In Tulsa, nightlife started with Billy and Renee’s dive, whose initials cutely and conveniently spell out BAR as they showcased in handwritten logo behind the stage.
Drew McKenna was hosting the open mic night as well as bartending. The atmosphere had no pretense, but I hesitate to say low key because the first act put out a raucous sound. He took covers I heard Sam Day in Long Beach play tempered and melodic, and along with support from bass and drums, turned them into one dimensional hard hostile speed rock.
I followed. I started my set with my rendition of Ray Charles’ “You Don’t Know Me”. A man came and stood right in front of me stage center in a mostly empty room. He stared and made some authentic noises of appreciation here and there. When I finished he gave me a $20 and said I moved him and it was worth $20. He then went out and signed my van.
I played about six songs and the bassist and drummer accompanied me for the last three. It was a cool experience getting to play with these guys. They were technically fairly strong players, however, it was a task and challenge playing with them. It helped me gain confidence and realize how far I am progressing. The drummer had a certain tempo and rhythm that he liked to play, so as much as I tried to express the rhythm and tempo through my guitar, in each song I had to follow his rhythm and tempo to find harmony as a trio, even with my original songs! It was a trip to experience works I’ve labored over, in such new ways. I was proud that I was able to allow my music to bend and shift to unite our sounds without losing leadership of the message.
Earlier in the day I spent some time at a park working on Passenger’s “Scare Away the Dark” as requested by my good Belmont Kite Friend, Bindu. Bindu is who connected me to Olivia and Petr in La Ventana, Mexico at the beginning of my tour. I didn’t get it to a point I was completely satisfied with, but I sent it and it gave me great joy to create something that helped my friend when she was feeling down. She was extremely gracious and complimentary.
I have started to settle into my role as a musician and truly understand and be grateful for all that entails. I am so glad that I get to be a source of nourishment for souls who share this space in time.
The next day was preparation for C.J. Moloney’s. I had a 3 hour paid opportunity at C.J.’s through Matt Eidson, a Tulsa booking agent with whom my fellow performing artist Roger Jaeger connected me. I also worked on my blog and expanded my subscriber list by adding all google contacts. I used to be afraid of doing that because of the chance I might annoy people who didn’t want to be subscribed and get an unsolicited email. After years of doing this and putting my everything into creating sonic blessings, I realized that I’m okay with losing a few “friends” over an unsolicited email. What I am doing is beautiful well intentioned important work that not only deserves support, it IS support.
At C.J. Moloney’s, there’s no other way to say it, I had the worst audience of my career. I gave 3 hours of pouring myself into my music to not a word and nary a bit of applause from the 8-10 people at the bar. I gave the best performance of “Erin Listen” I’ve ever done. I kept a positive mindset and engaged in playful banter and had a great time myself. I told them some of my story and what I was doing. I got nothing back, no support whatsoever. When I returned from my halftime break, after playing two songs, a guy approached and asked in a modest agitated manner if I could play something upbeat or country. I almost lost my shit. Haha. I ended my first set with songs like “Get on the Upbeat” “Sunday Morning” and “Allstar”! It was unreal. It did not matter what I did. Thankfully, there was one couple there that sat on a sofa close to the stage and enjoyed the music and we had a lot of fun and laughs (which was another reason the absolute 0 response from the bar was strange, usually people are drawn to fun hubs). The couple signed my van.
During my second set, the couple were playing the bar games and left partway through. Without them it was silence. I played “Wind Junkie” like I was on fire, killed the song like it has never been killed before. I filled the space with massive energetic sound. NOTHING. It was some form of torture. I was tempted to leave, but I kept my composure and remembered the words from Josh White Jr.’s “No Greater Love” — The lesson is to learn to love without so much a thought what is given in return.
I played through it and wrapped up my set, and thanked everyone for listening. Still nothing. That was a first, to have an audience completely ignore me as I exited the stage. I hopped of the stage and a lady was walking toward me so I made eye contact with her and that’s when I realized she was walking to the jukebox as she averted her eyes awkwardly. It was the audience from hell. She picked some stupid depressing downtempo hip hoppy song.. ??????
Lol. Oh well. On to Oklahoma City!
(performance from CJ Moloney’s below)