Playing smaller venues can bruise a musician's ego. That is IF the reason they are there is to seek validation. However, it can be very uplifting for those who play for artistic integrity and or enjoy the personal connection those intimate settings afford us.
Last night was a great example of that. I rekindled friendship with some highly creative individuals from diverse origins such as Palestine, Iraq, and even the U.S. (two fellow American songwriters) And although the audience was small and "polite," My new friends were really there for me. Not simply to hear me play. They went out of their way to connect and let me know that I was being heard. They helped me analyze the reason we do this, perform for less than enthusiastic audiences. We talked at length about how someone might be less prone haggle the price of a beautiful rug if they could witness the arthritic hands of a weaver. Felt the poet's headaches, or even empathized with the painter's heartache. I was humbled to hear how some of my songs resonated with them how they related to some of the lyrics. And how they too share in my "struggle" to strike the balance of paying the bills and artistic integrity. My friend Najwa is a painter. She said something profound. Most people relate more with their technology these days because it is less work. She asks "what fuels us?" Are we machines that need machines to communicate data and information? Because love and friendship, relationships in general, are messy! Yet rich and rewarding when reciprocated. Jim shared the sentiment that all our present work...serves as practice for future success. We connected on such a deep and personal level regardless of origin. They too enjoyed literature as youngsters, but not as an escape. It was more as a means of communication than information. Listen, it takes more feeling and thought for pen and paper to share and commit than say a keyboard to a blog. Now, I wouldn't be so glib as to negate the very forum I am using, I am merely suggesting that, there is a glamour and romance that comes with failure. Visualize: whiskey & paper wads. Callouses and tears. Applause and silence. If you too are a hopeless romantic then my friend, borrowing a quote from Bruce Springsteen, If you are rough and ready for love...then you are tougher than the rest.