sang my heart out in a trashy bar last night

"Goddamn, it feels good to just play the fucking gee-tar and sing the shit out of those songs and bring down the house!" I said as I got ready for bed last night.

I was invited by a drummer in Minneapolis named Tom Cook who sets up shows for his favorite bands to play. Last night there were four bands on the bill and he played drums in more than one of them. As far as I could see I was the only female on the bill, and the only solo performer. In the current political climate of America, that in itself is something to say. 

I played and I spoke in a way that I cannot when there are men sharing the stage with me. When I play as a duo with Rob there is Rob's very formidable male presence on the stage with me. When I play with a full band it's all men and me and I always feel like the baby of the family, which is actually very freeing and delightful in a different way.

But when I'm on stage alone I don't have to defer to anyone else's feelings. I can get as far out of the box as I feel comfortable doing and there's no one up there squirming. I can say what I want. Do what I want. Sing how I want. Oh, the glorious freedom.

House concerts are lovely. Listening rooms for singer songwriters are lovely. A concert at a center for the arts is lovely.

But getting to be large and in charge is my favorite.

Last night as I was getting off the stage the drummer who invited me to play came over to me beaming. He said, "That was fantastic! Your solo thing is great! You can do what you just did anywhere. You can do it here, but you could do this at The Orpheum Theater too. You will. I know you will."

Let's hope so Tom. Thanks again for a great night and a real shot of encouragement.

One more story about last night......

I got off stage and went up to the bar. The female bartender came rushing out from behind the bar and grabbed my hand and took me to the back corner where there was no one standing. She told me that she didn't realize who I was when I first came in that night. She said she had been the bartender there about five or six years ago when I did a series of band performances there practicing up for one of my full band tours. She told me she had three of my albums and that she knew all the words and played them all the time. She started singing "Ballad To My Other Self" just right there, no prompting from me, came in with the exact right opening line and everything. She said she listened to my music and she always cried because she felt like I had been through a lot of stuff and she didn't know what but it made her always worry for me. She said that the last time she saw me play there at the bar she thought there were people around me getting involved with my career who just maybe weren't good people and she was worried and then she didn't see me again and she said she always wondered. I told her I knew what she was talking was promoters who were stepping up to help but were kind of shady...and I told her that those days were thankfully over of having to work with people I didn't trust or respect. But the biggest thing was she said, "I didn't even recognize you, you've changed so much." She was very candid and said I looked younger and so confident and happy that it couldn't be the same person. She said, "You were so introverted then, and you seemed so fragile and wounded and my heart just ached for you every time you got up to sing. I loved it, but it just was always so painful." She said that she didn't realize it was me until "you opened your mouth and sang. Then I said, oh my God it's Courtney." She said, "I'd know that voice anywhere, it's so distinctive." She said "you're so confident and happy now I just know you're going to be okay now. I know you're going to finally do this. You're ready."

I gave her a free copy of my newest cd and we hugged and I thanked her for telling me all this. 

Many people bought cds so I got some money and shared the recordings which of course means a great deal to me.

I accepted an invitation to play for free at a shitty old run down bar and I was repaid in pure gold.


Courtney October 01, 2018 @07:26 am
Josephine, yeah, the solo rock thing is really a challenge. If you have your head in the right place it can really be a great experience. And it's good for other people to watch somebody do that too. It makes you feel like anything is possible!
Josephine Ann Hajek September 30, 2018 @10:26 am
Sorry I missed it. I was planning on stopping by but got delayed at another venue. It takes courage and confidence to do a solo act as the only one you can rely on is yourself. I'm glad you had a great show. I'm sure there are more to come.
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