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Category Archives: Artist life

Saturday Blues

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Saturday was a good day all told. Starting out with a nice healthy breakfast of oatmeal and espresso.  It was a rainy morning, which is much easier to deal with than ice and snow as far as I’m concerned.  Even though St. John’s College is on spring break, I’ve been keeping my pottery classes open for those who care to show up.  The Tuesday night class has been completely abandoned  but in the Saturday group there has been a regular and enthusiastic turnout.    Then in the late afternoon I did my usual two sets at 49 West Cafe and Wine Bar including the following tunes:  Creole Belle, Trouble In Mind, Hesitation Blues, Make Me A Pallete, One More Cup Of Coffee, St. Louis Blues, Crawling Kingsnake, Got The Blues, Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out, Ella Speed, Betty and Dupre, St James Infirmary, Nervous, The Thrill Is Gone, Georgia, Way Down In The Hole, Big Chief Buffalo Nickle, and Freight Train. After I did Georgia, Mike Shifflet (a regular in the audience) said something like “Nice job, Ray,” and later another person in the audience called me “Ray.” I had to explain that my name is not actually “Ray” but that Mike was just giving me a nice compliment by comparing me to the incomparable Ray Charles. First set of music was a bit of an uphill battle with two parties of very loud and chatty young people in addition to the usual sounds of passing cars, clattering of dishes and very noisy espresso machines.  But the second set was miraculously peaceful and I could actual hear the space around the music I was trying to create.  What a difference!  I guess it was noticed by the audience.  In any case tips were about double the usual, so thanks very much whoever and where ever you are.  There’s no nicer compliment than a good tip of $. My sweetheart and most faithful fan took this picture with her phone.  Thanks Zahn.

Saturday smiling2

After The Gig

By | Artist life, Music | One Comment
This afternoon’s performance went pretty well.  A reasonably good audience.  Some people were actually listening, including some people way in the side room who came out after their dinner and gave me personal eye to eye “props” as well as some greenbacks.  The couple sitting right in front of me who were so intent on impressing each other with their joi de vivre, wit and humor were not actually obnoxious as they kept their audibles below an acceptable decibel level.  One result of that was I was able to pay attention to my job, which is doing my very best to sing in tune and with emotional expression appropriate to the song.  When I can do that I am sometimes amazed at the discoveries I make about my own vocal possibilities.  It’s fun, satisfying and probably much more enjoyable for the audience than when I’m not trying to resist the urge to strangle the person right in front of me who is so impressed with their own self that they can’t resist the urge to share it with everyone else in the room.  (Isn’t that MY job?)  But I digress.  I did 23 songs:  Twelve in the first set, which went on for 65 minutes, and eleven in the second set which lasted 40 minutes.  A perhaps incomplete list of the evenings fare follows.  First SetCreole Belle, Hesitation Blues, Got the Blues (Can’t Be Satisfied), Trouble In Mind,  St. James Infirmary, TB Blues, Way Down In The Hole, I Hate A Man Like You, Freight Train, Georgia, Betty and Dupre, One More Cup Of Coffee.  Second Set: Coming In To Lost Angeles, The Thrill Is Gone, Crawling Kingsnake, Will The Circle Be Unbroken, St. Louis Blues, Sitting On Top Of the World, Louis Collins, Dear Someone, Forever Young, If I Needed You. Here is a picture Zahn took with her phone before I got set up…featuring the guitar case.



Typical Saturday

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Typical Saturday:  Morning teaching pottery at St. John’s College, then in the late afternoon going over to 49 West Cafe and Wine Bar to play music.  My usual sets include St. James Infirmary, Creole Belle, Hesitation Blues, TB Blues and such.  First set runs an hour and includes about 15 songs, usually.  Second set is 45 minutes and has a fewer number… I often add one or two new songs each week.  Tomorrow I’m hoping to debut a performance of Will The Circle Be Unbroken.


Maryland Artists Show

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The Maryland House of Delegates along with Maryland Federation of Art put on a nice show of Maryland Artists at the Lowe House Office Building.  The reception was tonight Feb 2. 2015 and I had a little trouble getting in because I had a tiny little pocket knife in my pocket and the building is protected by metal detectors and armed guards.  After I worked that out I made it in to the show and enjoyed a fine display of varied work as well as some really first rate snacks

Shown here are two watercolors from my collection.  A third which I submitted didn’t make it into the show, either because there was just enough room in the exhibition for a limited number of works, which is likely the case; or perhaps because the painting was of an undraped female form (upper torso from the rear).  There were no nudes in the show.  Here it is…the one that didn’t make it…for whatever reason: