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Reports from the stage. What worked, what didn't.

  1. In Rochester. Um, no not New York. Rochester, England

    Seriously, I had no idea England had a Rochester too. But every time I come across an English city with the same name as an American one, like Boston, I think, "Well duh. They had to get the name somewhere,"

    In any case Rochester is a lovely little town that holds a medieval castle and cathedral. They have a folk festival there every year called Rochester Sweeps Festival. I appeared on Sunday the 5th of May at the Busker's Corner. The stage was set up between the castle ...
  2. First Time Busking

    Matt and I went to the Cambridge market square yesterday afternoon. Mandolin and guitar in tow, we walked through it twice scouting busking locations. One by one they were taken up by more experienced and decisive buskers. We finally settled upon the southwest corner, near a coffee shop and some likely looking kiosks.

    I set out the mandolin case (my breast-cancer-awareness pink gig bag) and tuned up my Vessel F5. Matt tugged out the Rainsong and waited.

    That space ...
    Tags: busking
    Acoustic Adventures , Gigging
  3. Creating a "scene," what's worked for you?

    This is an excellent primer and very good advice if you want to play lot to a wide variety of audiences.

    Thanks Allen!

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Some thoughts on what's worked for me. And let me state up front, that while I make a "good second income" from music -- over $15K annually -- I couldn't live on what I make; that's where civil service retirement comes in...

    1. Playing for seniors: I compiled a list of nursing homes, senior centers, assisted living facilities
  4. Working Up a Set

    I used to be a singer/songwriter. Time was when I could access my emotional state at the drop of a hat and pour my guts out with a pen, a piece of paper and a guitar.

    Things changed as I got older. Music became a hobby rather than a serious endeavor, so I turned from songwriting to more social forms of musical expression.

    I found Bluegrass, not because I am deeply enamored with the style of music, but because Bluegrassers welcomed me.

    The reason I played ...
  5. How Do You Get to the Gallo Center? Practice, Practice, Practice

    [Reprinted from the May issue of Stanislaus Connections]

    Saturday evening in mid-March, the sun is setting over
    Modesto and sending laser-like rays into the large lobby
    windows of the Gallo Center in Modesto, California. As picturesque as it is, the illumination seems unnatural for a night-time place like a theater. It is spilling reflected light against the back wall causing the bartender to shade her eyes. The marble floor is a sort of a
    pinkish ...
  6. A Few Lessons from a Spring Outdoor Gig

    I am writing this and posting it largely to remind myself of the following lessons. Perhaps those of you who also play out will benefit from it.

    The Gig:
    • Outdoor gig at a Farmer's Market in a small town in California's central valley.
    • Four sets.
    • One hundred dollars for the band plus tips.
    • Sunny and breezy with gusts up to 25mph
    The Stage
    • A dirt median strip in a parking lot
    • Awning provided for shade ...
  7. Greetings from the Edge of the San Joaquin River…

    [Reprinted from the April 2010 issue of Stanislaus Connections]

    The annual Tule Fog Fete is a fundraising event for Modesto, California’s Great Valley Museum. Held outdoors at Caswell Memorial State Park, the child-centered event includes live animal exhibits, docent-led walks through the park’s many riverside paths, snacks, silent auctions, and live music.

    As a local amateur musician, I volunteer my services every year to the Great Valley Museum and the Tule Fog Fete. ...
  8. Even at an Outdoor Gig, Power Ain't Everything

    Farmer's Market (Oakdale CA) gig in July. I was playing through my new Marshall G15R CD amp (15w solid state, 8" speaker). I would have taken the Ampeg J12T (15w, 2 EL84s, 12" speaker) but I was told the gig was "acoustic." I did not want to bring too much firepower to the gig and scare the organizers off, so the Marshall ended up in the back of the Prius.

    The gig went really well, and the city of Oakdale hired us back for a late August date. The Marshall, ...

    Updated Aug-31-2009 at 4:01pm by Daniel Nestlerode (short addendum)

  9. Playing Electric in an Acoustic Setting

    [This past weekend, I was working in the studio (Blue Dragon Studio) with Señor Circus and kept a log. I wrote down a bunch of thoughts and will share them with you as I get them together. As a bit of a warm up –writing is a process as much as music is—I thought I would share my thoughts about playing electric in an “acoustic” setting.]

    Studio work this past weekend was punctuated pleasantly by a pair of two set gigs. The first was on Friday evening at Billy Goats Tavern, the second ...

    Updated Aug-10-2009 at 6:06pm by Daniel Nestlerode (Clarity)

  10. House Concert Report: Catherine Feeny

    I've been to a lot of house concerts. They're quite popular among the acoustic music appreciators in Modesto, CA and surrounding communities, so I thought I knew how the evening would go. Since our band leader, Señor Tim, was the host, I figured we, Señor Circus, would get up and do 4 or 5 songs before the main attraction, Catherine Feeny, would take over. But my expectations were wildly inaccurate, and pleasantly so.

    After the potluck dinner (yummy vegetarian foods, mostly) We ...
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