Last week at Gruene we thought we might have to do one last song, and the appropriate last song is of course called "Shut This Place Down," which I have not yet played with Susan, so I wrote the chords down real quick. Sharpie.
I have had flashes of an incredible time during these past couple of months of an incredibly tough situation. Like I posted earlier, no one wants their boss to break an arm (unless you have a jerk boss but hey, that's not my territory), but especially their boss who makes a living by using their arm a lot. The strum is coming back, I can see the progress with physical therapy already. And I for one cannot wait for Susan Gibson to return to full strumming form.
But, the lemonade of the situation is I have pushed myself on the guitar front lately way more than I know I would have if this whole thing had not come up. Since guitar is the musical thing I have been doing the longest, since I was a wee 11 year old, I have always felt pretty good about it. But you always compare yourself to others and think you're behind in the pack just by virtue of hesitation and some kind of inhibiting humility (or maybe that's just me).
Having to step up and learn 25 or so songs to be professionally performable up to the standards of me, Susan, and my standards for how good I think Susan is...was a toughie. After I started getting the progressions and charts down and then the tempos right, I was scared of the nuances that rhythm players throw in to their songs to make them theirs. Anyone with some skill can play a decent G C D progression, but only Susan can play it with the picking and strum style that is her own, and I have mine, and so does Bob Dylan. It has been an interesting balance of trying to pick up as much of Susan's style as possible, and then knowing when to just allow the tune to be a Susan song played how I would do it. I think I'm walking the line all right. At least, Susan has not thrown her guitar stand at me in disgust. Yet.
I also found I like the role of being a sideperson (derivative of the general term, "sideman" haha). It's different when you roll up to a gig and all you have to worry about is your guitar tone, and it's someone else's job to sing, banter, worry about who in the crowd cares and doesn't, etc. It's a different role. Do I like it more than performing my own stuff? No, but it's apples and oranges. Give me both, please.
So the goal that didn't exist...the title of this post. I never ever would have ever EVER planned on this situation, or the revelation into my guitar world to happen in such a short time. I think that's when some of our best learning happens, when you have to step up and make things happen to keep a train on its track.
So anyway...I don't know how long this gig will last, or what other gigs it will open me up to, but I am probably going to add "Steadiest Right Hand In the West" to my business card, har har.