with Shannon Corey at World Cafe Live, Philadelphia PA

so, no – we’d never met. certainly not in person, anyway. we exchanged a few emails and texts, she sent me some tracks to learn, but no phone calls or anything like that. we met for the first time when i showed up at her apartment a couple of hours before the gig to run through the songs for the set.

so in that regard, my debut with shannon corey really was a blind date in some respects.

we’d exchanged some thoughts about instrumentation and what her expectations were on the few songs that i was to play on (all on mandolin, making this one of the lightest load-ins i’ve had in a long time), so i listened to the songs to figure out what key they were in and to see if there were any hooks or licks that i’d need to learn that were integral to the song, and got ready to head over to shannon’s apartment to run through the set with our cellist (and one of the dudes who recommended me for the gig), michael ronstadt.

soundcheck at world cafe live...michael ronstadt on cello with shannon corey.

now, what i didn’t realize was that it was essentially just the three of us, musically – but two of the cuts were acoustic guitar songs, and it never occured to me to think that somebody wouldn’t be covering that part – i just assumed that shannon doubled on guitar and piano.

but, noooooooo.

as it turns out, not only did she not play guitar, but she didn’t cover those parts with piano, either. so it’d be up to michael and myself to execute those songs with the cello and the mandolin. which meant that i actually had to learn the songs. like, now.

i was ok with two of them, but one of them, doing fine, actually had a descending guitar part that i’d have to replicate on the mando…i listened to it a couple of times through, and we worked it out. it wasn’t difficult, i just had to memorize the arrangement and make sure i had my signposts in place.

so michael got there and we ran through everything a couple of times and got ready to head to the venue.

shannon was opening for a guy named jon mclaughlin – who i’d assumed was the jazz guitarist, but as it turns out, there’s a kid with the same name whos’ apparently garnered enough notoriety to be playing a 700-capacity room in a major urban area. just another little nudge from father time to let me know that i’m not a kid anymore. 🙂

i was a little concerned going in, as i’m not entirely sure that they were expecting the number of musicians that would be showing up for this gig in the opening slot…but turk, the soundguy at WCL is a buddy of mine, and if there were any concerns or problems with our lineup, they didn’t convey them to us. the headliner was touring as a duo, and the stage was pretty sparse…so it make soundcheck a pleasure for all of us. i love the monitors in the downstairs room at WCL – i don’t know for sure if they’re clair brothers boxes or not, but they sound like they very well may be – some of the best monitors i’ve ever heard have been on clair brothers stages, and these boxes look almost exactly like the signature shape of clair monitor fills. guess i should ask Turk about that next time i’m there.

so, soundcheck finished, all there was to do was wait – which is, generally speaking, customary. but in this scenario, it essentially served as time for shannon to work herself into a frenzy – she was wound pretty tightly by the time we were to walk onstage. not sure, specifically, what to attest that to…as i don’t really know her that well (as noted earlier), so i just took my mental notes with me onstage and tried to execute the tunes as best as i could, under the circumstances.

the show itself seemed to go pretty well – nothing stood out in my mind, where glaring errors or such were concerned. and she seemed genuinely happy with the way it had gone after we were finished, so – alls’ well that ends well. after the show, i had a few minutes to catch up with my buddy josh hisle and his friend dan collins, who were there for the show – it was good to see JH, as i hadn’t seen him in ages…nice to meet dan, as well.

so…in the end…client happy, show solid, no parking tickets, home relatively early – win/win. 🙂

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