the enchanted fox, medway MA

so, the fact is, i knew before i left the house that this gig was going to be a bit spotty. my voice still hadn’t recovered from my weird bout with whatever it was that i’ve been wrestling with for the past couple of weeks, but it was good enough that i could get through the show, i was relatively sure.

i had played here before, several months before, with dan may – and they’d asked me to come back and do a solo acoustic show when i could, and as it turned out – this friday was when i could.

the enchanted fox is what you’d probably call a “new age” bookstore in medway, MA – and the performance space is upstairs over the store. used during store hours for yoga and other less melodic pursuits, every now and again they invite musicians to perform in the space after store hours. it’s perfect for someone like me, who isn’t really capable of drawing more than it could hold (probably 30 people would be the absolute most you could squeeze in there), and it makes for an intimate space where it’s relatively easy to hold court and sing a few songs and develop a rapport with the folks who come to hear you.

one of the folks who came felt an apparent insurmountable urge to go with the “rapport” part of the deal…he was taking calls on his cellphone, chatting away during the show, and was asked to step outside several times before he finally left. i told everyone not long afterward (when they tried to apologize for his behavior that they had no control over) a couple of stories – one being about a rider on the BARTA bus to work on one of the occasions when i had to take the bus to work when a car was in the shop who was singing at the top of his lungs with his headphones on…the driver asked him to refrain from doing so, and the unstoppably optimistic rider told the driver, “hey, man…i’m just singin’ my song, you know?”

the other was the story of the douchebag at the sellersville theatre who felt that the price of admission to a show came with carte blanche to sing along at the top of his lungs, to the dismay of the other folks who paid the same fee to get in…without being told, apparently, that there’d be some free bonuses that came with their ticket…namely Joe Karaoke sitting right behind them, bellowing like a goat.

Chatty Dude was the only real drawback to the night, though…my voice wasn’t in its usual form, but i was able to get through most of the songs i chose to play with minimal problems.

the night before, i took a trip to scranton/wilkes-barre to pick up a new addition to my guitar family – an early eighties martin shenandoah D2832. i got it from a craigslist poster who had moved from S/WB to california, and the guitar was with his mother, who was helping him sell it. it’s beautiful, and it sounds amazing. when we got back (after taking some time to drive around wilkes-barre and take some pictures after dark), i restrung it with a set of the Elixir strings that i got from my buddy jeff wall in north carolina, and it sang like a bird. the action could use some tweaking, but that’ll have to wait until i get my main shenandoah out of the shop (it’s the herringbone D28 that’s in for the moment for a bridge remove/reglue, due to some lifting in the back).

it was our buddy mikes’ birthday, and a cake was hidden from view right next to where i was playing…and we announced that we had a quick diversion to attend to and began playing “happy birthday to you”…and mike was so completely unaware of the ambush that he began singing when everyone else did. so we took a break, had some cake, and finished the show before heading out for my relatively new friend and guitar enthusiast vernon domingo’s place after the show. the next morning, i had a phone interview with a writer from the allentown morning call for the dan fogelberg memorial show we’re doing on 8/13, and then vernon and i sat down for what’s destined to become our semi-regular guitar lesson…which is a pleasure, because he’s motivated to play for all the right reasons – he goes into his office/studio, puts on the guitar, and plays for the sheer enjoyment of the act of playing the instrument.  he really is a delight.

i had delusions of actually making it back to berks county in time for my old buddy darryl’s birthday party, but there was just too much on our plates for the afternoon, and we ended up only getting on the road in earnest at around 4pm or so.  factor in a cracker barrel stop on the way out of MA, and it was easily 11pm or so by the time i was able to get out of the car for the last time.

as has been noted, i don’t do solo acoustic shows very often…but i could see this one becoming a regular thing.  the people who run the place have an infectious enthusiasm for music, and they’re a joy to deal with.  see you soon, guys!

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