Monday, 23 April 2012

Cantina band

Although I've been playing guitar for over thirty years I have very little experience of playing live. It just hasn't happened. As I don't live in a city there may not be the opportunities you might get in a city to meet up with local musicians. Thankfully the internet makes finding them a bit easier than it was in the past.

I want to collaborate with other musicians as I'm not really inspired enough to be a solo artist. So I signed up to some 'muso wanted' sites including:

I've had some success with these. A couple of years back I got an audition with a classic rock covers band that I passed. I rehearsed with them for a while, but after we eventually did a private gig for a few friends it ground to a halt as a couple of people wanted to take a break. I've also met up with a local bassist and done a couple of jams. Just today I got contacted again by someone who wants to do some jam sessions soon. I hope something will happen with that, but it may be a couple of weeks while he finds enough people and a venue. I have had a couple of others, but they were either too far away or required too much commitment in rehearsals and gigs. They may also be beyond my abilities. I'm reasonable at rhythm, but not much good at lead.

After the band broke up I was looking into other possibilities and discovered an acoustic pub session via Lemonrock (a gig listings and general musicians services site). It's at a pub in the middle of nowhere, but I eventually went, totally unsure of what it would involve. It's a fairly informal session where people take it in turns to play songs, mostly to each other although there are generally a few regulars there. I really enjoyed it and it encouraged me to do some singing and to actually learn some new songs to play. It got me playing some new styles such as Irish hornpipes. I even took some singing lessons to see if I could improve things and learned a few things about what was possible for me. Some are biased towards folk music, but it seems you can get away with other styles. I did all sorts of pop and rock songs. I haven't been regularly to that session in a while, but there are several I could get to. Details of some of the local sessions can be found on The Mudcat Cafe notice board.

As I had got to know a few musicians in our small town via Facebook and other means I decided to start a session here. I approached a couple of pubs and have got something going at the one just across the road from me. Numbers are still small, but word is spreading and I hope it will grow. It's a great first step beyond playing at home if you can't face a big audience and just want to meet some supportive musicians. I can recommend it.

My session is at The White Horse in Arlesey, Bedfordshire. Details can be found on Google+ and Facebook.