Billboard outside Opa’s that cracked me up. Says “Es Bud Light con un twist” Spanglish FTW!
I managed to catch the right bus to get to OPA early instead of late, and Tom Harvey walked in a few moments after. He reminded me that there was a song of mine he wanted to harmonize on and we decided to go out in the courtyard and see if we could figure out which one it was. After figuring out it was Keep Telling Me, I wrote out the lyrics for him on two pages, it has a lot of words and I was writing in Sharpie.
Ana B had us unplugged, I guess there have been some requests to turn it down the past few weeks, and if there’s no mic, there’s nothing to turn down! :-) It did create a bit more of an intimate atmosphere, those who wanted to hear all came close instead of spreading out, and it ended up being a night of sing-alongs and duos and trying out new things. With that precedent set, I kicked off with Rain Song, encouraging everyone to join in, and Tom and I decided to go for it with Keep Telling Me as my last song. After a false start because the two pages I wrote out for him were in the wrong order, we had a great time singing it, and it will only get better in the next times we sing it and Tom has more time to figure out more guitar fills and such. Pretty cool.
I brought some of my felt whales to work on while listening to the other performers, and Ana B joined in with sewing together a few. I am making a bunch of them to offer as Kickstarter prizes, so it was nice to have the help!
Songs - Rain Song, Jonah’s Whale, Keep Telling Me
Ana & Josh at OPA!
Another Tuesday, another awesome open mic at OPA! Ana and Josh did some tunes they’d been working on together. The list was short enough we got to do four songs. Ana sang some secret harmonies with me from the audience, and there were good listeners tuned in, which is always nice. The only bummer was since I was on a routine to get to bed early during recording weeks, I had to leave early to catch a decent bus and missed the last few performers.
Songs: Anchor, I Know, Jonah’s Whale, Shoreline of Alaska
Jannie Funster & the beer she bought me (thanks Jannie!!). We both have blue TUNEers. HAAAAA!
When Jannie asked me if I was going out to any open mics this week I told her that Tuesday would be the night, because I thought I should probably stay in and rest on Wednesday before I started my recording on Thursday! (squeeee!). So we decided to go to OPA. It was a pretty quiet evening, I think everyone was still in SXSW hangover mode - if not chemically induced then most definitely energetically-wise! So it kinda ended up being a “Post SWSW showcase” because we all ended up getting to do 6 songs total (if we so wished).
Hadn’t seen Jannie in a long time, so it was good to see her again, and for us to hear each other’s new stuff. And I got to play through almost all my EP songs. (I could have done them all, but I did want Jannie to hear both the new ones.)
Round 1: Keep Telling Me, All or Nothing, I Know, Shoreline of Alaska
Round 2: Rain Song, Jonah’s Whale
Greek Knick Knacks at OPA!
I headed down to OPA! early on Tuesday so I could do a bit of the coffee-shop-office thing beforehand and actually got on such a roll that I was sorta late to sign up on the list!
It was a sweet night though, there were several gals there from the Girl Guitar group and Ana fit them in between the regular sign-ups so they could get a chance to practice for their big showcase at Antone’s coming up. For some of them it was their first time ever performing in front of people. They had their teacher come sit next to them and sometimes add in a bit of harmony but she was mostly there for moral support I think. It was great to see them being brave, and it was a great reminder of how far I’ve come.
Ana sang some harmonies with me from her chair, but I could hear them and they were real purty. There was a band called Trace of Red who played a ukulele with a secret hand shaker-ring and a red & black melodica. Ana & I are both regular bus riders and I commented that they had the right idea with the super-duper portable instruments!
That night though, I still had Jana’s car, so at the end, Ana & I decided to head north to Julie Nolen’s Tuesday Waterloo Ice House open mic up on 38th… (Tuesday night’s adventures to be continued in the next post!)
Songs: Anchor, I Know, Jonah’s Whale
My Valentine is coming to visit me next week and I’m sure we’ll go out to dinner then, but I still felt like dressing up for Valentine’s Day, so I put on some super sparkly earrings and some red lipstick before heading out to OPA! The host Ana Bee encouraged us to do love songs, and gave all the performers a little box of chocolates. Say what you want about the holiday being manufactured, I like the excuse to get to be a little sweeter and sparkly to each other for a day! Maybe I just need to be braver about that on an everyday basis. :-)
Afterward Ana & I went a few buildings south to the newly opened Mercury Pizza. It’s a teeny building but the slices are pretty much too big to fit on a plate! I had one with ricotta cheese and spinach that was amaaaaaazing and it was totally fun to watch the boy behind the counter twirling dough high in the air while we ate! Thanks Ana Bee!
Songs - I Know, All or Nothing, Lazy Saturday
Tuesday night was super fun. I was the Featured Artist at the OPA! open mic, which meant I got to play a 30 minute set as the opener, kicking off the regular open mic night. I had 3 musician friends show up, who sang along and even harmonized sometimes in the audience, which I won’t lie, was REALLY cool! :-) I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of that.
Then there were 3 folks with a Fairfield connection, one from high school, one from college, and another friend of theirs who I hadn’t met yet but she spoke the “slang” so I felt an instant bit of connection. None of them had seen me perform in Austin before. Even the one who might have seen me sing my own songs before probably hadn’t heard anything in about 10 years or so, though she was also one of the group of girls who gave me a songbook of songs by women rockers back when I was their RA in college. These people who knew before I would admit it! ha!
Then there was another trio - a band called Rixon who I saw at Backroads a few weeks ago, friended on Facebook and invited to Opa, who showed up and killed it.
So I think I can safely say that at least 9 people were at Opa that night because of me. And Rixon even brought a few friends, so I think I can indirectly account for a couple more. :-)
The lovely and talented host Ana Bee, who has been watching and listening to me since last summer and knows a bunch of my songs, sang secret harmonies on mic but off to the side on certain songs and made them all pretty-like. Thanks Ana!
After my set, she borrowed my guitar and sang a few herself. And later I loaned my guitar to Samuel Bean who said it was a beautiful instrument. I’m inclined to agree, but it’s always nice to hear from someone else.
I played my new song and got some really great feedback, which was fantastic because I’d been worried it was maybe too personal and specific to even play in public. So then I played it for my bandmates on Wednesday and they helped me settle on a new current title because they connected more with the love and the certainty of it than the conflict. So for now I’m going with “I Know”, though I have a feeling it may also end up being, “The one with the streetlight” At least I got enough good feedback to keep playing it out and see what people say and think about it.
Songs: Keep Telling Me, Rain Song, Anchor, Jonah, Shoreline of Alaska, I Know, Wings