Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Female Singer Songwriter

Monday night I had the opportunity to sing. These days I don't get to often, and this little showcase with Songwriters At Play served as a reminder of many of the things I consciously pulled away from.

I love performance. I love singing. It gives me great pleasure. Being in San Luis Obispo at Bon Temps was a pretty typical showcase experience. It was a weird location - weird because it's a creole restaurant attached to a Ramada Inn on California's Central Coast.

You can't make this stuff up.

The wait staff was exceptionally kind. Without having to ask, they brought us waters immediately. I don't know if that's just this restaurant's way of doing things for all clients - all I know is that often waiters don't bring musicians water. I was pleasantly surprised.

Our good music buddy Steve Key put together the group of performers. Being a part of one of Steve's lineups is always good because he makes a real effort to find a good mix of local talent as well as some interesting featured acts. It ends up feeling somewhere between an open mic and a paying concert (a great thing from a musician's perspective). They're always fun and musicians always feel supported there.

We tend to play early in these things, in part because we tag along at the last minute. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the crowd and other acts. Bon Temps had a really sweet group and all the musicians were hanging out, which made things exceptionally supportive.

This was REALLY important to us because we recorded our performance (I'll throw a link or embed the video as soon as I check levels etc). Steve even let us do an extra song because we were so on (and took so little time - mostly because we don't talk in between songs).

The goal of the video is to use as a demo for potential gigs (and possibly other auditions??? Hmmm...). Considering our performance, my only real concern is the video quality (GoPro don't fail me now!).
Just People at Bon Temps

The featured act was a band from Portland (who look like they're from Portland if you know what I mean) called Just People. They had some good grooves and the two electric guitarists worked really well together. It was the kind of band my husband really enjoys (Too bad he missed it! Ha!). I wish I would have heard more of the lyrics however. I'm not sure if that was just the sound, the singer's vocals, or the songwriting. I'll have to listen to some recording to see...that said, for some old school ska influenced rock, it was a fun listen.

What did I remember that I left behind? Late nights and loud music. I love performing, but I also love my hearing. I don't know how I can balance those things. I'm just not sure. I'd like to be able to, but I don't know if I have the money for the technological innovation required.

I also love my baby. The whole time I was at the gig I was thinking of him. I'd like to do more performing, but how can I with a little baby at home who has the beginnings of separation anxiety? It's tough to balance these things and there are no easy choices.

Looking at the other performers it was clear I was in a very different place in life. They were single, probably childless, and comfortable traveling long hours in crowded vans. I'm married with a husband and very rooted. They sleep in hotels or vehicles or on couches while living out of a small duffel. I like my own bed and the choices my closet offers.

I couldn't help thinking of the Koles and what Arlene gave up to be a mom for 20 years. Of course, then she returned to music in a big way (amazing songwriter and musician) with her kids all grown up.

I think of my cousin, an opera singer, who has her life scheduled out years in advance. She's always on the road and sees her husband when she can. She would have to schedule a family and I don't know if she ever will.

These are the choices women performers make. These are the scales we have to balance. Men have more freedom in this situation and I'm both envious and not. I don't know if I even want that life, but I do like to dip my toe in every once in a while. Showcases like Monday night let me do just that.

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