Monday, May 27, 2013

It's just so scary

Christa and I took a quick trip to Nashville earlier this month. Last year I spent several weeks there getting to know the city and working up the courage to play at open mics. I've played hundreds and hundreds of concerts in my lifetime, but probably less than 10 open mics. At this point I don't particularly like them. Actually I get pretty nervous. In a normal concert I usually have time to get a decent mix and it sometimes takes me a few songs to get into it, but that's ok. At the Bluebird open mic, you get one song. No time to warm up or tweak your mix. Get up and deliver the song. It kind of levels the playing field.

Well not completely. Even with all those restrictions, there's still the song and the performance. I've heard brilliant songs in Nashville that nailed me even though the writer could hardly sing. And, of course, many mediocre songs that seemed pretty good because of the performance.

Writing a song is one thing. Delivering it is another. Recording it is another thing altogether.

The night I played the Bluebird this month there were 30 performers. Everyone played once and then they picked 10 of those 30 to play a second time, a second song. I sat there while they picked the names, hoping really, really hard that they would not pick me. I made it through delivering one song; I wasn't sure I could have done another. They didn't call my name and I gulped water in the corner and posted to instagram through the final 25 minutes, then grabbed my guitar and cleared out of there. It's a good thing to do, a privilege for which I'm grateful.

It's just so scary.

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