May .... already?
This past Saturday evening I had the distinct honor and pleasure to perform at a Songwriters Circle in Nashville TN along with (from l to r) Bill Lloyd, Tom Hambridge, Jason Scheff and George Teren.
Tom has been a good friend of mine for some time. A few years ago he relocated from Boston to Nashville where he has become a fixture on the music scene. Managing to make his mark in an extremely competitive town when it comes to songwriting, producing and performing.
Each year he's asked by the owners of a legendary club in Nashville, The Bluebird Cafe to host a songwriters night. When his schedule permits, he accepts, calls a few of his buddy's and for a little over 2 hours on a Saturday night plays MC to some wonderfully diverse and eclectic music.
For the uninitiated, a Songwriters Circle works in the following way;
2 or more (in this case 4) songwriters sit in a circle on a stage and take turns playing a song each. Sometimes explaining what motivated them to write a particular song or how the song came to be written. Each person gets to play four or five songs in a couple hours (we each wound up playing 7 on Saturday). The format is loose, genial and respectful.
I've only done one of this kind of show before in Pittsburgh a few years ago. At this one, I was surrounded by guys that had written multiple hits for some very popular Country and Blues artists. People like Trisha Yearwood, Carrie Underwood, Trace Atkins and a slew of others.
So .... Tom Hambridge called me last month and asked me if I'd be interested in joining him and the others. I wasn't about to turn down the opportunity to play solo in Nashville let alone perform at The Bluebird.
Booked a flight, rented a car, called Randy Flowers to tell him to have his maid make a bed in one of the spare rooms of his newly built mansion and got my butt to Nashvegas Saturday afternoon.
I was slightly nervous given the company I was in but I can't remember having a better time listening to other peoples songs and playing my own as well.
I was especially impressed with George Teren. His lyrics were heartfelt and touching. Simple yet deep. The perfect mix for a good song.
Of course Tom was great and the highlight of the night for me was playing 'Sometimes Love Is A Dangerous Thing' which we co-wrote. Since it has a somewhat Country / Rockabilly feel to it, it went over well with the mainly southern crowd.
I was told by Tom to expect to do 4 or 5 songs at most. Maybe 6. I mulled over which ones I was going to play but because I'm currently working on new material, didn't really sit down to go over my selections till the night before. Being the person I am, I thought to myself "I'll be lucky to get four songs in ... if I have to do one more than that I'll wing it."
After I did my fourth song I thought, hmmm what next? We went around the circle again and I pulled 'Sometimes Love...' out. Whew... made it throught that one with flying colors since I hadn't played it in sometime. Then .... again it came around to me..... un oh ..... OK OK I know, I'll do 'There Goes My Inspiration' .... luckily there were some Utopia fans in the crowd and that one was well recieved .... AGAIN the round comes to me .... Christ! What do I do now? OK OK OK .... 'Before She Was Gone' ... unfortunately, I hadn't played that song in a LONG time and I had forgotten some of the chords and dropped the "F" bomb (quite loudly) in the middle of screwing up the same chord twice .... I sweated through that one but ..... God Damnit AGAIN? The circle came around to me AGAIN? I was forced to play one more song and relied on (and screeched my way through) 'Don't Hold Me Back'.
Thankfully that was the last time I had to play. Only because I would have had to curse again to make it through another song I hadn't rehearsed (apparently the propritors don't appreciate cussin') I think I got away with it because I'm a New Yorker and didn't appologize.
Al in all it was a great night. Tom brought up a buddy of his, Jason Scheff who plays with Chicago to do a song. What a lovely and extremely talented guy he is.
So, there you have it, my Nashville experience. Unfortunately Randy Flowers didn't attend the show ... he was busy making sure his Butler knew exactly what I needed when I arrived back at his Estate.
The pictures above were taken and given to me by The Bill Graham Of 2009,
Doug (Concert Promoter Extrodinare) Ford.
I have his permission to use them here and here alone.
Any unauthorized use of said photos will result in a madatory appearance on Radio Rundgren.
Enough said .....