I love playing songs. I pick up the guitar or banjo and sing something, and when everyone is enjoying it, it just sort of lights me up. I love being the center of attention, and the feeling that those who are giving me their attention are finding it worthwhile.
But music. Music is different. I first discovered that with a band called the Albany Free Traders–the pleasure of sublimating myself into a music machine, where the pleasure coming back from the audience was multiplied by each one of us in the band, and sent back out again. AFT gave me a taste for it. And then came Cats Laughing.
Emma Bull, Bill Colsher, Lojo Russo, Adam Stemple, and me. We played a sort of Grateful-Dead-influenced improvisational rock with folk elements, and with a lot of blues because Lojo and Adam. All of my efforts to describe what it was like–magical, amazing, all that stuff–sound weak and stupid. But the thing is, people seemed to like us. We had a kind of following. We made a couple of tapes/CDs that were fairly well received, and, well, like that. I can still recall being lost in the playing–the sensation I called “an ear and a grin,” because it felt like that was all I was.
I miss that band painfully. I have since we stopped playing together.
Thanks to my son Corwin, my amazing daughter-in-law Dee, and David Dyer-Bennet, there’s a good chance of us getting together at this years’ Minicon, Easter Weekend, and doing an acoustic show from which we hope to produce a CD, and maybe even some sort of video thing. We’ve launched a Kickstarter, and, as I write these lines, we made our tier 1 goal, and are on the way to the next.
If you’re interested in being a part of it, here’s the link.