I recorded this demo in my apartment during the morning/afternoon today. It’s been awhile I tried anything at least even a little rocking. I think this tune could use a singer to break up all the guitar pickin’ and harmonica blowin’.
I think this would be fun to play live, though…
Also, I need someone to teach me how to work all the recording technology out there so that I can punch up the volume a little bit on these things.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to perform in The Flashband Project, a local program where you team up with musicians to create a 15-20 minute set in 30 days. Forming a band is like speed dating. You meet at a big jam and roam and play until you find friendly faces.
My band, the Foggy Bottom Boys and Girls Club, played with seven other bands, and they were all very talented. Our genre was Americana but we leaned toward alt-country and indie folk. I played guitar and harmonica. Other groups sounded jazzy. One group of guys played pop country and their tunes, though not to my taste, we’re fantastically executed.
To be honest, I have not performed a whole lot in my life. I played guitar in my high school jazz band and jammed in basements and garages. Only this year, in my 32nd year, have I really challenged myself to get out in the world and play. My first exposure was a big bluegrass jam in Arlington in January. I didn’t know one damn song but it had me hooked. Later I tried an electric blues jam, which was terrifying because it was in a packed club. I didn’t bomb. I wasn’t good either. But I went to the workshop and came back to that same jam several months later, far improved. Two wasted guys told me I was amazing, I was so good they hated me. They were really drunk. But their compliments still count in my book.
All that prepared me for last night. I don’t feel like I was very good. But I wasn’t expecting to be at my peak. I was nervous and tense. On stage our sound was so bad, I could not hear any of our instruments. There is nothing more scary than playing music when you can’t hear anything. It’s completely disorienting.
But I put everything I had into it. I blew into my harp the best I knew how (I only started really playing earlier this year). I saw people in the front of the stage dancing and shaking their heads to the beat. At the end, they roared. One guy in another band told us we were incredible (I’m not sure that’s true but I appreciated his support). I was so amped up afterward, I didn’t sleep.
My friends came to see me. My uncle passing through town, too. They asked: So, what’s next? I wasn’t sure what my next goal would be. Playing in a band was a big milestone for me. It was fun, rewarding, terrifying, traumatizing, thrilling—all at the same time. I think what is next is a couple days off then practice to keep getting better. I know what I need to work on…The photo above is by my friend Jen.
If you live in DC and like country, bluegrass or folky indie, you should come see my flashband this Sunday night!