Last night I was at a party.
I hadn’t seen my bass player Scott Fernandez in a long time as we haven’t been playing showing much, and I’ve been workshopping new songs. He invited me out to this party to meet some new cats, network, have a good time – as he explained it.
I got there, realized there were about 10 people rotating on instruments, playing each others songs. There was harp (the big stringed kind, not the mouth kind), accordion, guitar, cello, a melodica at one point, percussion, banjo, a room full of voices… A band of gypsies.
As soon as I arrived, someone started playing a song, the room quieted, and the harmonies and various instruments began playing their fly-by-night parts. Immediately after that he introduced me and pulled me up to play a song of my own. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
As much as it was extremely “improvised” and it was hard for them to hear what I was doing on the guitar (I wasn’t amplified, and didn’t use a pick), it was a beautiful sound that came from that room. I actually played “Love and War Pt.1” – the #humpday song from this week.
I didn’t get any pictures, or record the thing (gotta get better about that), but it was pretty damn great, and I’ll never forget it. It feels amazing as a songwriter to have your songs come to life with a full arrangement of parts, whether improvised or rehearsed. And I’m always more of a fan when the parts can be something that I didn’t personally plan out, especially when they sound good!
This is just one of the things I love about music. People gather around it, and play with each other like children on a playground. When the vibe is right, people are sharing that limelight, and interacting with each others’ emotions. It’s a visceral experience. It’s unlike film, TV… Live music is completely unlike recorded music. You can’t capture “live” sound. Only one moment of it. “You had to be there”.
As I was leaving the cellist cocked his head up, looked up and to the right, and said, “that’s in C minor.” Just, very matter-of-fact-like. Then he nodded, his friend laughed, and they continued their conversation. Only musicians. I love them. Thank you for being who you are, all the time, without sacrificing any element of who you are. I’m constantly shown why I am who I am through the experience of you.