If you haven’t followed the story so far, here it is:
Cathryn Beeks who books several shows in San Diego is a fan of my Willie Nelson record. When I played her songwriter night at The Go Lounge in May, she talked up the record so I played a couple of Willie Nelson songs that night. Afterwards, Angela, the bartender/owner, asked if I would be interested in playing an entire show of country songs (“well, it doesn’t have to be all country,” she clarified). The Go Lounge was throwing a party for a regular and wanted country music. “Sure,” I said. “Can I bring a band?”
Last night was that show. Obviously, I’m not a country guy. I’m a guy who likes Willie Nelson a whole lot. One of the things I like so much about him is how stripped down his show is. I keep things pretty stripped down too. So I’ve had this idea for a while that I’d like to play the Willie songs I know in a similar style: brushes on a snare, jazzy leads, simple bass, with me and my acoustic leading things.
I’d mentioned that idea to Allen and David recently so when The Go Lounge booking came up, I asked If they’d join in. They both agreed. Soon after that our friend Boris had taken up bass so I invited him along too. I have a whole shed load of Willie Nelson tunes that I know. We hammered out a pretty good set of covers and originals over the last month or so and hit the show.
We had ideas of what to expect at the show. We had quite a few friends turn out to the gig and there was a good crowd of people at the bar but it wasn’t packed by any means. That reduced any anxiety on my part. Unfortunately, we had several sound issues and that kept us from feeling entirely comfortable onstage. Boris and Allen and I were up there the whole time. David joined us about halfway through.
We did pretty well on time considering that any set of mine has to be built of 2 minute songs. I don’t think we rushed any tempos. Although the sound issues distracted me several times and I lost a chord change or lyric here and there. It all rolled along as expected.
For the most part, it was what it was: an experiment in playing country tunes with some other guys. Though I don’t think I’d mentioned it to any of them, it’s been a resolution of mine for a while to play more music with other people. I wanted to do that last year and did to some extent but not regularly by any means. I haven’t done much of it this year either.
After last week’s show at the Avalon, it’s been kinda hard to think in the band mode, especially in a band mode that involves a lot of cover tunes. For that and another reason that I’ll address in another post, I don’t think the “country” band will be playing out again soon. But I won’t stop playing Willie Nelson songs. I’ll just have to work a little bit to integrate them into my punk rock.
Thanks to all my friends who came out last night. You all made it a really great time. Thanks to Angela and The Go Lounge for having us. Thanks to Seneca for running sound. And thanks to Boris, Allen and David for indulging me.