Dec 072009

Yesterday Feel The Wag was on the schedule to play at Reston Regional library’s annual holiday open house. There were kids wearing balloon hats that were several feet tall, plus snacks and who knows what all was going on.

Our mando and guitar picker bill couldn’t make it at the last minute, so it was just Bud on hammered dulcimer and me on everything else. Without bill there I took the opportunity to add my mandolin to my other usual instruments, fiddle and 12-string guitar. We played some of our usual old-time and contra-style tunes. We mixed in a few holiday things, and bud did a few extra dulcimer features that were a nice change of musical scenery.

We were a bit shaky and off-kilter to start, but we picked up energy and got through it OK. If it were a recording session, we would have had to quit and just say “none of these takes will do–better luck next time.”

Funny to think about the clumsiness after the gig. The sound in the library is a little dead and dull compared to the live rooms where we usually practice. Bud and I only play as a duo on occasion, maybe three or four times over the past few years. And there was a little extra nervousness for some reason. When we have played at the library in the past, we have seemed extra relaxed. but yesterday we seemed a bit jumpy. I just read something by Eric maisel about performance anxiety that described Luciano Pavarotti’s odd habit of looking for a bent nail before each performance. That was Pavarotti’s way of dealing with his performance anxiety–just find a bent nail as a lucky charm. wow, if that guy got a little jumpy, I guess we’re in good company.

We had a nice crew of friends and fans there to hear us. there were some little kids dancing and clapping. One dad was showing his kid how to clap to the music. There were also people talking loudly right next to us while we played. They were trying to get some kids to pose for a picture, and they had no idea they were disturbing our performance. “Hold up your balloon, please! Now make a smile on yourr face! No, you can smile better than that, can’t you?” Craziness.

On we go. I’m eager to see what 2010 will bring for Feel The Wag. Hopefully some hard work, lots of new tunes, and lots of fun gigs.

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