What we're about
This is a meetup for guitarists, fiddle, mandolin, and other acoustic instrument players , as well as singers who would like to play folk-rock, acoustic rock and acoustic blues. The meetup serves to develop and refine the skills needed for performance and for playing together with others. It also serves to help develop musical partnerships.
Each meetup has a theme: it may be an individual artist (as in Bobbapalooza, or Nothing but Neil), or it may be a movement (British Invasion) or an entire genre (Folk-Gospel). I've put together a broad range of meetup themes, and you are certain to find some that you connect with. It is a chance to explore the breadth and range of great music of our time and before.
Come to those where you you can arrange and reasonably perform music that fits the theme, and most of all that you enjoy!
This is a musician's meetup, and a great alternative to an open mic, as we can try out our arrangements with other musicians and share thoughts and ideas in the process.
The minimum skill level recommended is intermediate to advanced, with solid chord knowledge/dexterity, and good rhythmic fundamentals; intermediate level players and above are the target group. This is not a beginner's meetup- the scope and goals require a reasonable level of musicianship, adequate for leading a coherent musical arrangement on your instrument- if you choose to sing, you should have adequate ability to sing on pitch as a minimum.
The musical range will span from the acoustic songs of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Joan Baez, Rev. Gary Davis, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones,etc., to more recent folk and acoustic rock including Natalie Merchant, Iron and Wine, The Civil Wars, Alison Krause, The Milk Carton Kids, and Gillian Welch. We will also sample great old-time music of various genres.
While the technical skills needed to play these styles may seem modest, the goal will be to play with solid musicianship. An important focus is to learn how to play in a in a way that supports and enhances the sound of an arrangement- on groove, and in the pocket. This will be valuable experience in finding the rhythmic, harmonic and melodic space in which you can play to augment an arrangement. When possible I'll record sessions to allow for objective evidence of our musical growth.
We will have 2 types of sessions:
Acoustic Coffehouse: You will be provided with a microphone and amplification as you would at an acoustic coffeehouse session. You will have 1-3 songs ready at a reasonable performance level. Most sessions will be of this type- the performer will determine the extent and type of accompaniment they desire, if any. This is an opportunity to listen, and to perform. Consider this an excellent format to polish your performance skills in a friendly environment of other musicians. Try to create duos or trios when possible- but if you have a killer solo arrangement, then by all means, go for it. Please see notes above regarding musicianship and singing.
Song Circle: Is more in keeping with an acoustic jam; each person will lead a song they've selected and for which they've brought tabs/lyrics, and may be done with or without mic/amplification and others will join in per the instructions of the player. Typically, it is better even in this format to first listen and understand the arrangement of the performer, and then play in a way that supports the arrangement. We did this the first year, and it is fun but less developmentally stimulating.
While we will have both types of sessions, I do plan to move the group more towards the 'acoustic coffehouse' format to serve musicians who wish to develop their performance repertoire and skills.
I'll favor attendance by members who are musically committed, and whose performance caliber and sound makes our mix sweeter. Don't view this as pressure as much as motivation to refine your craft and to develop the ability to listen to both your instrument and those around you. We're going to fumble and fall frequently in the process- it is part of the experience.
If you're interested in just attending to see what it's all about, that's OK too- just let me know. Bring your complementary acoustic instruments as well such as mandolins, harmonicas, fiddles etc. We will also work on vocal harmonies.
This should be a great forum to motivate musical development, facilitate repertoire building, and foster development of musical friendships! If your playing improves as a result of this meetup, and you have a good time, then this group is worthwhile.
Hope to see you soon-
PS- if you RSVP for attending, please plan to come, or communicate asap and cancel RSVP if you are not planning to come. The slots are limited and this is held at a home, so your courtesy is appreciated. Membership will be revoked for not adhering to this policy.