Updated: Sep 11
Solo Club didn’t disappoint. I had been looking forward to playing the show for a couple months. It has been a hard year for most people, musicians no different. Luckily for me and my fellow artist friends, the show at Solo Club ended up happening.
I took the long way to Solo Club. I wanted to see the country side of Kansas and Oklahoma. Two lane roads. The backwoods. I relate to that area. The wild. The land and people that the media doesn’t know or account for. I feel at home in those spots. I took out of Kansas City heading south through Olathe, and then down towards Oklahoma. You have to love travelling in the summer, road construction every three miles. Oh well, I felt free this day. I was getting to go do what I love. I was pumping that Texas-Oklahoma Red Dirt Country the whole way. I’ve been on a Townes Van Zandt kick lately. The best in my cynical eyes. I hit Independence, Kansas and then I crossed into Oklahoma. I was headed for Bartlesville.
On booking the show I needed to find a couple supporting acts to help fill the 9 P.M.-1 A.M. bill. Luckily Oklahoma is, and has always been full of great songwriters, and artists. It’s a music rich territory. I really like it. It’s like this troubadour country. Dylan Stewart and JJ Baldwin joined the bill. JJ Baldwin opened up the show. JJ had a couple original songs. He played his song ‘Sperry, Oklahoma’. It's a sweet song. It was heartfelt, and I think JJ will do great things. He’s a hell of a singer. One guy wandered to the stage and asked if he could play “The boys from Oklahoma roll their joint’s all wrong”??? “Nah, I know of the song, but I don’t know it!” JJ answered. Anyone who has ever played a dive bar, party, or honkytonk can tell you that the song requests never stop coming. People love the comfort of stuff they know. It makes them feel good. I get it, but most of the music we write isn’t about feeling good.
Dylan Stewart was up next. I have to say, that as a songwriter I am a big fan of Dylan Stewart. I listened to his songs in the week leading up to the show at Solo, and I loved them. He played an acoustic guitar and blew on a harmonica throughout his set. He plays and sings from his guts. He has a good live show. He reminded me that one of my favorite parts of playing live shows is meeting other songwriters and artists. I love live music. No live performance is the same, and to see these great artists in person is a pleasure. Dylan’s song ‘Headless Man’ hits me particularly hard. “Burn that witch, televise that lynch.” Listen to him. He’s good stuff. He’s a hard-working indie musician, and he is a road warrior. Catch him live if you can. I learned a lot watching him.
I took the stage around 11:30 P.M. I played ‘He Loves Her Anyway’ first. I can open my voice up on it a little, so it’s a good opening song. Following Dylan’s lead, I played only my own songs. It takes courage to sit up there and play your own songs. We could have played only covers and made four times as much in tips, but the truth is that we aren’t doing this for money. This is who we are. There’s a big difference. If I was doing this for money, I wouldn’t have made it this far. I would have given up a long time ago. I played all of the songs off my upcoming album. It will be out in March 2021. More on that later. I played a good portion of Banshee Tea. Those songs play well live. I found a couple new melody ideas within the songs. Performing live allows you the freedom to get lost in your music. You inadvertently stumble on to good ideas if you allow yourself the freedom to just play the songs, rather than worry about messing up. Overall, I felt like I had a good performance. It can always be better, I made a few mistakes, but I learned more than I messed up. That’s a win. Playing shows with people that are better than you is where it is at. It’s how you get better.
After the show Dylan and I shot the breeze on the sidewalk outside the club. It’s cool to talk songwriting and music with other songwriters. We have a lot of the same influences, and views on songs, and art. One of the great things of getting out in the world is that you meet cool people who come from totally different areas of the country, who are a lot like you… Similar backgrounds. It’s the ultimate cure to isolation. I needed that in this year. There’s a whole world out there awaiting all of us. The show left a strong impression on me. I walked away with a couple new friends. Solo Club was good. Freedom. I’m thinking I’ll hit Oklahoma again in November. It’s like that Steve Earle song…. “when my boots hit the boards, I’m a brand-new man.” I feel that.