Category Archives: #openmictour

Michigan J. Frog and Me

Still learning how to be me. In the comfort of my home, it’s pretty easy. But when I head toward the stage it becomes a daunting task, even after all these years. To be my truest self in front of a bunch of strangers is the most unsettling thing. I keep thinking it should get easier.

I stand up there with words and music that come from my soul, and put it before people I do not know, for their approval. What a bizarre activity when you really think about it. My deepest motivation has been to give something, to share something real, in the hopes that the audience and I might be transformed together. Lofty eh?

A fellow musician friend of mine shared with me why he stuck to doing cover songs. He said, ‘If I do covers and they don’t like it, who cares? But if I do my originals and they don’t like it, then they are rejecting me.’ Well put. That is how it feels.

For me it’s always been a crap shoot. Some nights I get lucky, I win because I didn’t get the better of myself, and other nights well, it’s a whole other story. I mess up my playing, I forget the words, I completely f*ck it all up. Why? Because I’m my own worst enemy. I am a believer in the power of our own thoughts and words to create our reality, apparently I still need to hone this skill!! Tuesday night, I created a heckler at Club Helsinki. No other performer heard from this guy but me. I opened my mouth to speak a bit before I played and from the shadows I hear, “just sing”. Yea. OK.

And I let it ruin my whole experience. I let it take what little confidence I had going in. I let it follow me home and take me down a dark road. Until I finally stopped it cold by realizing that this is what I let happen over and over and over again. Now that I’ve taken responsibility, I look forward to creating a new scenario for myself going forward.

Towne Crier Invitational Finals followup: Well, it was close but no cigar. It was a good crowd, receptive and attentive and I felt that I gave a good performance but I certainly did not go in like a competitor. That might have helped since it was a competition. I’ve never taken the attitude, “I’m the best”, because somewhere along the way I must have decided that would be ‘bad’, it wasn’t ‘nice’. I’m realizing now, that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with, “I’m the best me!”. Another lesson learned. It’s been a good week for that.

I’ve never fit in, and generally I’m ok with that, but when I make it matter, when I try to fit into someone else’s idea of who I should be, I crumble. I’m kind of like that Warner Brothers frog….

*originally written June 7, 2012.

Busy Week









Last week was loads of fun. I played the Singer/Songwriter Tuesdays at Rosendale Café. It was fabulous because I had my own cheering section! Priceless.
Played: Closer, Over Coffee, Real

Saturday I hit the highway and landed at Desolation Road Studios in Altamont NY. It was a small but attentive crowd and we had a blast. Sharing stories, chocolates, and beverages. Jim Miller has created a really sweet space, not only for music but also for art, lessons and more. He took a chance on me, playing predominately original material, is not always the easiest bill to sell.

Between the two shows I received an email from Infinity Hall inviting me to participate in the Big Stage Competition Wednesday August 28. I’m one of 12 vying for an opening slot for a headliner, CA$H and a headline spot in the 2014 Open Mic Winners show. I humbly accepted the opportunity!!

Whew!! Glad I’ve been working away, spending lots of time with my lovely Yahmie!!

Back to Infinity Hall

Ventured back to Infinity Hall in Norfolk CT on Wednesday. Once again the drive was exquisite. Tommy Emmanuel was playing a sold out show that night in the main hall while open mic went on in the bistro. There was definitely a buzz happening.

The folks at Infinity were kind enough to send a link to this video they took while I was playing Overlap by Ani DiFranco. I also debuted the newest version of Closer and played Amethyst.

It was really fun to see a few familiar faces on my second trip back and I also got to meet some cool new people. The open mic community has such a special vibe and it is where I get the room to experiment with new ideas and material. I will always be forever grateful for that space!

I have always enjoyed the conversations that come along with being a performer. I get to hear about other people’s hopes and dreams. Often around, but not limited to, music. Wednesday was no exception when I chatted briefly with a woman who said she was mustering her courage to do the open mic. I love to encourage people to just go for it!! It seemed that she was concerned about her age as well as her playing, and none of that matters, if something is calling you, you MUST do it! Your soul is requesting your cooperation. The means may not always be the end, what you find along the way, the one thing that leads to another is the stuff of what our life is made!! Don’t wait, don’t hesitate, the universe wants to lead you to your best self. Say YES!!!! And thank you!

