As we head into Thanksgiving and, I suppose, the official start of the Christmas season (though I know plenty of folks who have had their trees set up since Halloween), I'm very thankful once again that I have the opportunity to do work that I love and share it with others. Whether it's restoring an old photograph of a loved one, or playing a song that has a special connection to a couple, I'm always touched when those moments happen.
Saturday, I performed at Hocking Hills Winery, one of the absolute best venues in terms of pure fun. There are several groups of people who are always there, whom I've gotten to know pretty well over the last couple years. They love to sing, dance, and party. On this night, however, one of them was bearing the loss of her mother just two days before. Somewhat expected, but never easy. She'd brought in her extended family to share that time with, and while most of my songs were for everyone there, we had a few moments where it meant a little more just to them.
You can never play to just one person, or group of people, even if they might be the most prominent. There is always a balance, and it's why my set list is so eclectic. I've had plenty of evenings where I've constructed a set list full of 80s and 90s material, for the staff and regulars whom I know appreciate that stuff, only to have a swarm of septuagenarians invade the place. So, I switch gears a bit, dig into the country and older rock.
Those kind of shows are fun, I get to play a little bit of everything, but I'm also constantly watching, observing the reactions of people during and after songs, to gauge what the appetite might be for the next several minutes. Sure, I could let all that go and just play what I want, but I always feel it's imperative to do everything possible for the people who came out.
So, Saturday was really good, if not as raucous as usual. The previous evening, playing at the Aloft hotel, I'd had the benefit of several different groups of people stop in and listen. I may have also made a connection with someone whose friends are writing a sci-fi novel, and he suggested they might like an audio book done. Who knows? These encounters are random and fleeting, but occasionally, they catch fire.
I'll be off on a rare vacation starting Tuesday, spending time with my wife Tamara and her family in Raleigh and Williamsburg. It's good to take a breather every now and then, though I'll still be making connections on social media, and was just sent a manuscript by an author who asked some folks to 'beta test' his book and provide feedback. So, I'll be reading that, and giving an honest opinion. If it's really good, or close to it, I may ask him about getting an audio version done. Even if there's no interest, that's fine, I'm happy to help an author out, but it certainly helps to be proactive.
Be safe this week!