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The Big Gig, Et Al...


The Big Gig went really well. Solo Wednesday night (and I was the #2 act), then with Screamin’ Gulch and Don Maddox. Had a good lead player sitting in with us, so I got to play background music. I can do decent bluegrass leads to Don Maddox’s stuff, though—real fast bass runs way up on the frets (where it’s easier to play real fast because things are closer together).

Second night, I had Dan (mandolin) and Paul (fiddle) backing me up on the “solo” set, so we were a lot more like a band. And there was no extra lead guitarist for Screamin’ Gulch, so I was it. Crowd (which seemed less wasted than the night before) didn’t seem to mind. Deke Dickerson played bass with us on a number of the Don Maddox songs—I guess he and Don never had played together before, though they’re both legends—and I got a few surprised-but-pleased glances from Deke while I was playing, so maybe it was all right. I hope so—it’s gigs like this that will establish whatever reputation I have as a guitarist in this area.

And one of the best compliments I’ve had on my music came from a lady in the tavern Thursday night. “You come from a very dark and strange place,” she said. “But I like it.” That’s a line that belongs on the “Joe is Great!” brochure (which I still need to re-do).

So what do we do with this? Not sure—I should press for a solo gig at Johnny B.’s (except it wouldn’t be solo per se—I’d want to arrange backup), and I think “Screamin’ Gulch” should do a gig, too: just schedule a night (any night would do, but a traditional party night like Friday would be ideal) and have no other bands on the agenda but us. (Yes, it’d be nice if the band were playing more of my songs by then.) Promote the heck out of it and see who comes.

Got to do music for another somebody-else song—“Syllables for Sale” by Beth Williams, one of the lyricists in Just Plain Folks. The music—very fast bluegrass stuff—just jumped out while I was reading the lyrics (which is how it usually happens). So I have a draft recording. I asked Darrin Wayne to add a harmonica part to it (might’s well dress this puppy up), which he will—but wants a week or so to practice. Copied the Tascam’s little digital-camera chip to his computer..

UPCOMING: Not much this coming week, ‘cause I’ll be out of town next weekend (holiday weekend, and I’m judging another speech tournament). Wednesday night is practice with Screamin’ Gulch, and I’ve got a choice of things to do Tuesday night. Two posters to do this week, one for the “showcase” Saturday night and one for the “Quartet Series” Friday night (I won’t be around for either one). I’ll miss next Sunday at the wild Goose, too (too bad—they’re having a “best original song” contest, which I gather I could probably win).



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