Last night I played a set at Jammin Java. They’ve started doing songwriter showcases on Mondays, hosted by the ever-awesome Ron Goad. They used to have an open mike on Mondays, where each performer got two songs. I went once a few years ago, and there was just not much that interested me that night. Ron has gotten away from that. He is scheduling the performers ahead of time, and he only schedules folks once he has heard their music. Each act gets twenty minutes, so that’s about five songs.
Last night had some great music. Billie Sokul played improvised pieces on fretless bass accompanied by hand percussion, and he was rocking the place. Karen Karma played piano and sang some great originals. I hadn’t heard either of them before, and they both brought power and energy to the room.
There were some great sets by performers that I have heard before: Jean Bayou, Larry Mediate, and the Transcendental Third twins. Larry kicked into “Powder Finger” with some real emotion in his voice, joined by Bernie Muller-Tyme and Ron. Oh yeah, Bernie closed out the night with some great songs done solo. When I hear Bernie sing, I realize that there is a whole language of freely improvised singing out there that I don’t speak fluently. Awesome stuff.
My set went really well. The sound is great at JJ. The lights are bright and hot, which I really like. I hate feeling my skinny hands getting cold when I play, and that happens to me sometimes in the winter. I tried out my new Fishman 12-string pedal, and it did its job quite nicely. The guitar sounded good in the monitor anyway. Robin told me that my focals sounded very clear and sparkly. She said that it seemed to be a combination of a great mike and extra strong voice on my part. She’s biased maybe, but I’m always glad to get a good review from her. She definitely lets me know when I could have done better. So all the technicals seemed to be OK last night.
I had trouble deciding what to sing. I decided to sing stuff from my CD rather than bust out some new stuff. I need to work a little more on some of the new stuff, though I have a couple that are ready and have made it to public performance already. Mary Cliff played my CD twice over the weekend, so I played those two songs (“Hazardous” and “Corporation Blues”). I also played “Reuben’s Train” stuck on the front of my “Tree” for the second time, and I like that medley. No feedback yet from anyone on that thing, so we’ll see if it holds up.
What else? I got lots of good feedback on my set. “Best ever” from one person. A few folks were telling me about the NE regional Folk Alliance, which I hadn’t heard of. They have some contest or something where they choose performers based on submissions, so I might check that out. Oh yeah, that reminds me, got to get my stuff to Kerrville pretty soon.
Overall JJ was a hit. The night went a little long, so we left once the yawns started coming out. I was very very happy to have a bunch of friends there; nothing better than folks who want to hang out and hear your songs. We’ll have to go back again sometime just to listn to other folks. And I’m looking forward to playing again at JJ sometime soon.