My 500th open mic night - 30/10/18 - C J Martin
Back in late 2012, I was recording an album called ‘Me and my Martin’ and a chap who was using the same studio said I should try an ‘open mic night’. Such events had never been on my radar and I was quite happy in the recording studio and making videos for You Tube.
A bit of rehearsal later and off I went to try out these mysterious things called open mic nights. Open mic No. 2, brought me to the Six Bells on 5/02/13, after which I found myself adding the open mic scene to my music lifestyle. You meet a lot of people, hear a lot of music, some people become friends and some music you love and some you don’t, but it is an interesting world and one that should be free of ego - as an open mic is a place where you ask people to listen to you and in exchange, you listen to them. No money is exchanged, it’s a very pure way of sharing music and ideas.
Tonight was my 500th open mic night and as MC, I launched the evening with the same two songs I played at my first Bells night. ‘My mum, Alzheimer’s and the care home’ - it’ll be 7-years on 4/11 since mum died and I find it quite cathartic at this time of year giving the song an outing. ‘Life’s a race’ was my other song and completed my recreation of that night in Feb 13.
I’ve just released my latest album, ‘Journey Part 1’ and gave it a little plug - my three videos (on the home page) feature the opening 3 songs from the album. For more on my music see: www.cjmartin.info
Ok, that’s four paragraphs about me and here’s a bit about the other 11 performers who joined me for a lovely evening of music. New blood is where it’s at and we had four new faces, along with some old friends.
Mark was the first of the new faces and like me in 2013, was dipping his toe into the mysterious world of open mic nights. Playing a nylon strung guitar, he gave us a self-penned instrumental, called ‘Instrumental’ and followed that with a bit of Classical Gas’. He seemed to enjoy the experience, so will hopefully continue his open mic journey,
Clive gave me the following info on his set: ‘The path’ (my own song). This is about time moving on and the years going by and all of us trying to find the right path to the future. ‘Good year for the roses’ was written by Jerry Chestnut and sung by George Jones and Elvis Costello. This is a sad song about breaking up (not gardening). Thanks Clive, that made my life easier, perhaps I should get everyone to write a bit about their set at a future night.
Jason opened with ‘Winter time love’ by The Doors and was then joined by Lisa for Dylan’s, ‘Tonight I’ll be staying here with you’. They followed this with a song written by Jason’s dad (Gerry Lockran) called, ‘The lifeline’. Jason then exited stage right, leaving Lisa to deliver her original interpretation of the Ray Davies number, ‘Waterloo sunset’.
Manus, complete with Telecaster and mini Fender amp was mixing the musical styles with Stevie Wonder’s ‘Boogie on reggae woman’ and the Leon Russell ballad, ‘This masquerade’.
Alan and Gary had ventured over from Kent (well one of them had) for their first evening at our little club and delivered three Fairport Convention songs. Two guitars and two voices filled the room with entertaining versions of, ‘Honour and praise’, ‘Who knows were the time goes‘ and ‘Too close to the wind’.
It was lovely to see Jayne, who gave us a pretty rendition of Carole King’s, ‘You’ve got a friend’ and followed this with one of her own, ‘My mama said’.
Terry kicked off with Woody Guthrie’s, ‘Do re mi’ and closed with the Ry Cooder instrumental, ‘I think it’s going to work out fine’.
Bob was the last of our first timers, he started with a Nancy Griffiths song, ‘Gulf course highway’, which I wrote down as Golf course highway! Bob said he’d only been playing for 3-years, before finishing with a confident rendition of ‘Close to you’, about a young woman missing a lover.
Simon wanted a late slot, as Lesley (Mrs Simon) was coming along with the new family dog, an all-black number that wanted to party like it’s 1999. Complete with 12-string he opened with his self-penned ditty, ‘Halloween song’, yes, it’s that time of year. It even has a reference to a well-known open mic character named after a copying machine! Clive took control of the club tambourine on ‘A little bit of love’, dedicated to Jason, who’s rather keen on love - and we all (even me from the desk) sang along on the chorus - you could feel the love in the room.
I asked Lisa & Jayne (original Martinettes) and Jason & Simon (aspirational Martinettes) to join me for a round of ‘Toast for one’. It was great fun and brought down the curtain on number 500, a memorable night. Thanks to all the performers and audience. x
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