On Tuesday night, my friends and I got together and jammed a bit. We had picked a couple times before playing mostly folk, gospel, and bluegrass; however, I never really sang many songs during our jams. We played a couple of songs, and the other musicians asked me to sing lead on most of them because I am a tenor, which, in there opinion, was more suited to bluegrass than their lower voices. After we picked several tunes, we decided to head over to the open mic at Nummit and played a brief performance.
We arrived at Nummit around 8:30 and sat through several performances before we got on stage. The other musicians were very good players and singers–there wasn’t an act that was “bad” or lacking in any musical quality. Yet, as the evening progressed, I grew bored with the music. This was a very different and strange perception as I normally am very interested in most musical genres and styles from jazz to classical to rock. As each new performer played, I realized that they were essentially performing similar styles of music. All of the songs played were at a very slow pace. The originals normally had a minor chord and maybe a I, IV, and V (Nashville Numbering System Chords), but besides that they seemed to lack flavor and energy. This is not a negative thing for the most part. In fact, most people at Nummit were studying, and the quiet slow music made for good background noise. Yet, as an active listener, I was not motivated to hear songs and artists that stuck strictly to a prescribed musical formula. Finally, the mold was broken. A jazz combo took the stage, and the combo hammered out some amazing tunes. One of my favorites was “All of Me,” a tune covered by Frank Sinatra, Willie Nelson, and Ella Fitzgerald. After three songs, the combo moved off the stage, and we started setting up our instruments and gear for our brief performance.
After prepping our instruments, we lit into a very fast song called “Lonesome Road Blues.” The song was in a very high key challenging my vocal abilities. However, this gave the song more of an edge and drive which contributed to our performance. After this song, the guitarist sang a folk ballad called “Roll on Buddy,” and we rounded the set off with a gospel song called “Angel Band.” After our performance, we got several compliments. The audience seemed to enjoy our set and Live Thursday organizers talked to us about performing in the future. Reflecting on this, I don’t believe it was necessarily the quality of our music that garnered a positive response. I believe that several of the audience members were like myself: slightly bored with the musical monotony. The diversity of a bluegrass group and a jazz group helped to spice up the musical setting and livened up the atmosphere.