Red Headed Angel

I had cold pizza and warm Coke for breakfast. I blame Amy Hills.

She rolled over, nudged me and said — I’m only kidding.

The best part of Tuesday night’s show was performing with Amy. As someone observed afterwards, “You seemed a little bit looser.”

A little bit looser? Suddenly I was Don Rickles and Pete Townsend combined. Suddenly I’m telling jokes and stories (way too much information) and going for the big finish complete with the scissor kick. I did it all but the “How you feelin’ New York!” and the windmill.

Amy and I — shocker — rehearsed for Cross Pollination a few times. Rehearsals usually a drag, but we had a good time. I wanted to do her song “Baby” (love it), and suggested we take another stab at “California” (which we botched at one of my shows a few months ago). Then I played her a new one and said, “Wanna’ write the second verse?” Finally, I asked, “Do you remember The Human League?”

Performing with Amy just reinforces my Big Epiphany of the week: It’s not about me, it’s about we.

Not only is it easier to do something — anything, I suppose — when someone has your back (Forgot a chord? Don’t sweat it! She’ll play louder.), it’s more fun.

And Amy is fun. She’s got southern charm and city smarts. She’s got a great laugh: her eyes squint and sparkle. She calls me “Sugar.” And boy, can she sing. I can imagine her belting in church, or hitting ’em in the back row of a Broadway play, but with smarts, and edge. She can do all that, but she picks her moments. She saves it for emphasis. She’s all secrets whispered. She’s all heart.

Amy’s a great guitar player as well. She performed the “Better Than That” solo… live! I never ever ever ever play solos live. Impressive.

At one point in her solo show, it occurred to me that I was sitting too close to her. I couldn’t help it. It’s rare that I’m this close the process of making and performing music with someone who doesn’t either a) work for me or b) want to strangle me. I was, max, two feet from the end of her guitar. I was watching her eyes, her mouth, her expression, searching her for any of the anxiety or doubt that I had been feeling during my performance. It’s there, in the corners. But Amy shined through. And Amy helped me shine through.

I guess that’s what we’s all about.

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