing really fit.  Then I remembered part of the lyrics to one of Brendan’s songs “Show me your heart, I’ve shown you mine”listened to it again and bing, it evoked exactly the feeling I wanted to convey, writing this book was in essence, like my music, showing my heart to the world.  Reading the book and responding is the world showing me theirs.  I love it.  Every time I listen to/watch it I’m all the more convinced.  So, I put it all together, uploaded it and sent a link to BP (Yes, I gave him a nick for added distinction between the two.  “Which Brendan Rogers?” “BP” “Ohhh, thaaat Brendan Rogers”) and asked if he was cool with me using it.  To which he responded promptly that he was indeed cool with it and wished me well.  Even ended it with an “X”  well, not a capital hug (x is hug, right?), but still…

Lessons learned?  When you can’t find the words yourself, don’t be afraid to borrow them from someone else.  Also, though it’s important to promote yourself, it’s equally important to shine the light on someone else when you have the chance and it’s fitting.  So, spotlight on Brendan P. Rogers for writing beautiful lyrics, for singing from the soul and for being an approachable human being.  I’m also reminded of a question posed to me when the ball first started rolling on my music: “How many fans would it take before you believe you are a success?”.  I remember clearly that I said (and without hesitation) “One.  Seriously?  If just one person I don’t know truly gets my music and loves it?  I’m good”. Well, wasn’t I just reminded of that the other day when after months and months and months of inconsistency and silence on my part, I get a shout out from my first fan in England, Roy Manning.  Still there, still following along and still encouraging me.  You rock.  And hey, I don’t know if you’re anywhere near where BP plays, but if you are, go check  him out and send  him a big “X” from me~ Oh, better yet, go on up to him, get a pic of you two and post it on the AGM Facebook page.  Go on, I double dog dare ye and besides, he’s approachable :-).

P.S. Note to BP; Tell your non existent assistant to post more info on you out there, i.e. bio, lyrics and especially chords to Show Me Your Heart (I know, I’m a geek and SEO queen, but seriously…you’re almost a ghost). I’m determined to learn it and play it at open mic.  Wait, JD says you can’t play covers unless it’s a friend who wrote it.  Only friends end their notes with hugs right?  Right, proof in hand, so ehm, there.

Here you go, THE (other) Brendan Rogers singing Show Me Your Heart:

PSS: I posted a clip from last night’s open mic on the Ali Gilmore Music facebook page

Weekend Update: and 3 Makes a Hat Trick…

I could probably make four blogs out of those few short hours of a Thursday, but there are more stories to be written, so I’ll wrap this one up with a bow.  So my guitar Martin is thrilled because not only did a talented girl from Texas play music with him, but the cool guy from Barnwell Shift (Snoopy) did too.  Yup, he used Martin to play my song.  I know my guitar was designed for more advanced playing so I nab the chance whenever I can to make it up to him, that it’s been over 3 years now and I’m still doing the basics.  Snoopy did call me on it and said “you don’t even want to play guitar do you, you just want to sing”.  “Yup, that’s right” I answered.  Truthfully, I do love holding a guitar and I like playing.  My lack of skills (talent) in that department are just frustrating and at times it gets in the way of the music.  I still have that sense of “there’s only so much time left before the window closes”, so that’s why I get that way.

Listening back to my recording of the night and Chuck’s comments after followed by a thumbs up and I can’t quite reconcile the two.  I heard so many bad spots where my voice was too strong or not strong enough or I dropped out of the rhythm.  It’s really quite maddening at times, but when I look back at the video and I see the expressions on people’s faces and the lights from their camera phones as they’re recording what I’m singing to them and I’m reminded why I do this…to connect to others and express what I can’t seem to in day to day conversation.

Just as I got off stage someone was calling my name and waving me over to their table.  I couldn’t see who was calling me and at first I thought it was Bort by the sound of it, telling me he’d gotten the “heeere fishy fishy” comment I post of the facebook page to let my peeps know I’m headed out the door.  It wasn’t Bort, but Paul (who owns a business called “Bullseye”).  I’ve seen him at several of the open mics, but we’ve never really chatted.  He told me he has recording equipment and made a sincere offer to record my “raw” stuff wherever and free of charge.  How cool would that be that Keen could relax and we could just sit back and play.  Time is getting away from me though with promoting the book and keeping my physical recovery to do’s in check and harassing JD about teaming up to perform at private events.  Hopefully soon though.  I’ll make it a must do this summer, to do at least 10 raw recordings to add to the Reverbnation page.

