Search This Blog

Monday, December 1, 2014

In The Presence of Greatness

 photo IMG_2956_zps0756086d.jpg

As performers in a tourist town, one is required to play songs that are virtually all upbeat. The tourists want to dance, or wave their arms in the air back and forth. If you go into a slower number, maybe a ballad, more often than not, those in the audience will start talking amongst themselves. If you play three slow songs in a row, they’ll pay their check and leave.

I’m certain that there is a market here for a small, intimate, cozy bar that would feature songwriters who could showcase their own songs, be they any tempo they like. So far, we haven’t seen one however.Smokin' Tuna makes a good effort in this direction, albeit in their early evening shift. I had been talking to a couple of people about setting up a place like this a couple of years ago, though unfortunately apparently both of their interest waned.

This last weekend I had the honor of being the guest of world-class author William Wright at his home, here in Key West.  Bill was very gracious to have Dani and I over. We’re very good friends with Chris Robinson, who is Bill’s friend and (assistant).  It was a very nice get together indeed. Chris’ girlfriend Kirstin was in town, plus, in addition it was Chris’ birthday!

We had a wonderful time at Bill’s beautiful home, as well. I barbecued some bratwursts and Dani made potatoes. Additionally, the dinner was peppered with some great anecdotes and fascinating conversation.

After dinner Bill said he’s like to hear Dani and I play some of our songs, out by the pool. Of my songs, we played “Sometimes We Tote The Load”, a duet that will appear on the album we’re about to start working on. Before we started playing, Dani gave an insight to one side of the song, which is about lugging everything around as a musician, gig to gig.

I actually wrote the song with a double entendre, so I then gave the other of side of it, being two musicians who are involved and going in separate directions on the road, due to gigs not being in the same place, however both always yearning to be together as soon as possible.

I think it's always very special when you have the time and intimate setting that affords the luxury of explaining how a song came about.

Was I nervous? Well, here’s a man who’s written eleven critically acclaimed books. Not one, but two biographies with none other than perhaps the greatest tenor of all time, Luciano Pavarotti.

 photo IMG_2961_zpsd261c2f3.jpg
(William Wright and Pavarotti holding their first of two books together, "Pavarotti, My Own Story")

Lets just say, here was someone who would be listening to the actual lyrics and the story behind them.

This wasn’t a situation where someone in a bar will hear a hook in a song, then maybe a verse, before someone hollers in his ear about tomorrows endeavors, while handing him another cocktail in one hand and slapping him on the back with the other, then bursting out in a roaring fit of laughter. This wasn't a bar gig. This was a concert for three Bill, Kirstin, and Chris.

Yes, this was quite different. Bill was listening to every word. Additionally, Bill’s hearing is very, very keen. I realized this early on in the evening in conversation. Bill missed nothing. I knew when I played I’d have to be certain not to make any mistakes, or mumble lyrics. Here I was performing for an acclaimed author. The last thing I wanted to do was mumble incoherent words!

However, this was what, as a songwriter, I live for. I think you get the picture that this wasn’t just playing a guitar by the side of a pool while some 600 pound (275Kg) guy was doing cannonballs into the water. This was akin to being a student and having a recital in front of the Head Master. Bill, I don’t imagine, saw it that way. From start to finish Bill was easy to laugh and contributed a good amount of his own mirth to the evening. There was no pretentiousness whatsoever. Additionally, if I didn’t know who Bill was, he’d be the last person to blow his own horn. As far as I went however, I strived for my best performance.

In addition to “Sometimes We Tote The Load”, I also did “Liveaboard” and “Island Blue”, which Dani sang for me.

This was definitely a high point of the year musically for me. I considered it a great honor to play a few of my songs for Bill. On each song he was kind enough to give me his undivided attention.

Yeah, that’s an honor alright.

Thank you very much Bill.

Big thanks to Chris Robinson for putting this together!!! Thanks Chris!!

For books by William Wright, here’s a few links to Amazon:

To obtain my music:

My CD is available on iTunes, CD Baby, CD Universe, Rhapsody, and Beachfront Radio.
Search: Key West Chris

Thank you everyone!!

“Key West Chris” Rehm

No comments:

Post a Comment