Playing Live: A Recap, Photos, and Thoughts on Musical Intuition
It feels good to perform and children understand music naturally
A performance recap and review
This past Saturday I performed a good set of music. Joined by my friend and fellow songwriter, Paul Ortega, we each played a set of music to a small audience at Barclay’s Coffee & Tea in Northridge.
I’ve included additional photos from the event below..
This was my first time to perform in a few months. It felt good and I received some great feedback from a couple people who attended.
While I still do not feel I am as prepared as I’d like to be, I was in far better form than a month or so ago. I had rehearsed and worked through most of the songs a few times a day for a couple weeks.
In truth, that is the minimum amount of rehearsing I should be doing. Per my prior piece on lies musicians tell themselves/ourselves, my goal is to be “amazing!” And while I did receive a “You were fabulous!” - I know I was less than amazing.
Again… good… solid… comfortable. Not amazing! Not yet!
This is cool though:
The co-owner of Barclay’s was there. She has not seen me perform since 2019. After I finished my second song she called over to me from behind the counter,, “You’re going to play that Mexico song tonight, right?”
“Do you mean, ‘South to Mexico?’”
She nodded enthusiastically.
South to Mexico is a solid tune… When I was touring cross-country a couple times a year, it was a fan favorite. Apparently, it still is. ;-)
So I performed it next.
Here is an acoustic performance video of the song from the loft…
What I found cool is that she remembered the song at all. That, after 3 years without hearing me play, she had a specific song that had stuck with her.
That’s cool, right?
Other musical moments of note:
Earlier in the day, I had been playing music with “The Girl”. It should be noted that “The Girl” in this case is NOT the the same, “The Girl” I often wrote about a few years back. “The Girl” from a few years ago is my daughter, Sara. She became, “The Punk” - which she still is but she’s a woman now, not a minor, and so I can refer to her by her name.
So, “The Girl”, in this case is the oldest grandchild living with us. For those who may wonder about why I use the moniker rather than her name… She is a minor child and I feel no reason to be put the name of minor children out in the public domain. It is unnecessary.
No… I’m not paranoid. It is more of a “why?”
Anywho… The Girl has told me she wants to be a rock star. I’ve explained that I support her goal. The first step to playing music is to play music. Playing is important!
She can play the following chords on guitar:
G C D Em
For those who play they can see that she is about 90% of the way to becoming a rock star already. 🙂
She also started playing my harmonicas the other day. I showed her a few things and then, as I was rehearsing, she would ask which harmonica she should play to accompany me.
Here is the cool part.
I was playing a song and she was watching me intently. When there was a break in the vocals, she would add a little bit of harmonica. She asked me to nod at her when there was a longer break. When I did, she would play to fill in that break.
It was basic but there were times it sounded really nice.
After I finished the song I asked her, “Why were you waiting until I stopped singing to start playing harmonica?”
She said, “In the songs we listen to, that’s when I hear other instruments come in. I don’t want to play over your singing.”
Damn!!!! There are a number of more technically accomplished musicians who need her to train them on musical dynamics and intuition.
She already wants to serve the song.
I remember when my band was auditioning lead guitar players. I would usually know within the first minute of the first song we played whether it was going to work. Yes, in the first minute. A feel for when NOT to play is as critical… no, more critical… than when they should play.
And one or two well-placed notes is, typically, far more interesting than 20 notes in the same place. Shredding is cool and has a time and place… typically not in my songs.
I told The Girl that if we continue working on music together, I would be honored to have her join me on stage.
Musical knowledge is learned. Musician intuition must be felt! You need the first but, in my opinion, the second is even more critical!!
The photos were taken by my
girlfriend (partner, lover, wife*), Deb.
* We aren’t officially married, we are in a domestic partnership, but we feel like the term girlfriend/boyfriend sounds too casual and too young. We are life partners, which doesn’t flow, so when talking to others about each other, we’ve just started saying husband and wife.
We should be back at Barclay’s in February. We’re also talking to venues in Ventura, Pasadena, and Los Angeles. Plus, there may be a house concert in Vegas in April.
Thank you for reading.
January 31, 2023
Love the article and pics. Great to see you up and performing. I think once I get to Kuwait (I'm told there's a live music scene there), I'll be doing the same. Your little cafe community seems to be enthralled. Thanks for sharing. And, yes, great pics from Deb.
Great photos, Deb! I always enjoy your thoughts and writing. Today is no exception.