Taking the Bull by the Horns

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I’ve been saying it for a while, but more recently getting away with it less….
“I’m not a musician or a performer!”

Depending on your definitions, at least one of these is now not true.
It is true that I don’t play a guitar or piano, or any other tuned instrument. I occasionally have been known to tackle simple percussion, and of course I sing. The knowledge I have of music is increasing each term I spend with the songwriting circle. There are of course, enormous swathes of stuff I don’t know, but I could make a list of stuff I now do know. My voice is improving, in terms of range, and most definitely in strength and delivery, which brings us to performance.

I am a performer, because I have performed on numerous occasions now. I enjoy it, I love a little banter with the audience, and so far, it has been received well, and I even get the occasional compliment on my voice from people who have no vested interest in making me feel good. I love applause… An instant response to art is astonishingly satisfying!

The band of lovely men I have around me to write songs, we are collectively known as The Sitting Room. (There are jokes about us needing to sit down frequently as we are all of a certain age and need to rest our joints).

Anyway… We now have, at the last count at rehearsal last week, 15 songs. Some of these are good to go, some are just started and still need work. (In addition to these, the guys have their own huge repertoire of solo material, that we inject the set with, to give my voice a rest, and the ears of the audience a bit of variety). We would like, at some stage to record these songs. I have been assured by the band, and experienced people of the circle, that it is best to “bed in” these songs by performing them live for a while, to iron out the lumpy bits and figure out the best way to deliver them. “Ok…” Says I. Hmmmm…. Well, I may be a performer, but I think I can still count occasions I have performed on my fingers. Whereas Andy and Ian have lost count. So as such, I am loath to perform at the sort of open mic nights where the football is on in the other room and drunken punters shout ” Sing Angels! I love Robbie!” I have said I will do a particular open mic night, because I’ve been assured none of those things will happen as the audience are attentive, interested, engaged listeners.
Otherwise, what is happening is we seem to be invited to play in what I’m choosing to call “curated spaces”… Galleries, museums etc.
So what I have before me now are a list of small gigs to get me going:
This Friday, 21st October I will be doing a fairly long set, but just with Ian, at Bewdley Museum at 6pm.
On this Monday, 24th October, just one song, with just Andy this time, at The Crescent Theatre bar in Birmingham, with other members of the Songwriting Circle, 7:30pm. In November (tbc) we hope to be doing the aforementioned open mic with all three of us, doing a three song set. Then there will be the Circle end of term group concert at mac Birmingham on 21st November.

Then by December 3rd, we should be all warmed up, well rehearsed and in fine voice to tackle a set at The Old Library Studios Open Weekend! Singing with my very own band, in my very own studio… Details to follow….

If you turn up at any of these events, please come and say hello… But I’m usually more sociable and relaxed for chatting after, rather than before the performance! Be warned!

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