September 27, 2017
For the third time, I did a musical performance at Bedlam Brewing last Sunday evening (September 24), and everything went pretty smoothly. There weren't quite as many people there as there were in July (see August 30 blog post), possibly because there were benefit concerts taking place at almost the same time. At Montgomery Hall Park in Staunton, they observed Peace Day, and at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, Dave Matthews led a big-name list of performers raising funds for the victims and for the cause of peace. Heeding that background, some of the songs I played had a peace-related theme.
Another event taking place in Staunton that weekend drew huge crowds to downtown: "Queen City Mischief & Magic," celebrating the Harry Potter series of books and movies. Kids of all ages were walking around wearing the costumes of witches or medieval ogres. I felt obliged to adjust my play-list accordingly. Creedence Clearwater Revival's "I Put A Spell On You" was a true rush job: I essentially learned it from scratch just a few hours before the show began! After a brief break, I played a "news, weather, and sports" segment, referring to President Trump's recent derision of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as "Rocket Man." Then I noted the recent catastrophic tropical storms with Neil Young's "Like a Hurricane," and played two songs about baseball, since it's the final week of the regular season. The latter song, about the Chicago Cubs, was written by Steve Goodman, who is better known as the composer of "City of New Orleans," so I did that song too and talked about him briefly.
Toward the end of the show, I played three Pink Floyd songs, two of which I had played the time before but with weak volume, so I decided they deserved a proper presentation. They went pretty well, and after an obligatory Ozark Mountain Daredevils tune, I wowed the crowd with my rendition of "Hotel California," using the harmonica in place of the lead guitar at the end. The final four songs were OK, and for the most part I was satisfied with my performance. I need to concentrate more on my voice projection, and need to practice my harmonica parts more thoroughly. My next show at Bedlam Brewing will be Friday, November 17, from 8:00 to 10:00 PM.
After skipping a week, I returned to the open mic night at Queen City Brewing on September 13, playing inside with a modest-sized crowd present. I have been heavily focused on learning songs by Sheryl Crow and The Police lately, following earlier such phases this year focusing on Creedence Clearwater Revival, Elton John, and Pink Floyd. I recently changed the way I play "De Doo Doo Doo, De Da Da Da," and I obviously was not ready to do that one in public. The next three songs went much better, fortunately.
On September 20, I was the only musician there besides the host, Fritz Horisk. So, to fill the extra time available, I did twelve (12) songs, matching the number Fritz played. It was the first time I played "Hotel California" in public, and except for one or two rough spots, it went very well. For the last song, Sheryl Crow's "My Favorite Mistake," I was joined by Lisa Humphries Newhall, who sang some Sheryl Crow songs with local guitarist Perry Davis last month, which is what inspired me to learn some of that material. Lisa has a great, soulful voice, doing far better justice to that song that I could.
The very next evening (September 21) I went to the open mic event at Barrenridge Vineyards, arriving about 45 minutes late. (I thought that it started at 7:00 and that I was "only" 15 minutes late.) Those events are being organized by Bill Harlow, a local guitar and bass player who started playing at Queen City Brewing a few months ago. My first time playing at Barrenridge was on August 17. Bill plays with an electric guitarist named Bob, and they sound great.
Finally, this evening (September 27) at Queen City Brewing was a big improvement over the week before, with four musicians (including the host, Fritz Horisk), and a decent-sized audience. Even Jacqueline was there this time! We were playing outside, with clear skies, a half moon, and mild temperatures. Beforehand, I wasn't really sure what to play, and had some trepidation. Nevertheless, except for the first one (which as noted above, I just learned on Sunday!) I played pretty well, and had very positive reaction from the audience.
NOTE: I haven't updated the Music page for some time, but intend to revamp the repertoire section of it in the near future, possibly putting that information on a separate page.