Carlo had purchased my CD, "Casting Shadows" via CD Baby (still available by the way) and, as I try to do with anyone who purchases my music, I sent him an e-mail of thanks for the purchase. He responded with an invitation to come to Cullman to perform. As I learned back in my "Heavy Metal" days, never turn down a "gig". So I immediately accepted. Then, I must admit, the thought: "Cullman, Alabama???" crossed my mind.
As much as I've traveled, I've not spent any significant time in Alabama, staying in a couple of towns on my way through the state to other locations. As such, I really only had perceptions from afar as to what life in Alabama was like. And, like many preconceived perceptions, they are clouded by the perceptions of others. Here's the gist of that perception:
- Civil Rights movement of the 60's
- Deep "South"
- Have some pretty good college football teams
- "Forrest Gump"
- .....and that's about it...
I really didn't know what to expect. But, as Carlo seemed like a pleasant guy via phone and email communication, I figured his judgment and musical taste was all I needed to load up the gear and hit the road.
Back in my Heavy Metal days, we would have my buddy Josh be our "roadie/guitar tech" and my band would pretend we were a roving entourage of "Rock Gods". Nowadays.....I talked my 15 year old daughter, Jessica, to come along for the ride for moral support. How times have changed....for the better I might add.
After 5 hours in the car, we arrived at Berkeley Bob's and immediately saw a flyer with my picture and name on it. My daughter thought this was pretty cool as she immediately got to "snap-chatting" (whatever the heck that is). As we entered, I was warmly greeted by Carlo, Xena (Barista/server) and others. I felt immediately at ease as the coffee house was a pleasant slice of "Bohemia" in a small southern town.
The performance itself was a structured improvisation. Structured in that I had guide notes on strategy, some pre-recorded beats, etc. Improvised in that.....there were times I didn't have a clue where I was going. But I did have lots of fun and got lost in the music which is really why I do this to begin with. Those moments when I surprise myself and feel like I'm being led and thought is suspended are wonderful. To share this with an audience...even better.
I did about an hour and 45 minutes of soundscapes and was received very warmly by the audience with some very flattering words and complements. And my daughter was impressed by the kindness shown by all in attendance.
In summary, a very enjoyable experience. And not just the performance but also getting to spend many hours with my soon-to-be grown up daughter. Its not lost on me that those moments with her are becoming less and less frequent so any opportunity to hang with her is time well spent.
I'd like to thank Carlo and Bob for inviting me. And thanks to all who attended and treated Jessica and I so kindly.