As the title of this post subtly implies, this weekend has been full of music.
Last night I played a gig at 2 Rules Fine Art on Marietta Square. This was for a gallery opening coinciding with the First Friday Marietta Square Art Walk. Because of the Art Walk, there was a steady stream of art lovers walking through the door, and there were several music lovers in the crowd. There were also some awesome cookies from a local bakery. I've been much better about watching my diet lately, but I have to admit those cookies were irresistible. I had waaaay too much sugar last night!
I was also pleased to play with Tom Olsen, a terrific jazz pianist and a super nice guy. I don't often work with Tom, but not for lack of trying. We're both busy musicians, and our schedules don't often coincide. The planets aligned this weekend, though, and we were able to play not one, but two gigs together.
This morning, Tea for Two played at the Oakhurst Arts and Music Festival, and Tom Olsen was able to join us. The art gallery gig was last night, and the festival gig was in the morning, so this almost felt like one really long gig with a sleeping break. I brought the Tea for Two book to last night's art gallery gig, so we were able to simultaneously play one gig while rehearsing for the next. We were able to pull off this morning's festival gig with a 30 minute rehearsal with the full group. No problem!
The Oakhurst festival gig was fun, but there was a poltergeist in the electrical power supply. We were first informed that they weren't able to get power to the monitors, which would have made singing difficult. When you can't hear yourself in the monitors, you think you're singing too softly. It's easy to overcompensate and start singing too forcefully. Fortunately, the monitor problem was solved minutes before we started. Tom's keyboard amp sounded horrible, like someone was adding a distortion effect. The sound man switched to a different power source. The problem went away, but returned about halfway through the set. There was nothing to be done at that point, so we soldiered on. Meanwhile, I was experiencing no problems whatsoever until my amp blew just as the emcee was introducing us…literally seconds before we were to start! There must have been a power surge. My amp emitted a loud pop and then went dead. I sang the first song with just the piano to back me up. The sound man motioned for me to keep playing, and he ran around, took my cord, and plugged me directly into the system. We were finally able to hear my guitar about halfway through the first piano solo. My amp is sitting in the shop now, and I hope it's nothing more than a blown fuse. The City of Decatur is going to reimburse the cost of the repair.
In spite of the technical problems, we enjoyed the festival gig, and we heard good comments. I was especially pleased that the emcee and the sound guy were both very complimentary in talking with us after the set. We kept our heads through the technical challenges and didn't freak out on the sound man. (Rule #1: Don't piss off the sound man.) While I would have preferred not to have to deal with those problems at all, in a way, I was glad we experienced them, because it demonstrated to me that the people I'm working with are real pros who can keep their cool in challenging situations.
I'm not playing any more gigs this weekend, but I'm still enjoying plenty of music. Tonight I attended a concert of German lieder performed by some stunningly good classical singers who were accompanied by Erin Palmer, the former accompanist at NWUUC. Tomorrow morning I'll run the sound board while Ken Sizemore leads a special music service at NWUUC called "Songs of Protest and Change," and in the afternoon I'll be heading to Anthony's Pizza to hear live bands all afternoon.
This weekend is more music-filled than most, but as I look at my weekly schedule, every day is filled with music in some form…gigs, rehearsals, practicing, jam sessions…it's all good. I'm one of the fortunate few who can honestly say that my way of making a living makes me feel alive.
- Tom Godfrey
- Atlanta, GA, United States
- When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995, served as Director of Music at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation from 2011 to 2017, and currently serve as Contemporary Band Director at the same congregation.