My anticipation of the evening of September 24th 2016 was building like a tiny fire in the pit of my stomach as I found myself pacing around the yard of the North Buick Lounge, listening to the party sounds inside the barn, and looking up at a star-filled sky, trying to get my head straight and visualize putting on a good show. Man, this stuff isn't easy. Most of life is a blur, right up until that moment when I am on stage behind a microphone, with my guitar, playing my songs. Is that weakness, or am I just limiting myself? I'm happy doing other things too, but man, waiting in line at the bank...I'm awkward as hell. I can't sort out my insurance to save my life, but give me a guitar, and maybe a stage to play it on, and I'm in my own little world where I make all the rules and everything makes sense.
Finally, it was about fifteen minutes until I was to start my set, up there in North Berwick Maine. The energy in the barn that evening was strong, and the two opening acts were killer. Ten minutes in, and my heartbeat is approaching hummingbird territory, and I find myself stretching out here and there as if I'm some kind of athlete. A few knuckle cracks, leg stretches, and a "You can fuckin' do this, you've done it hundreds of times!" Five minutes until gig time, and I am on stage getting my equipment straight and the guitar in tune, going over a skeletal set list in my mind. I knew the first tune I would do, "Somewhere Between India & Idaho" and had a rough idea of a few others I wanted to play, but other than that it was a shoot-from-the-hip and read-the-audience kind of night.
A sweet introduction from Marty, and the set begins. I start riffing and trying to get into the music and make it the only thing that matters. "Don't look around the room," I think to myself. "You might see something or someone, and it will make your mind skip and take total control away from the music. Oh man, the monitors are just right, and my amp that I brought is just kickin' and perfect and clean." The crowd was electric, and I felt like some sort of classic stage performer. Like I was carrying some sort of torch. A lot of times I discredit myself, and I gotta work on the self-esteem thing like anyone else, but in that moment I felt pretty damn good.
Songs just come out of me, one after another, and I keep my eyes closed, almost imagining that I am hovering above myself, listening in awe at how I was singing. It was coming from somewhere deep, where thinking has no place, and subconscious takes over...That had never happened before. Maybe a Zen master would classify that experience as something or other, but I gotta tell you, it felt magical. I had gotten right to the bone of it. All the gigs, the chords, riffs, cables, lyrics, records, EVERYTHING. I got right back to the beginning, and to what truly matters: being inspired by the music. Thank you to Martin England and Jen England, Continuum Arts Collective, North Buick Lounge, and all the kind people who attended the gig. It was one for the record books, and in my top-five for sure.