Monday, March 29, 2010

Jam Session

This past weekend I was down in Indiana. My youngest brother and his friends and acquaintances will, on a roughly quarterly basis, get together to play some music. I happened to be down visiting Saturday night, and was invited to attend.

Now, this isn't just your average pathetically aging garage band, a la the movie Slingblade, but rather some serious talent. Would an emphatic adjective drive home the gravity of just how serious? Okay.

There was some serious fucking talent there.

These guys have been playing in notable local area bands for decades. Some still do. Many, if not all, could easily be studio musicians in Hollywood or Nashville. 

Yeah, that good. 

So Saturday night was a great fucking time to be alive. They'd all play a song and the standard joke would be "Wow, that sounded just like the record!" Well, more often than not, it sounded better. Could that be from the alcohol? Well, maybe, but I don't think so.

Did I participate? Of course!  I mean, I needed a little liquid encouragement at first, but after a while, hearing some of the other bad karaoke singers, I had no problem singing. 

They don't stand on ceremony, and they certainly aren't music snobs. Don't know the lyrics? That's what print-outs are for! Good voice? Bad voice? Out of tune voice? It didn't matter. The one requirement was that you belt it out with as much feeling and soul as you could muster. 

And that's what I did. They started me out with something simple. I did John Lennon's part on the song "Hey Bulldog", while an old friend of mine did the Paul McCartney accompaniment/harmonizing.

Eventually, a few songs later, I did the harmonizing on "Wish you Were Here". Then "Surrender". My brother sang the lead on that, and did very well indeed. 

Then finally, I completely messed up Frank Zappa's "Dirty Love", just slaughtered the lyrics to the point that the band broke down laughing. So I was done for the evening. No, it wasn't what you think. I wasn't drunk. In fact, I drank, but did not get drunk. The experience alone was intoxicating enough.

The highlight of the evening was listening to one musician's wife sing Sara Barielles' "Love Song". She had one of the most remarkable voices I've ever heard. It did more than fill the room, it threatened to bust down the walls. She got a big hand from everyone.

But you know, everyone did a great job. And had fun. It was a joyful experience,to be immersed in very loud, very good music and to sing yourself hoarse, and help others do the same thing.

I wish to do it again.

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