And I just realized that (holy crap) it’s already Thursday again.  I think sushi n singing are in order tonite.  At the very least to go and listen to some great music.

And this IS where I’ll say that many lessons were learned and one in particular was that you can wish it, but if you really want it, you’ve gotta leave the house.   If I hadn’t gone to open mic that night I would’ve missed out on the trio experience, the opportunity to lend my guitar to up and comer or for the offer to record (and reminder that I need to re-focus on it).  I’m betting better about asking for what I want these days.  The next story it another shining example of that.  First, break, practice then I’ll tell ya.

In the meantime, I leave you with one of my favorite pictures of David Sias (AkA Snoopy) and thanks for following along~

‘ali

 

Weekend Update (part 2): and She is Worth…

So, I’m in the back garden room with Snoopy working on the song and JD meanders in to give a listen and chat when the owner of the joint(s), Dan, pops his head in and says the poor girl from out of town that  they’d slipped into the schedule (because she was here plenty early, but didn’t get the sign up rules) had just busted a string on her guitar and he didn’t know what the proper etiquette was, but is there any chance…and then the lightbulb went off…and the sounds of choirs of angels as the light streamed in and Waaaaaaaah…this is why I was supposed to be here tonite~ “Of course, send her back here.  She can use mine (I swear to gd my guitar was on cloud nine with all the action it got that night), just send her back here and I’ll set her up”.

I was so excited to fulfill my destinatious duty that I waved her back a little too wildly while Chris (Yorke) was on stage.  I apologized to him afterward to which he said he didn’t even notice it and I thought wow, I’ve got to learn to focus like he does~

Anyway, so this lilthe thing with big rimmed glasses makes her way back and I introduce her to Martin (my guitar) and leave her to get warmed up and make sure I get a good seat to see her perform because I love Martin and I know it’ll be a good shot of  him beaming up there and because I’ve noticed her Dallas based family and how proud they are of her.  I ask her name “Worth”.  I made her repeat it to be sure I heard it right and then I smiled at the of-courseness of it.  I lived in Texas for over five years of my life and one thing I learned is they take the naming of their kids quite seriously and her name totally fits.  Of course, I have to capture it all.  I selected one of my favorite clips  because Snoopy couldn’t help himself, blurting out in it (I told you, he tends to talk through most of my songs) and because I really love the lyrics.  They are born of a young and optimistic heart and the way she sings em makes you still want to be a part of them.  Based on the crowd’s rousing applause, I’d say they agreed.  I went back and forth between filming her and watching the beaming faces of her family, hanging off to the left of the stage by the Koi pond, but for the most part I paid attention to lil Miss Worth and the message she had to bring to us.

Here she is, Miss Worth of Dallas, Texas:

It was an awesome night and again, this is where I would be telling you about lessons learned and all, but wait, there’s more…

Weekend Update: For What it’s Worth…

Sounds like a mopey beginning to the return of the bogs, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not~
And it’s a 2-3 parter (so you have a chance to go get yerself a refill).

I admit though that I’m pretty sure no one is more disappointed than myself that these updates went from weekly (if not more than one in a week) to monthly-ish to what looks like quarterly (not even that, since the last one was posted on January 21st and it’s now June). Arg. As I was moving all the blogs from the old site over to the new one (story in itself) I was catching glimpses of that life before and missing it terribly. Not so much wanting to relive those particular moments, but that music and my project were the center of my life. Of all the hats/pants/jackets I wear, music is the one that suits me best. Even with the anxiety of performing in public. It’s still the core of who I am and I’m not quite myself without it being front and center.

