don't know what you got 'til it's gone

You don't know what you got 'til it's gone.

That's a line in a Joni Mitchell song.

That's also the truth for many situations.

I am waiting and watching to see if my favorite little Underground Music Cafe will revive it's live music schedule and my Wednesday residency.

The new owners cancelled all music starting the first of the new year. I didn't know whether anyone would even care.

But there has been a true outcry from both fans of the music program and from the musicians themselves. Everyone is voicing their disappointment over the termination. People are saying it is a great music community and that it must be reinstated immediately. I really didn't even know that the other musicians cared that much. The whole thing felt a little tired to me. But maybe this is what everybody needed to wake up and see what a great thing they had going.

I had been wondering how long I should continue to play there on Wednesdays partly because the place was seeming to be losing steam and the old owners were all caught up in their new second location. I think it's interesting that when they invited me to play their new location I did for about three times and then I requested to go back to playing Wednesdays at their old location.

Personally, I've let go of the whole thing. I have ideas about how to better utilize longer stretches without a live performance.

My guess is that I do better NOT playing a weekly show at the same place every week. I think it maybe puts me in a mindset of too much routine, or too much of a grind, and the shows start to seem less special to me. I know a professional bass player who brags that he's in seven to ten different bands and they all play out quite often...local bands obviously. But how great can he be at any of their music when he has so much music floating around in his head every day, every week? There is such a thing as spreading yourself too thin. 

In my case, I think it's about songwriting. I need a lot of time in silence to write songs. Like days at a time. No listening to other peoples' music. No playing my own old songs. No playing other songs at all. 

It's like you have to deprive your brain of all music to the point that you start making up your own soundtrack to your day, your situation.

This is the antithesis of the songwriters' "camps" in Nashville and Los Angeles where they put many songwriters in a room and have them compose lyrics and melodies for pop hit songs. This is not that.

I want a set of ten new songs to play at my shows because the songs I've been singing are great but the message is not my most current mindset, and the whole point of being the Bard is to bring news and stories that help express the sentiments of the day. 

My last album gave me a wonderful new set of songs to play. I have been perfectly happy with those songs for about a year and a half now. But now I need an update again. It's time.

I've written a new song almost every day since before Christmas, but none of them have "stuck" so far.

I will know when I have one that I can sing from memory later in the day. I will know when I wake up in the night or in the morning and the new song is stuck in my head.

So, we'll see if the Underground does invite me back to play Wednesdays again.

And we'll see whether that's a good thing. 

But for now, I've got my amp and my Guyatone and a microphone and a blank notebook set up in the living room and it feels great.

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