I’ve been playing guitar now for over 16 years. I came at playing guitar and writing music very late to the game. To my roommates in my early twenties, I frequently and fervently apologize. It was really quite an awful spectacle I’d imagine. I was really lucky though. I was surrounded by extremely patient people, despite the fact that I was writing gut-wrenching, overly lugubrious music about which ever girl had broken my heart. Thus, I say cheers to the people that have supported me in the many years that I’ve been playing out: friends, family, musicians, and random strangers.
I remember it like it was yesterday…well at least…this is how I remember it. I was sitting in Tony’s Pizza eating its name-sake, pizza not Tony (I don’t even know that there was ever a Tony). Mary Beth Barney (at the time) half owner of Ed’s Beer and Wine came in and we got to talking about people who played at Ed’s and how I would love to play. It transpired that she had an opening due to a cancellation. Score! What she didn’t know is that this would be my second paying gig ever, and I barely had enough material to fill an hour, much less three (ah the birth of my bar musician career…and my love/hate relationship therein….but that topic is for another day). I don’t even know how many songs I knew, and, frankly, the only thing I remember about the show was being half way through a particularly spirited song when my guitar strap gave way and the guitar gave way in pendulum fashion smashing the bout (the body) into the hard wood floor. Luckily, the only thing that suffered any real damage was my pride. This would be the first, but definitely not the last time, that I embarrassed myself on stage. I made it out of the gig, and, surprisingly, ended up playing there several more times. I’m sure mostly due to the fact that Mary Beth and Ed were just really nice people.
I think back to my early days and remember the tough gigs with great fondness. Today, life on the road is mostly good. Some of my contemporaries often remark about the gigs that, at the end of the day, are just another day at work. I relate to this idea on a visceral level. In my hometown, people more often than not will clap and be supportive, partly because they like what they are hearing, whether it be original songs or songs we all know by heart, and partly because they know me and don’t, necessarily, hate me. I perform places where a crowd of strangers doesn’t make a sound the whole show, but I look in my tip bucket to find a mass of treasure. Likewise, someone will come up and tell me how one of my songs has had a profound emotional effect on them; I think this example is why most musicians get into performing. I feel like everyone wants to connect with the outside world; some of us just do it via song. Conversely, there are the shows where a person seems to be having a good time watching the music and then the cell phone comes out for some video watching with the SOUND FULL BLAST! Some gigs are work.
Usually, when I start writing a blog post, I like to put a name in the subject. It provides me with a place of origin to get my mind on track. When I started out typing this, I tentatively named the blog post “Find your Rainbow.” I wasn’t married to it because it just sounded weird, but it was how I was feeling. The sentiment is still there: if you look for the bad, you’ll never see the good. I took the picture above on my phone at my friend’s wedding, which included a beautiful, if not sweltering hot, ceremony followed by the most torrential down poor I’ve ever seen at a wedding. The storm passed and all the people banded together inside the house whereby the attendees all made merry and everyone reveled in the abounding love. As is typical, as the clouds cleared and sun came out the rainbow appeared illuminating the good in the bad. Thus, reminding me to find the good: in my life, in the bad gigs, in the challenging personalities, and in myself. Everyone and everything is just another way to write a song. What will your song be?
Thanks for reading. If you’d like to come see me play some tunes, go to my shows page or look to the side bar on this page! Here’s a video from 2010 shot by Darron Jones, whom I never get to see anymore, but wish I would! Have a great day!