|An adorable little girl decides she belongs on the stage,
too, during Sarah's set last night at Rebecca's
Last night I had an amazing time playing Charlie California's Tuesday Night Open Mic at Rebecca's coffee shop in the South Park part of San Diego. First off, upon walking into the place, I saw a couple of people who have now become new friends...singer-songwriter-guitarist Eric Bender and singer-guitarist Rory Bloch of the new band Mucho Mojo. Not too long ago each open mic I wandered into meant seeing a whole bunch of faces I didn't know. It's quickly becoming a much different feeling
I signed up and got the third time slot. Wes Lee played some great classic rock covers and a young lady who identified herself only as Sarah sang some great, original tunes. Then it was my turn. I asked the very talented multi-instrumentalist and percussionist Kimo to play percussion with me, and he kindly and generously agreed.
I played my newest song "First Step to Starlight" (live video on yesterday's post here), for the third time in four days, after just writing it on Saturday. I felt even more comfortable with it than I did Monday night at Lestat's, after I had really just learned it. The lyrics were more firmly in my mind after a good afternoon of practice at home, so I could concentrate more on just letting the emotions out and connecting with the audience. Kimo's percussion was excellent and perfect - there is so little guitar in the verses, it's really built to let other instrumentation take the helm. Kimo expertly picked up on this and gave it just the right feel.
Then I asked Charlie California himself, the host of the open mic, to play with me and Kimo on "Pretty Blade Trickster." Charlie often plays some sort of wooden, perhaps Native American flute in the sound checks before the open mic begins that has this beautiful, haunting sound to it. I always love it when he plays in the sound checks, so I asked him to play on "P.B.T." That song also has a haunting feel to it, so I felt like Charlie's flute would work well. The only way to find out was...to just do it and see what happened!
As it turned out...OH. MY. LORD. I only have my perspective while playing on stage, but to my eyes and ears, it was A-MAZING. For me Charlie's flute worked PERFECTLY, and Kimo again had just the right feel every step of the way with the percussion. By the first chorus I was having fun on stage in a way I have not experienced in quite a while. I was allowed to play three songs, but I left the stage after those two. They were both big experiments and had turned out beautifully, better than I had even hoped. I really need someone to come and video next time I do that, if I'm able to get the three of us together again on that one.
My new pal and insanely talented songwriter himself Eric Bender also shared with me that he liked the new song "First Step to Starlight," as well. I thank Eric for sharing that, it meant a lot to me. Ultimately, I need to always balance what I hear from other people with my own internal feelings and intuition. But hearing that one specific song really stood out for someone in the audience, and gave them some enjoyment...that's become absolutely crucial to my process. It helps me see what is true for me as well, and helps guide what I do next on this ever-evolving journey.
Then Rory and Blake from Mucho Mojo played some tunes, again with Kimo providing the beats. Their slowed-down, California-groovy cover of Green Day's "Longview" really made me smile. Then Eric played his set...he led off with his original "The Road to 99." I think I may have heard this one before, but I was really listening last night, partly because I had volunteered to video some songs for him with my iPhone. Truly great, heartfelt song. Eric has an amazing voice and fantastic lyrical sensibility. Then he played a great cover of "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz, and closed out with a song that gets the crowd going every time...his original tune "This Song's About You."
After Eric, Lightning Tom, who filled in as host last week, caught me off guard. He blazed into a cover of "Born to Be Wild" as soon as he took the stage. It was awesome. Then he went into a beautiful, eerie cover of "Nights in White Satin" by The Moody Blues. He did an outstanding job with these extremely well-known songs. I was definitely impressed!
After Tom, I caught the set of Brenden Bourgeois. I got to meet him and chat with him before the open mic started. He surprised me, because he told me he had already seen me play at Rebecca's, Lestat's and the Open Mic Rancho San Diego. I hadn't yet seen him, which probably means he played way before me or way after me on each of those occasions. But we had a great chat, which segued into a 3-way conversation about being a singer-songwriter-guitarist, specifically, with myself, Brenden and Eric.
After getting to know Brenden just a bit, I was excited to see what he sounded like. I was not disappointed. Great lyrics, great voice, really talented songwriter - all his stuff straight from the gut. All three songs really moved me. I'm looking forward to catching more of his sets in the future.
|A cute and VERY energetic little boy dances his way
through every note of Brenden Bourgeois' set
I'll be going to play the open mic at the 710 Beach Club in Pacific Beach tonight. That starts at 9:00PM PT, we'll see where I end up on the always-unpredictable time slot sweepstakes. And maybe, just maybe, I will write about the Psycho Lizard here tomorrow.
Thanks so much for visiting my blog here and for reading. I really appreciate you taking the time.