I had a fun time last night at the monthly open mic at Fair Grounds, a coffee shop here in Long Branch. Mostly I play my banjo in isolation (for my own amazement), so it’s an opportunity to play for some people for a change. Old time banjo is a bit of an oddity at this open mic, as most people who come to perform play guitar and sing songs, both originals and covers of pop tunes. There was a poet last night and that was a welcome twist.
For my part, I started off by playing the Forky Deer, a tune I know pretty well – with my friend Bill playing washboard with me. For the next tune, I decided to try Banjo Tramp, a tune I like a lot but only recently learned. Note to self: don’t play a tune in public until you can play it in your sleep. I did a butcher job on this one last night. Arghh! I finished off on a higher note with another tune I’ve played for quite some time, Julianna Johnson.
There was a good crowd out last night and quite a few performers, some of the usual suspects plus some folks who haven’t performed there before. I like the friendly community atmosphere of this open mic. The people there are not judgemental (did I mention I butchered The Banjo Tramp?), and there is quite a variety of performance, including some excellent original material. There is quite a range of skill level and that seems to work out just fine.
I had a chance to play one more tune later in the evening, so I changed to Sawmill tuning and played Bonaparte’s March, one of my faves. The open mic is a monthly event. It has been on Thursdays, but may be changing to a different day in the future.