Til next time~
love & hugs

Towne Crier moves on

Towne Crier Invitational Finals, Sunday June 2, 2013 photo: Stuart Berg

Finals follow up:

It was an amazing night, playing the main stage and closing out the open mic finals at the Pawling location. There were so many talented acts and although it was close, I did not take home the prize. It just gives me incentive to continue working as hard as I can to be the best me I can be. Prize or no prize.

For 40 some years Phil Ciganer has created one of the best listening rooms in the country. Booking the highest quality shows and supporting up and coming acts through the open mic opportunity. He has immense heart, there is no way around it, something like this does not exist otherwise.

The Tuesday after I headed up to Club Helsinki in Hudson, NY for their open mic. It was the most varied open mic I had been to in a while. There was storytelling, comedy and even a circus troupe, Cirque Éloize, who were passing through promoting their upcoming run at The Proctor Theater in August.

Looking forward to the Towne Crier re-opening in Beacon where I can catch up with the open mic folks again. In the meantime I will be out & about and sharing my travels here. So much love to you all.

Towne Crier, played: Who U R, Amethyst
Club Helsinki, played: Overlap (Ani), Who U R, Amethyst

Open Mic @ The Towne Crier Café #2

Another fun night at the Towne Crier. Even though I live in Beacon, I think I may miss the old place!!

Met some great folks and got some footage, working on getting that up soon. As I was writing this, I received an email to the Towne Crier Invitational Finals, “every six months the Towne Crier showcases the open mic acts that have been outstanding. I am pleased to invite you”. What? For real? Me? SWEET!!! So that will be  Sunday June 2 at 7pm! There will be a house full that night to send off the old place in style. What an honor to be a part of it. Get tickets >here<

played: Who U R, The Light, Lifetimes

Open Mic @ Infinity Music Hall & Bistro

Infinity Music Hall & Bistro, Norfolk CT

As the #openmic tour continues, I finally found my way to Infinity Music Hall. The open mic is held in the bistro and we’re competing for an opening slot in the main hall. I would be thrilled with that!! Next to open mics, opening slots are my favorite thing.

Last night there was a huge range of styles, as I was #15 out of 17 people, I had a long wait, but I got to see everyone. The bistro is absolutely beautiful and the food was good too!! I got to meet the owner, he was going to leave, but luckily he stayed to hear me play!! Woohoo!!

I realize I have been entrusted with this body of work that has been delivered to me, I no longer feel that it is ‘mine’. I find with every passing year these songs have been with me, that as I change, I continue to find new meaning in each one. I learn from them and they have the ability to express new aspects of my experience. It’s kind of amazing, and it certainly did not come from me!!

Over the past month, since the Towne Crier, I have again reworked almost half of the set so far. I have found a new approach, further blending my bass sensibilities with the guitar. I wish I could play my bass and my guitar at the same time, but this is as close as I can get for now!!!

I look forward to another beautiful drive along 44 east to Infinity….

played: Who U R, The Light

Open Mic @ The Towne Crier Café

love my yamaha fg165s with fishman rare earth

Oh man. What a fun night! Since it was my first time there, I got to go up first. Ugh. I was nervous. Alone, no band. That’s how I did it for years, but it still makes me nervous. Don’t get me wrong, I get nervous with the band too, but we have each other.

When I was traveling and playing solo a lot, there were always open mics on the schedule between shows. I love them. They are their own beast. Less pressure in some ways, you don’t have to carry the whole night. And more pressure because you usually get 2 or 3 songs at most. No time to warm up, just get up, do your thing and get off.

There are a lot of bad open mics out there, but if you set your radar right, you get to find ones like The Towne Crier in Pawling, NY. A well run evening with a gracious host, staff that is friendly, and a good room with the right gear and someone to run it properly. The Towne Crier even has a ‘green room’ for the players, that is above and beyond. It’s actually the main room of the venue, but you can tune up, store your gear, and even do a little practicing beforehand. The Towne Crier is moving to Beacon, NY and is set to open this spring. They are going to be a welcome addition.

There are other gems out there and they have been in the game a long time. Solid venues that have open mic nights aren’t doing it just to fill a night of the week. They usually attract good talent. In the Atlanta area, Eddie’s Attic was the place. (Eddie Owens has moved to a new room but the song remains the same.) I remember one night, a guy gets up there, didn’t recognize the name, and it was none other than Ellis Paul under a fake name. That’s the kind of nights that can happen. You never know who you might get to hear or talk to.

I think I just might do an open mic tour…

played: Who U R (extended version), Overlap (ani difranco)