Sailfest 2013, like open mics run by Bernadette Golden and Larry Kern and a fabulous fall Hoot organized by Sherry Stidfole and Hugh Birdsall, turned out to be platforms to play with Joe Cavanaugh, Mike Ball and Dana Takaki.
I also had the pleasure of playing with some rocking guitarists, vocalists, drummers and keyboard players at the Common Ground Open Mic in New London on more than one occasion and at the Barn in East Lyme.
I learned a lot by practicing and performing with these gifted musicians.
Rhythm is something to be respected.
Violin can accent anything — up-tempo tunes as well as the more melancholy ballad.
Bass builds a base that elevates.
Instrumental solos by backup guitarists, particularly Mike, stitch the whole song together and make it memorable.
As luck would have it I’ve moved to Pawtucket, and Mike and moved to Oklahoma. This particular collaboration probably can’t happen quite the way it did this past year.
But if I learned anything — as Joe so lovingly told me and my first producer Ron Gletherow always reminded me — the songs I write lend themselves to other instruments and voices. Call for it.
As I look back on 2013 and these posts I am filled with joy, wonder and gratitude.
As I look toward 2014 I can only hope to meet new collaborators, and maybe, with some luck, reunite with Mike, Dana and Joe as time and geography permit. I had even come up with a name for us, though all of these musicians perform actively with other people. I called us Side Effects.
For now, performing solo at open mics will be the way I roll. But if it is meant to be, building a band that approximates the respectful, dynamic, jelled connections made with the three pictured here is what I’ll be up to in 2014! Collaboration has turned out to be a side effect with good indications.