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.
Great to see old friends at the open mic to usher in a New Year, the Year Of Vision as they have cleverly dubbed it. Not much audience quantity, but much quality. I run through a few old classics, and even spout about 20 seconds of overt comedy, after which I proclaim that it was comedy. Rookie mistake, but that’s what open mic is for. Ahem. Scroll past this video to view my New Year video, “Year of Vision.”
Year of Vision
In 2020, I want to do a lot more of these little moment-inspired music videos. The music in this is 99% loops from the Mummer’s 2020 parade, and the video is 100% iPhone. Editing was exclusively iMovie on my iPhone.
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.
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.
The thing about open mic is that it is a good training ground for learning to fail gracefully. Here I pay tribute to Jay Russell, a dearly departed bandmate from yesteryear, by unsuccessfully muddling through The Pledge. However, my inability to complete the song did not surprise me: I had only learned it the day before, and practiced it a handful of times. I learned firsthand that the concept of “turning failure into success” is real. Interestingly, the fellow directly in front of me immediately embraced the chorus, “I pledge allegiance to cigarettes and booze,” as though it were a song he has stumbled down the sidewalk blurting at 2:17 am several times, despite having only heard it this very night.
Also, in a performance situation, having an old standby like Chinese Buffet to cap off the performance in a positive way is an excellent arrow to have in my quiver of performance strategy. Also featured: Spam.