Last Tuesday I performed some new songs at the Reston-Herndon Folk Club. I had won their monthly random drawing for someone to play a 25-minute set. I decided to ask my musical friends Harny and Al to join me, and folks seemed to enjoy the trio set.
I was a little extra nervous that night. Performing new songs makes me a little worried that some of them are just going to stink. Being nervous affected my guitar playing a little, but overall it went fine. Harny played harmonica, slide guitar, and sang some harmonies. Al played mandolin and guitar. These guys are very capable and knowledgeable musicians, so it was a treat to have them join me. I showed them what I wanted them to play without writing out charts, and they really got a good ninety-some percent of it.
We did five of my originals that I want to take into the studio. Overall the board recording was OK, though the stuff was pretty sloppy and ragged at a lot of points. Some of the slop just comes from putting three guys together and only practicing a few times. I also didn’t like how I was singing. I think that I was pushing for volume at some points and not letting my body resonate naturally. I think that the mike I was singing into sounded very tinny while the guitar mikes were very boomy. That could have been the mikes or the board, or maybe it sounded better in the room than on the recording. But, the songs did well and the trio situation added a lot.
We also played a reel called “Reuben and Sandy,” written by Al’s friend Charlie Hall. Al played mando and I played flatpick guitar. This was the best part of the whole set. Al plays very clean mando, and my picking held up pretty good too. Just a good bluegrassy number. I will have to decide if I want to put this or any other instrumentals on the next CD. I really don’t want to go through the hassle of licensing and paying for someone else’s material on a CD when I have so much of my own. But, this is an exceptional tune. We’re also going to add it to our tune lists for Feel The Wag, so I will need to work out something with the composer anyway.
So now I have the hard part of listening to this board recording for a week or two and deciding what really needs to be fixed. Mostly I need to work on possibly choosing better keys for one or two, and also just exercising the songs a little more so I can hit the notes more accurately with my voice. Hopefully I can get Al and Harny to record with me, but who knows?
On we go.