One likes to believe in the freedom of music

What a lyric huh?

Damn. I wish I wrote that.

I moved to Seattle in June of 2010. In the 3 years I've been here I've rediscovered music in a way that I couldn't have imagined 5 years ago.

I just got back from a local bar's acoustic night. It's been a long time since I've been in an open mic night type element but man, it feels good. It's a totally different vibe at this acoustic night from the open mic night's I used to play at the Thirsty Ear in Columbus Ohio. 

Ah, the Thirsty Ear. What a wonderful neighborhood bar that was.

I remember vividly when that placed first opened. The owners, Jerry and Margo loved music. You could hear that passion in talking to Jerry any night of the week. Open mic night started shortly after the bar opened. It was on Wednesday night. That first month it started was something else. Up until this point I had never played solo before. I was always with a band at live gigs and I certainly didn't sing by myself. I went there by myself the first open mic night and longed to play there. Most of the acts were top notch. There was something different about this place. Something that I hadn't noticed before. Two things in fact. 

(1) The people playing were humble. They would take the stage and just own the night. Just destroy a set. Walk off and be content with being just another body in the crowd. I wasn't used to this because I was used to big headed musicians (self included) that assumed everyone was just as jazzed listening to a 20 minute feedback solo as our band was. 

(2) The crowd showed up to listen to music. Actually listened. Most of the patrons stopped talking when an act was on and listened. They cheered when a song was over and were vocal about their applause. It was awesome. This changed after awhile and it just became another bar hangout but those first few months were something else. It really put a meaning behind the bar's name, The Thirsty Ear.

I think it took me about a month of practice and a few beers to get the courage up to play. I had met a few people by just hanging out there on Wednesday nights but really didn't know anyone. The encouragement I got at that first set was awesome. I probably sucked really bad but everyone gave me such great feedback that I soon became an acoustic night regular. I'd like to think I got half way decent when it was all said and done. 

The regular crew was awesome. There were probably about 6 of us that would play every week and after the bar closed Jerry locked the doors, shut the blinds and we jammed until 4 or 5 in the morning. Work on Thursdays were rough back then. It was a very cool time.

Now back at the Feedback Lounge here in Seattle, it wasn't open mic night. These acts were booked and were ready to play. I was expecting to get blown away by their superior talents. Nope. Instead I was wishing Jerry was up next covering the Stones' "Dead Flowers." At least that was how the first night went. Tonight it was different. Tonight the talent was pretty awesome. It was polished. It wasn't out of my league. It left me with itchy fingers wanting to break out the acoustic when I got home.

BUT, the cool thing was that the audience was there to listen to music. There was a lot of respect given to the musicians and a decent applause after songs. 

In retrospect, there are some good similarities between the Feedback and the Thirsty Ear. I just wish the Feedback would gain some of the Ear's humility. Who knows. Maybe I'll learn more about it if I start playing again. Until then, I'm gonna listen to some old Stones' tunes. Probably Rush too. I wonder how Spirit of the Radio would sound stripped down for acoustic night?