Nov 212008

Hello again, whoever is reading this.

Last night I played a solo set at Bangkok Blues in Falls Church VA. The evening was about five or six different songwriter acts, each with about 25 minutes. Ron Goad was the host and organizer, under the auspices of the Songwriters’ Association of Washington.

Bangkok Blues is an awesome restaurant. They serve Thai food, and it is excellent. I am not deeply schooled in Thai food, so I just go along for a ride like a kindergartener picking one of three options off the kiddy menu at Eat ‘n’ Park. But even my novice mouth can appreciate delicious food without knowing exactly what it all is. The folks who run the place are all very sweet and friendly too.

My set went real well, I thought. I sang four songs from my CD, and two newer ones. The folks were responsive, partly because Ron goaded them on. He even interrupted me between songs to pitch my CD, since I was acting like a musician and forgetting to tell everyone to plop down their ten bucks to buy one.

I had a couple problems during my performance. First, there was a bad feedback in my guitar mike a couple of times. I should have just said something right away in the vocal mike to get the sound guy’s attention. Instead, I pulled my guitar back from the mike to try to manage it myself. That didn’t work, so the feedback monster was prowling around longer than necessary.

The other problem I had was fingerpicking. I am just getting back to performing fingerpicking arrangements. My song “Nickels and Dimes” really works well in a John Hurt blues thump thing, but my hand tensed up last night, and I had to get around that and back to the basic omm-pah rhythm in the thumb. Not too disastrous, but for the love of Mike I should be able to play my own arrangement, especially when I made it super simple for myself. Back to practicing, I suppose. Now where is my copy of the “Pumping Nylon” book? After I was done, I had thought that maybe I should try fingerpicking with my picks on. Merle Watson used to do that in concert, and then he would play with bare fingers in the studio, according to something I heard him say somewhere. I thought that the bare fingers last night might have been too quiet, but after listening to the CD today I think it was fine. I still might try the picks some more, but it’s not an emergency.

There were some other performers there that were good. Niambus went on after me, and she is always very cool. Ron had got folks to quiet down a lot to listen closely to my set, but poor Niambus had everyone gabbing and talking over her stuff. We could hardly hear her in the back where we sat. The Harley String Band were there too, with bazoukis, mandos, drums, accordian, banjo, maybe even a goold ol’ six-string guitar made an appearance. When we first got there, Chapter Three were playing. It took me a few seconds to realize that it was a live act and not the Indigo Girls playing on a CD.

Overall a fun night. We had about eight of us friends there at our table, which felt great. I’m looking forward to getting out to more SAW things, hearing more performers that are new to me, cross-polinating as Ron calls it. And I need to learn more about that delicious Thai food.

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