One thing I never want to find myself saying is “I used to play music”. Sometimes when I am tired, overwhelmed with work or family or just feeling funky I think about how much easier things would be if I did not write songs or have to book gigs and go out a lot. Then I think about the alternative. Would life be better if I sat on my couch more, met fewer people and heard and saw less art? It seems like an easy answer but for those other artists reading this blog – you know of what I speak: the temptation to just be can appear deceivingly comforting. But there is no real comfort in giving up – and honestly after the experiences of this past week I think comfort is overrated.
8 open mics in 7 days, 9 performances in 8 days. Murphy’s Open Mic at Scotty’s in Springfield, The Inspired Word at Tammany Hall in NYC, Espresso Joe’s in Keyport, Molly Maguires in Rumson, Roxy And Dukes in Dunellen, The Dragonfly Music and Coffee Cafe in Somerville, The Minstrel Open Stage in Morristown and The Green Planet Coffee Company in Point Pleasant. The amount of talent I have come across is amazing; the connections, friendships, opportunities are too many to name…although I have tried throughout this week of blogging to share the people I have met with those of you reading. There were many times when I felt uncomfortable and even tired by mid week – but every night I was so glad I pushed through these feelings and continued my challenge. There was not a single night that wasn’t worth it and where I did not witness the inspiring bravery of the other artists who willingly share their souls with strangers because they are compelled to and because they also do not want to say they used to be artists.
To speak to the power of connections my last night of the challenge was rescued by Arnie Baird, who I met at Molly Maguires on Tuesday night when he was the featured artist, and who offered me a set in the middle of his set at Green Planet when the last open mic of the challenge fell through. It was a very generous of him and was a fine set for me -plus I got to hear his wonderful music again. The connection to Molly Maguires and Carol Barbieri has gotten me the featured artist slot there on 9/19!
I have heard over and over this week about how unique my music is. I appreciated this because I have struggled over the years with feeling inferior to other writers because my content is not always serious – or at least does not seem so at first. I have not tried to be different – I have actually spent quite a bit of time trying to write like others. That never worked for me – I felt phony. So I write in my own – call them as I see them – way. I loved hearing my music was unique – I loved that this week!
Although yesterday was not an open mic, I wanted to share the wonderful artists that performed:at the Al – Vis and Friends show: Al – Vis – who put the show together and connects so many of us, Gregory Irish, Gina Leigh aka The Real Jersey Gina, Bob Kearns, Mickey Butler, Todd Goldin, Tara Dente, Samantha D’Arienzo, Carol Barbieri
The moral of the story – get out and do something!!!! Take a risk, be very uncomfortable – it will be worth it. Time is limited so prioritize and make the time to do something challenging. The great Al-Vis opened up the show at Espresso Joe’s yesterday with a beautiful and wrenching original song. His lyric “life is brief” resonates and stays with me. There are few statements more true than that – so get out and do something – you will be so glad you did!!!!!!!