After a relatively quiet 2015 (as far as music goes), I played my first songwriter showcase of 2016 at Iron Cactus North in Austin. Amy Zamarripa (awesome host and great songwriter who has put together open mics and shows at Whip In, Fair Bean Coffee, and other venues) hosted a songs-in-the-round showcase, where a few of us shared the stage and took turns playing songs. I shared a set with Amy Zamarripa and Amy Seguno (two very talented Amys) and took the opportunity to play a couple cold weather songs, “the time that passes” from like they do in movies and “your pretty black bow” from 52 of 28.
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On October 25 I played a show at Cherrywood Coffeehouse, a delightful spot that features (in addition to great coffee, of course) food, beer and a neighborly, welcoming atmosphere. I’m playing there again on November 15 and already looking forward to it.
The stage at Cherrywood Coffeehouse is outside on the patio (also dog-friendly; if only my dogs were more social), and though the weather wasn’t as fall-like as I would’ve hoped it was still nice, and got nicer and cooler into the evening.
Although it may have been a little risky for my first show at the venue, I decided to try some new tricks; not magic tricks, sadly, but performing with a loop pedal for the first time. I practiced the heck out of five songs: “lost in the lack of a moment,” “the alien,” “a good impression,” “where our smiles belong,” and “more of the world,” eager to get the loops right and anxious about doing something that involved so much coordination. I don’t get nervous about playing shows, but I do tend to forget my words (part of the rushmore beekeepers charm, right?) and/or goof up a little here and there. So, yeah, the idea of playing with a drum beat and other instruments got me into practice mode. This is also the biggest change to my live set-up in a long time, so I’ve been feeling the pressure.
Carrie took a couple videos with her phone (one clip and one full song, including a false start and some funny faces), and I think overall the loop experiment was a success. I’m excited to try it with more instruments, more songs and some electric guitar. After all, my Danelectro Hodad is back and ready to rock.
As a solo and mostly acoustic musician I’ve never been very comfortable with a strictly folk/singer-songwriter label, so I’m excited to bring some of my electric and more developed material back into my live sets. Having to pack, set-up and tear down the equipment for a full band? Well, that’s something I’ll have to get used to.
P.S.: Those birds you hear are not in the band. The rushmore beekeepers band, anyway.
Showtime! I’m playing two shows in Austin this July. I’ll be at Whip In on Tuesday, July 22 and at Fair Bean Coffee on Saturday, July 26. The talented Amy Zamarripa is hosting a great line-up at both shows, and I can personally vouch for the food, drinks, and atmosphere at both venues. Find out more and map it out on the rushmore beekeepers shows page.
Also, here are some things I’m doing that will surely help me write more songs:
- Read more. I’m currently reading The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory by Jesse Walker. An interesting read, although I’m not sure if it will inspire any songs, or if those songs will get me added to any New World Order/Illuminati watch lists.
- Play more electric guitar. I finally got my Danelectro Hodad fixed and I’m ready to make some noise. (The last time I recorded with that guitar was on today is boring.)
- Write more, even if I end up not using the material. I feel like I’ve slacked a lot when it comes to writing as an exercise.