Seems So Long I’ve Been Waiting (Still Don’t Know What For)

June 6th, 2007

A coupla’ months ago, when Chris emailed me and asked if I wanted to play a show, I was all, like, “Sure!”

I figured he and I would hook up with Tony and Ryan and do our thing: his songs, my songs, Buckeye — whatever.

Then we found out that Vaughnathon was double-booked. And I tell Chris that — much as I love Tony — bass without drums is like is like Oreos without the stuff in the middle. Next thing I know, I’m playing solo, opening for Chris, Tony, and a different drummer.

Which is totally fine. But what to do? What to play? How to shake it up?

I could play “Harder To Believe” and “Milk & Honey” ’til the cows come home. Throw in “Summer’s Gone” and “Dear Elizabeth” and we’re half-way there. But where’s the growth in that? Where’s the challenge.

So Sunday night, I’m drafting my “hey come to mu show!” email when it dawns on me: why not get all Casey Kasem on their asses? Why not play my greatest hits? Or, since I don’t really have any hits, per se, why not play my most popular downloads?

Genius!

Well, ends up that three fifths (3/5) of my most popular downloads are, ahem, not my songs. That is, I didn’t write them. Which is actually fine with me. John Denver’s “Leaving On A Jet Plane” and Phil Collins’ “Take Me Home” — for example — have each contributed to who I am as a songwriter and a person. Still, I, like, never play them live. And I rarely play alone to begin with. So what was I thinking?

And here’s the punchline.

I’m playing three more solo show in the next six weeks.

What gives?

I had a good run of creativity there: “Crash Site” to “Almost Home” to “Love” and “Heartland” — plus a handfull of EPs. In the middle of all that I got my hands on ProTools and started cranking out home demos, many of which went on to become full on studio recordings. I toured some (100 shows in the last three years or so; not terrible for a guy with a day job). But then…

But then I entered into this huge transition — mid-thirties, corporate executive, engagement — and I felt it all shifting.

Oy, what’s my point.

My point is, my forthcoming two-cd rarities compilation, “Besides,” notwithstanding, I’m not entirely sure what comes next. I mean, I know I wanna’ keep writing and recording songs, I’m just not sure which ones, with whom, and when. I know I wanna’ keep playing, I’m just not sure Rockwood Music Hall’s gonna’ keep booking some dude slipping towards (gasp!) 40-years-old who draws twenty or thirty people, max.

So. This Saturday night. Alphabet Lounge.

It’ll be just me. I’ve been rehearsing all week. I’ve been trying new things, trying to get my sea legs back. There’ll be no guitar, drum and bass to carry me (which blows, cuz those guys are super strong and make the load much, much lighter). I have no idea how good it’ll be, but it’ll be interesting. I’m messing with all the old ones, and learning some I’ve never played live. “California” (my third most popular iTunes download) is gonna’ be mellow and arpegiated. And wait til you hear what I do with “Dear Elizabeth.”

But what’ll do with my singer/songwriter career? Dunno’. We’ll see. What’s left behind to shoulder grows weghtless.

You get used to it.

Alphabet Lounge (New York, New York)

June 6th, 2007 - 10:00 pm