it’s one thing when you walk into a gig and see recording equipment set up and realize, for the first time, that tonight’s performance is being archived for the ages…
…and another thing when you add this realization to the prior knowledge that you’ll be doing a half dozen tunes that you’ve never done before and have had no real opportunity to rehearse.
such was the case at burlap and bean on saturday night with craig bickhardt. it’s a room that we’ve played several times before, and craig wanted to incorporate some new material into the set, to keep it fresh for the folks who come out to faithfully support us. as it turns out, the guy opening for us, kyle swartzwelder, was taking advantage of his opening set to record his trio’s performance, and offered to do the same for us.
so…yeah. a little unnerving, i guess. but…ok. it’s all good. we’ll be fine.
and frankly, we were – there were only a couple of the new songs that i wasn’t already familiar with…among them were untasted honey, previously recorded by kathy mattea, and givers and takers, a song that i’d heard many times before, on the SKB album and on craig’s own no road back collection. he had also included giant steps among the “new” material, but i was intimately familiar with that one, from many, many repeated listenings in the time since i’d first heard it. among the other songs were young hearts, wild horses and the wind and it takes a winding road, as well as a song he co-wrote with irish legend jimmy mccarthy, there is no night.
we didn’t do all of them, but we did most of them, along with the songs that we can’t seem to leave a room without playing, lest it be in fear for our lives…but the truth is, i never really get tired of playing any of the stuff in craig’s sets. his taste in covers is impeccable (my favorite being galway to graceland by richard thompson) and i genuinely enjoy singing with him – our voices blend together really well, and when we’re both on, it’s really good. vocally, we were pretty locked in for this one. and, as always, it’s a joy to look over and see my man tommy geddes on the other side of the stage.
kyle swartzwelder, the opener, really impressed me as a songwriter. i’d met kyle before in other situations where he wasn’t performing, but this was the first time i’d gotten to hear him and his trio actually play some songs. he reminds me of the bastard son of lyle lovett and jeffrey focault – if that were genetically possible. his songs are sparse and melodic, and they fit him well. 🙂 after the show, wendy and i went with kyle and tommy to the official after-show diner of the burlap and bean, the name of which escapes me at the moment…but i remember it from the post-idlewheel get-together last year. i can say that the place definitely has a charm about it, and it seems to inspire great conversation. definitely worth considering for a post-show hang.