Sunday, September 25, 2011

old post - another friday night

After posting that last "old post," I looked at the next one. Since it's some of the stuff that I was really wanting to "not lose," I thought I'd go ahead and post it... What's ironic, of sorts, is that the band I speak of is a previous incarnation of the band I'm now a member of. To be fair, though, only Jimmy (on keys) and Max are still there - the rest are all different guys.

This one is also from May 8, 2009...

I am typing this while headed to dance. Colton just went to a party and Kyle is also with friends, so it’s just Vanessa and me again for Friday night stress relief (aka dancing).

Like I had said before, part of this blog is to be a journal of sorts, to help me remember stuff in my old age. So, please keep that in mind if you choose to read on. If these are the kind of insights you are more interested in, gentle reader, let me know and I’ll not hesitate next time.

We’ve been dancing in Halls on Friday nights (wave to Craig for coming by one night). The band is pretty good, for a local band. There’s Tony, the lead singer/bassist, his dad Robert (rhythm guitar on a Stratocaster), keyboarder Jimmy, Brian on lead and Max Winchester on steel guitar (easily the most talented one of the bunch, Max used to play professionally at Gilly’s in Texas as well as other national venues). They do decent work. They play a fairly good mix of slow & fast as long as Tony is calling the songs. When Robert or Jimmy do one, it’s a slow one.

Tangent #1 here - I’ve come to find that there are bands that play for dancers, bands that play to be heard, bands that try to mix it and bands that try to mix it and fail. This is #3 for the most part, but is sometimes the latter (by now we’ve left the dancehall early as it was clearly a #4 night). I’m a dancer, not someone that goes to hear the band. Given a choice I’ll take CD’s or MP3’s any day. The beat never changes, you know what to expect and you can start over whenever you like.

Back to this band in particular. They are friendly to the line dancers as well as the two steppers and slow dancers. They let “us” play some songs during their breaks. We don’t do stuff that they do, though, so as not to step on any toes. I have a cable that I plug into Robert’s amplifier and we play from my iPod.

Now, the part I’ve been hesitant to journal for fear of sounding negative is this... Several weeks ago when we finally had a warming trend, Vanessa and I decided to go early and enjoy the parking lot. We took a couple of lawn chairs and my guitar and we just relaxed outside in the sunshine. The band started coming in and Robert approaches and listens and seems impressed. He knew I could dance, but had no idea I could play. He asked if I’d take his guitar and play during the last set. I said sure.

This went on for a couple of weeks. I’d come in and we’d dance for two hours straight, then he’d mingle and I’d play his guitar. The drummer (forgot to mention him above - sorry Donny) and I seemed to have some good chemistry. My style of rhythm is not “strum/strum/strum” or even “pluck/strum/pluck/strum.” It’s more of a beat keeper than anything. Depending on the song, my strumming is different.

Tangent #2 - my early days of guitar were mostly bluegrass, so I learned early on to have a “picking rhythm” in which you keep the beat by strumming but also add runs, licks, alternative strumming, etc., depending on the song. This style of play has also gotten me shunned. It’s a combination rhythm & lead, so if someone else is playing either of those parts I’m “stepping on their toes.” If someone needs a filler for the band, though, it’s a great combination.

So anyway, Donny and I were not just playing, we were playing together. My fill in rhythm filled the gaps that his drum rolls left and allowed him to do more. I also helped keep the beat with him so he didn’t have to only follow the couple of people that were jumping time. Again, a good mesh.

So, again, this went on for a couple of weeks and then Tony asked if my acoustic would “plug in.” Acoustic Electric? Why yes, it is. So the next week I brought it and used my own guitar for the last set. They loved it.

Next chapter - Kenton. Enough for this post. :)

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