October 27, 2016 [LINK / comment]

Three more Open Mic appearances!

Last night (Wednesday), I had yet another Open Mic appearance with the Staunton Music Guild at Queen City Brewery. It marked the third consecutive month (see September 30) that I have made three such appearances. I was grateful that one of my friends from the Augusta Bird Club, Peter Van Acker, came to watch. As often happens, not until after things got underway at 7:00 were there a substantial number of people there. I was the first to play (after Fritz Horisk did his introductory songs), the first time I had the "leadoff" spot. I played:

I only learned that first song ("Heartache Tonight") two weeks ago, on the day after the Washington Nationals lost Game 5 of the National League Divisional Series to the Dodgers. I explained that it was my way of getting the grief out of my system, and I even added a third verse relating to baseball:

One team is gonna lose this game, before the night is through
Some batter's gonna strike out swinging, with the bases loaded
Every player tries his best to win, if it takes all night
Every fan wants a championship, or wait till next year!

As it happened, Game 2 of the World Series was taking place as we played, and after I finished, I would go up to the bar every ten minutes or so to check the score on the TV set. The next two songs I had been working on for weeks, and my preparation paid off. The theme was musical instruments, and my original plan was include Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man" (rather than "Heartache Tonight") to complete the instrumental trio. On "Guitar Man," the harmonica takes the place of the slide guitar, and on "Piano Man" (which prominently features the harmonica), the guitar takes the place of the piano. I got a couple lines of lyrics mixed up on the first one, but "Piano Man" came across very well, and I got some nice applause.

Two weeks earlier, on October 12, I focused on the Eagles, my favorite group but one whose songs I had not done since July. It was the first time since my first appearance (March 9) that I did not use harmonicas at all.

For the first song, I explained that Don Henley and Glenn Frey (co-founders of the Eagles) started out as backup musicians for Linda Ronstadt. Playing it involves some unusual finger picking, and ordinarily I can do it very well, but just didn't execute cleanly enough this time. For "Lyin' Eyes" I got some of the lyrics mixed up (they are rather lengthy), but otherwise did OK. I did the last song ("I Can't Tell You Why") very well except for one part in the lead guitar sequence where I missed a couple notes.

And three weeks ago, on October 5, I had to improvise in my selection of songs because I had been too busy on church-related and bird club-related tasks that day to practice any songs.

The first one was a plaintive love song with a lead harmonica part that I did fairly well. I realized, to my surprise, that it was the first Crosby, Stills, & Nash song that I have played in public. On the next song ("Within Without") I used the harmonica in place of the lead guitar, and I was pleased by how it turned out. I closed with a fast-paced rock tune by the Moody Blues, and I thought I did OK on it, but didn't get as much audience reaction as I was hoping for. You never know.

Music page update

I updated my Music page with a brand-new tabular list of all the songs (41 altogether) that I have played in the Open Mic events since last March. The last two columns of the table indicate the songs on which I used a harmonica, and how I rated myself in playing each song, on an "A - B - C - D" scale.