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A Paying Gig!


Well, I have a gig. FRIDAY, 13 FEBRUARY at THE RED ROOM in Portland (2530 SE 82nd), a bar that showcases a lot of new live music, and also a bunch of comedy acts (I have a feeling I’m one of the latter). I do not know at this point if it’s important to do this with a band; I’ve put out feelers in Portland to see if there are musicians interested in being “Joe’s band” for the occasion, but it’s too early at this writing to tell if I’ll snag anybody. A lot depends on what the other “acts” are like, and I don’t know that yet, either.

What to play? Well, it’s a tavern, and bar crowds tend to go for the sleazier stuff—you can also Be Adult at ‘em, too. No serious stuff. (That’s easy. I don’t have much serious stuff.) 45-minute set—that’s 9 songs with a band, maybe 10 or 11 if it’s solo.

Poster’s done (it’s a stock format, so it was easy); I’ll drop some off along with a CD when I visit the joint Tuesday or Wednesday en route through Portland to or from my job interview in Jefferson. Press releases for the newspapers—and there may be a couple of Portland entertainment Websites I can tap, too. I should have CDs to sell—do I have to get a fifth pressing of the “Santa’s Fallen” CD?

And the gig pays. Not a lot, but it doesn’t matter. It’s just plumb exciting to be wanted, y’know?

The gig was the result of answering an ad on Craigslist a few weeks ago, so Craigslist may not be a total loss. I’ll keep paying attention, and keep answering the occasional ad that looks interesting. I don’t know if there’s any point in continuing to run a “band wanted” ad of my own, though. I may have better luck approaching people personally.

There is a Portland Songwriters Association, and I probably should join; not easy to be active when I live 90 miles away and have no money, but that’s one of the places where I could potentially get the musicians to play on the album. (They do regular showcases, too.) There’s a Portland Folklore Society, too—and it was in the N.E. Oregon Folklore Society in La Grande where I met the bluegrass musicians who both played on the “Santa’s Fallen” CD and were “Joe’s band” for a couple of big concerts. It’s tempting to join both—the songwriters group for exposure, and the folklore society for musicians (since those are likely to be bluegrass folks).

Other opportunities? There appear to be plenty; there are other bars and coffeehouses in Portland now that cater to independent music, and I could potentially parlay the gig at the Red Room into gigs there—I notice other Portland musicians have done that. Virtually none of it is country music, near as I can tell—Portland has never been a big venue for country music (that might be a result of the town’s historic pretentiousness). The Medford area wasn’t big on country music when I got there, either, but I seemed to do okay. I think it’s an untapped market.

There’s a “Sunday Market” in Astoria (60 miles away, in a different direction) that’s looking for music for every weekend this summer, starting Mother’s Day; bands are paid, but solo musicians are not. (Dang. No band.) If I have a job in this area, I could do it and not worry about the cost; if the job is somewhere else, it’d be a big pain of a commitment.

“BROKEN RECORD” project is waiting on just the last two songs (of 16). I have photos for everybody, and have done the liner notes (so the order of songs is fixed, whatever they end up sounding like). Still not certain what should go on the FIVE-DOLLAR ALBUM. It’s been suggested I should do a Joe Benefit Concert (since I have no money); a good excuse for bringing people in would be a CD release party—but I need to have the CD done. “Armadillo on the Interstate” is still on the Tascam, waiting for me to connect with “Doc” Wagner—which hasn’t happened yet. If he’s willing, I’ve got a couple more songs I would really like to have his blues harp lead on. His is the sort of talent that could sell records.

Sizable crowd of musicians at the Library on Saturday, but only two of us made it to the Forestry Center Sunday (it snowed)—Fred (who sings) and myself. It did give us a chance to practice. We.both told the Forestry Center staff they’d have a bigger and more consistent crowd if they did the music more often than once a month. Also gave them a few ideas for promotion. As isolated as the Forestry Center is, they need to take direct action to make themselves a community center—it’s not going to happen automatically.



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