This summer, with the “Edge of America” coming out, I decided it would be good to embark on a mini-tour this fall. Appropriately called, The Edge Tour.
The goal: Play music, see friends and family, make new friends and sell CDs. I had never done anything like a tour. So the experience alone would be worth something.
The hardest part of this music thing is getting gigs. It requires a certain personality trait that I’m missing: the salesman.
So I was pleased that I was able to book 17 gigs that basically filled out the weekend calendar from mid-September to mid-November, and included a four-night straight run in Florida in October.
We traveled from Tybee to Tiger, to Atlanta and Clearwater (Tampa and St. Pete). And back to Atlanta. Again. And again. Nearly 5,000 miles.
We saw family and old friends. Many from the AJC, and even a few from my high school. We made new friends. We ate good food (first time for candied bacon).
And we sold some CDs.
(As a side benefit, I became much more comfortable playing solo, as my regular sideman Chip Zulliger was able to accompany me just once.)
We played to packed houses and in venues where hardly anyone came. We had one booker forget he had booked us, and one coffee house where we decided not to play because we were the only ones there and the place looked as bleak as the possibility that anyone would show up.
I took all of the above in stride as best I could. Melissa was disappointed in one Atlanta show where hardly anyone showed. She left like she’d invited friends to a party and no one came.
I kept saying that’s showbiz, like some grizzled old vaudevillian. But you do learn to roll with whatever. There’s always the next show. And, as I kept saying: at least we aren’t trying to make a living out of this.
As such, I have a new-found respect for the touring troubadours and bands. As well as any full-time musician who has to hustle to play as many gigs as possible to pay the bills. It is a hard life, no matter how glamorous and carefree it may seem. It is anything but carefree.
The house concerts, hosted by dear friends (thank you), proved as different as the hosts. They were held in clubhouses, church fellowship halls and a restaurant, in addition to a few living rooms.
For me, the house concert offers intimacy with the audience that can’t be found in any other venue. Rapt attention. And so appreciative.
A consistent comment was that folks liked hearing the stories about the songs. I suspect Melissa has just about heard them enough, especially since 1) she had heard them several times prior to the tour and 2) many involve her. And truth be told, I’m sort of tired of hearing myself tell them. They begin to sound pat, so verbatim that they began to ring false.
So, I need to come up with some new introductions to my songs. Or rotate in some other songs and their stories. Of course new songs would automatically mean new stories!
Regrets: We didn’t take pictures. (I know, really? In this day and age where every device is a camera? Dear Santa…..)
Whether we decide to do this again, we did enjoy the experience. It’s a big check off on the bucket list.
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