In-Home and Homegrown

Years ago, from 1983-85, I was a member of a southern California group of folk musicians, patrons, and lovers of folk music that met for in-home concerts, camp-outs, and workshops. Nearly every weekend I was in someone's living room listening to a songwriter or folk group, and meeting them close-up. Even back then (or perhaps especially back then, during the heat of the Eighties) I found the experience enriching. Soon, I was performing at house concerts, too. After years of playing duets with bar blenders, and cocktail waitresses shouting out drink orders, I really took to the respect an artist feels when the audience is actually listening, not whooping and whistling. I'm afraid that if I were a well-known songwriter and was met with that crap, I'd leave off playing and say, "Look, you came here to hear me. I came here to play for you. Now, sit down and be quiet." I'm sure that wouldn't gain me any fans, but at least I'd have had my say. But you never know. Some major acts are demanding their audiences put their cell phones away during their concerts.

House concerts are great because they draw a listening audience—everyone is there for the express purpose of hearing the song. If you've never experienced live music in a true listening situation, then you need to.

"All of these things, we believe, set us apart from the usual large concert and bar experience, where sometimes the music winds up being secondary to the party atmosphere and worse yet, relegated to background music." - Scott Aycock, House Concerts Unlimited

I've decided to host my own house concert this year, here at Bookends Cottage. I miss performing, despite the crippling stage fright that started to appear around 1990 and grew to such epic proportions that I couldn't even sing for my family unless I was three sheets to the wind. Of course, that only exacerbated the problem, because I can't perform at peak with even so much as one drink in me. Invariably, I'd wake up the next morning, remember how shitty I sounded, and tell myself my performing days are over. Well, my days as an unabashed wino are gone, and I'm really itching to perform again.

So here I am relearning some of my old songs, learning my new ones, and brushing upon some favorite covers, and I'm finding that the planning process of this is having a calming effect on my stage fright. Well, that's how it works, isn't it? The better one knows one's material, the more confident one is. Who knows what this might lead to? I'm already planning to record an album this year, so maybe I'll get on the house concert circuit again. But sh! I'm not ready to start thinking beyond this one performance just yet.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.