Last night we made our Memphis playing debut at the Blues Cafe on Beale. Ten bands, and we were the only quartet. All the rest were guitar- driven trios. Some were power trios in the au curant Joe Bonamassa style, and some were more traditional, with electric National resophonics and slide guitars.
At least two of the bands I heard were not good, but all the others were, in their way, very, very good. I wish I could say we won, but I'd be a liar. There was no way to tell.
Tonight, same venue, different start time, different judges.
Once again, I am torn between my love of just playing the blues and my latent competitive instincts, of which I am not proud. I guess deep inside I feel like there shouldn't be competition in music, and that if there is (and there is!), I should try to be above it. But even deeper, and even more ingrained is the desire to kick musical butt.
One thing was sure: we were definitely the best- dressed!
I ran into Bill Wax, the XM- Sirius blues deejay, who invited the band into the XM Studios when we return to DC. He wants to help us cut a CD. So, in a way, my main goal is accomplished whether we win or not.
There are a lot of good bands here. It's overwhelming. Fortunately I was never good at math, so I have no idea how the odds are stacked. But there are a lot of good bands and only a handful of mediocre bands. Whew!
Yesterday afternoon, I went with friends to the Stax Museum on McLemore Avenue. What a nice tonic to Beale Street! It's a beautiful little museum, a replica actually of the old Stax/ Volt recording studio, which was torn down in the '80's. They replicated the building across from the old one and made it into this museum.
The ghosts of great music haunt the place, in particular my idol Otis Redding. I took that spirit with me and channeled it into our set. Corny but true.
I have to remember what got me into this great music in the first place and how much I love it. Ultimately, that's all.