I’ve NOT lost any of my determination to make that happen. I’ve just been smarter about what needs to come first. It’s like my friend Bern reminded me the other day “What is it they say on the airplane when there’s trouble? You must first place the oxygen mask on yourself before attempting anything else”. I get that (though I’ve been dragging my feet in denial city) those three rounds of chemo and the rest didn’t leave me unscathed. I get now that I’m not going to be able to bound right back up those stairs, and I’ve had some great insights from friends like Mar who told me about her return to work when she tried to leap up the stairs and nearly fell flat on her face. The physical memory is still there, but the reality doesn’t fit. Like the patient who claims their leg itches after amputation. Mine, isn’t nearly as dramatic. Only that I’m learning to accept that the woman in the music video in my head is a while away from re-emerging and when she finally does she may not be quite as spastic-ally ageless in appearance and movement.

You know me though. Even if I can’t be the full time musical force (to be reckoned with) myself, I can still hear and feel music in everything around me whether it’s the dripping of the faucet, the tick in the engine of my car or the giggles that burst out of Sailor (the baby from the Baby song) whenever her mommy makes a funny face. Still, I’m getting there…

This last Thursday I was packing for my flight the following morning and convincing myself that I should stay put and skip the FJ/Hill Street Open mic, even though I’d posted it on my page that I was going…I’d missed the last couple anyway and even though Amanda RSVP’d she was going, she and her husband don’t just go for me, they have other friends there too, so who’d notice? Then, I did what I normally do when I’m on the fence and I picked up Martin and started playing a couple songs to see where my voice was at. Sometimes it’s tired and rusty and that usually answers that and I’m in for the night. If it feels like it’s busting to sing then I buck up, put it in the case and off I go. This time it was somewhere in the middle, but I sensed I’d regret it if I didn’t now, knowing I’d be a full weekend away from my music come tomorrow.

I smiled hello to JD and made my way to the signup board. I was surprised to see I had so many time slot choices. Usually there’s just one left by the time I get there (and that’s right about 7pm when it starts). I took a middle slot, thinking I could get home early for a good night’s rest and still fit this in. Seems like every table was reserved so I took the little one by the stage and ordered up. There were moments as I sat there that the anxiety was trying to push its way through, but I just kept breathing and alternating between sipping my green tea and hot sake, reminding myself that at some point in the evening I’m sure I’ll get a sign that I was meant to be there and if I really don’t think I can sing then just give someone my slot and enjoy the music around me.

I can’t remember why I took my guitar back to the back garden room. It’s where I’d go if I was trying something new and needed a last minute go over before being called up. I think it was just that it was beautifully lit with candles and I’m always drawn to that. I was chatting with JD and Ohhh right~ I was back there to show David (Sias) how to play “Piece of Cake” (see, chemo brain) because I saw Chris (Yorke) up on the stage with JD earlier with a fiddle and which caused the spark to shake things up. Snoopy (I sometimes call D.S.) offered in the past to play drums with me, but I still get a bit overwhelmed trying to keep in time with a drummer so I jumped at this. I really want to play music with him and the others I do (I honestly get sick of being alone on stage), so this was my chance and he went for it. I played a couple songs on my own first…BNYD and Red Rover and I noticed that Chuck had some serious camera equipment pointed at me. I don’t care so much this time. At least my neck isn’t a linebacker’s anymore and I can get on and off the stage without hobbling so I didn’t go into a frenzy when I saw it.

Just before we started our trio (ohhhhh I just love saying that word and can hardly wait till it comes true), I set my little flip cam on the bar stool in front of me and aimed it at the crowd and Chuck’s camera claiming it was fair play. Snoopy and I had gone over how many times he would do the intro part, but I forgot to warn him that I drift off a lot these days and lose count so it was near disaster a couple of times. The good news is again, that I was in good company, everyone there knows my story and is more than forgiving and supportive. Looking at the clip I also noticed several things I don’t get to see when I’m blinded by the light and nerves. Note to self, bring flip cam more often, pretty entertaining. Though it was a bit rough around the edges we all agreed it was stellar effort, there’s something to it and we should try try again. Next time, definitely more mic on the fiddle and maybe some harmonies?

Now, this is usually the part where I talk about lessons learned, thank you all and say until the next time, but it has been so long that I’m busting at the seams with updates, so once I get back from dinner break (hello, it’s Taco Tuesday with Bren, can you blame me?) it’s on to part 2 of this particular evening’s update “For She is Worth…”.