Many years ago I had a wonderful opportunity as a touring clinician for Tacoma Guitars.
These solo gigs took me from New Zealand to Canada, to the UK and Ireland, and across the United States where I met many recreational players. I am still a touring clinician with the support of many sponsors in the industry and these educational events continue to be sprinkled in between regular public concerts, festivals, school programs, and guitar camps. However, as time cruises along, new opportunities continue to pop up and my touring style has again modified itself to accommodate these new times.
International music trade shows have been on my schedule now for a few years and as a central location to meet many fellow musicians – who normally I would just pass in an airport or along the highway as we come and go from our gigs – I’ve encountered more and more who are willing to share the stage with me. During my annual visit to Frankfurt, Germany’s MusikMesse and NAMM in Anaheim, California, I’ve either befriended or come in contact with a plethora of great professional players, many I simply enjoyed hearing at the show and others who have come to share the stage with me.
Tim May, a great flat picker from Nashville and David Webb, keyboard extraordinaire, were among the first folks I joined up with on stage and in my earlier blog about the solo artist adapting, I talk about the challenges of a solo artist playing with others. I continue to work with Tim, Gretchen-Priest May, and David at least once a year. http://l2pnet.com/blogs/solo-artist-adapts-12122010.
Recently, I can think of three special occasions within the past three months where I was again put to the test to share an evening of music and fun. Remember, for nearly my entire career I’ve played solo – strictly designing sets without the thought of another player being involved and that has been my general mode.
I’d like to share what I call a shift of sorts from what I might call my norm. And the norm is different for everyone. Once again, for myself, I needed to do the following:
— Tighten up my usual two sets to one and choose the most appropriate pieces for an effective evening of entertainment. I say entertainment because I like to include that aspect into the show instead of simply playing music, which I feel can be a bit one-dimensional. Some sort of rapport to engage an audience is more satisfying for me.
— Get an idea about what the other player plans on doing. Are they sharing some tunes with me, are they singing or doing instrumentals, do they play a variety of instruments we can choose from for sharing select pieces? This helps me to design my own set or portion of the show’s music.
— Remember to be courteous. It is so important to be gracious on two particular fronts that come to mind: sound check and set length. Share. Share. Share. Good politics are bound to bring about return encounters with your fellow players and it’s flat out more fun.
I can’t say enough nice things about Katie Marie for sharing her evening with me at the Calstock Arts Center (Calstock, Cornwall UK), a small town near Plymouth that is a challenge in itself to find without a GPS. Her willingness to work together when I tour Europe next April tells me I’m holding my own on being “part of the band”.
And Klaus Pruenster, another fine player I met in Linz, Austria while I was on tour in 2011, who recently shared an evening with me in Nuziders. Hopefully Klaus and I can share many evenings together performing in the future. Great guy – great music, and an intriguing composer as well for both film and television.
Last but not least, one of my favorite people and musicians in the world, Stephen Housden with the Little River Band, as we shared the stage on at least three occasions during my 6th visit to the Clonakilty Ireland International Guitar Festival. Stephen certainly put me to task as I learned how to play rhythm while holding my breath and watched from within inches the smoke that came off his fingertips.
Originally posted 2012-10-01 19:42:55.