Last week I dragged myself out of my lethargy and went to one of the local Open Mike nights in nearby Rothwell. My friends Stevie Jones and Mark Gill run the evening, and they very kindly let me go on first. I wasn't sure how strong my voice would be after a long lay off, so my first song may have been a bit tentative. I sang one of my old songs "Another Crazy Day", which I wrote back in 1993, in the midst of the last recession. Somehow the words seemed appropriate.
Another Crazy Day,
The TV blares its message;
Anger and despair;
Recession and dismay.
A hurting world where
No one ever seems to care.
Feeling so empty;
Starving in a world of plenty.
Another weary day;
It’s rush around and hustle bustle,
No time to stop and say
The tender word that shows
Somebody that they care.
Tears fill our eyes;
Another day in paradise.
I’m standing on a precipice;
Staring into the abyss;
Hanging on to nothingness.
There’s got to be much more than this.
The pointlessness, the hopelessness,
Can someone tell me what it is?
Another lonely day.
How many million people
Live outside my door?
They all shrink away.
Too scared to love or
Build a friendship anymore.
We’re wasting away,
Starved of the one thing that can save us
© Dave Clemo 1993
I followed that with my version of "Hurt", as sung by Johnny Cash, and finished with "When you say nothing at all". Back in the summer Nicki Gillis played the Americana Festival in Newark. We were on during the afternoon, and the main evening act was Paul Overstreet. You may not know his name, but you've heard his songs, which include "Love will build a bridge" and "When you say nothing at all". It was lovely to sit in the evening sun, listening to Paul singing to a simple guitar accompaniment.
After I finished, I went into the bar and got chatting to some people. One asked me if I fancied rehearisng for an occasional country/rockabilly/americana band? So on Thursday I was out again, this time in Desborough, where I met Chris and his bass player and drummer. It's a bit early to say if it'll work out, but I'll go back again this week. I was asked if I could sing a song, and chose the Mavericks' "There goes my heart". I've never sung it in public before, and I changed the key to suit my voice. I'm definitely NOT Raul Malo!
Friday's work was a killer. It's not the work, but the walk around the town with the post, followed by traipsing around Morrison's to get the shopping. By the time I got home I was finished.
Saturday came around, and with it came my first proper advertised concert in over a year. I was supporting my good friend Paul Wheater at a local church. Chris came with me and sorted out the PA.
The great thing about playing churches is that they tend to start two hours before secular gigs. The doors opened at seven and we started at 7.30. (We were packed up and out by ten o'clock).
I opened with "Another Crazy Day" and also included "Hurt" in my set, along with several of my own songs. They seemed to go down well, and many friends commented that my voice has changed for the better. maybe I'm taking more care of it, or maybe the enforced rest has something to do with it, I don't know, but all compliments are graciously accepted.
Paul Wheater played his customary fine set. I love his voice and Paul is never lost for something to say! It would be great if we could put together a tour some time before we get too old. (Any bookers reading this?)
We finished off with "Amazing Grace". Paul started, I took over in the middle and we finished with everyone in the audience singing acapella. All too soon it was over. We packed up the kit and I drove Chris into town, as Chris wanted to watch the Haye v Harrison fight in a local pub. Alas, the van's battery is on its last legs, and we didn't arrive until the beginning of the fourth round. Except that there wasn't a fourth round. Haye stopped his opponent in the 3rd! Ah well.
I must make the effort to get out at least once a week and play a few songs. trouble is, the nights are cold and dark, and the house is warm and cosy. I must get motivated......