I accepted the invitation to host with a heavy heart. The Thirsty Soul was closing, and it was the last open mic night. I was the first guest performer and the last host. I met many talented people. Some were just peeking their heads out into the world to share themselves for a night. Others were jumping from open mic to open mic in the city. And some, like myself, were reliably present each week.
This particular open mic was sparsely populated: It was Bongo Billy, Pete, and I. With an empty Red Room, I hooked into the Bluetooth and Bongo Billy and I jammed to the Alley Cat and Mama Don’t Allow It. I unremarkably rolled into the last Facebook stream and acted out my best open mic night host impression and belted out some tunes, followed by the others.
The furniture tapped their legs. The chandelier shrugged. The sound system reminded me how much it dislikes acoustic guitar pickups. And so it was. With Pete’s Taylor in arms, I eeked out Redneck Vacation and finished up with my final performance of Chinese Buffet in the lush, comfy, New Orleans-styled parlor to the applause of a small circle of friends.
What could make a night filled with friends from my day job coming to hang out and cheer and witness the wonder of the Chinese buffet better? Ben the trombonist! Check out boogie woogie and blues enhanced in the way only trombone can do it.
The presence of a talented trombonist brought me face to face with one of my Bucket List items: Jamming with a New Orleans blues band. After balancing this supernatural energy with the enjoyment and process of performing, I glowed for days afterward. I bought Ben dinner, and found out he had been dragging his trombone around since he was a toddler. When his mother tried taking it away during those early days, his pastor stepped up and advocated for young Ben to be able to indulge his musical passion. Awesome!
Back after a little time off, and “loaded for bear,” as they say. (Who is they? Somebody.) And I figured I’d noodle around with my special adaptation of “Song of Fire and Ice” from Game of Thrones. I’m not sure where it originated, but I did not invent it…
In completely unrelated fantastic news: That guy who introduces me—the host of the open mic—Louis Middleton—has been recording in my studio, and will be releasing his first single soon. I’ll be sure to promote it here… He is a very upbeat entertainer, and has an Elton John-type vibe.
I briefly toyed with click-bait ideas when titling this post, for this video received a copyright claim related to my version of John Prine’s Please Don’t Bury Me. However, it’s just the sort of non-troversy that I’ve grown bored of in other facets of my life, so why contribute to the demise of civilization in such a fashion? My punishment is that–if I were to join YouTube’s partner program–I could not monetize this video. My interpretation is: I rocked the piano so hard I broke the algorithm.
Do not allow this contemporary tale of woe overshadow the first tune I play in this set, though. Overstayer Question is a brand new tune that is short and easy to remember and perfect to play if someone sticks around too long at a party.
Completely energized and three days into quitting smoking, I ravaged the piano with unrelenting force. Featuring a couple of instrumentals, including Heart & Soul, and concluded with the Boogie Woogie.
Having a piano sitting around the house is awesome. I can’t keep my hands from pecking it, prodding it, tinkling its keys. The ability to practice without having to turn a bunch of studio equipment on has re-ignited the piano fire in my belly. I hope you enjoy my rendition of Heart and Soul; this is the first time I’ve ever performed it in public, and I think it deserves to become a regular piece in my sets.