I was getting comfortable with practicing and woodshedding material in the basement of our 1916 Foursquare in Southeast Portland. There was no looming gig dates - no official debut of the new band line-up. Besides, I was safe. No one in the band was actively working to book the band at a venue. With no goal in sight, and no pressure to get it exactly right, I relaxed. I found myself relaxing into play time with a bunch of kind hearted, playful Montana boys. My relaxation has opened new things for me. I hear more opportunities. I take a little more chances. I am finding myself in love with emoting and singing music again. I am finding the songs Jeff has written over the past few years embody my own life story. If I can capture that feeling my body knows how and what to sing.
My musical achilles heal for years has been not being able to easily hear a harmony part with another singing a lead part. Anyone who has harmonized with another human being knows the feeling of that magic. You feel the energy of the music. You feel connected to the whole band and the other singer. It sounds enriched and layered.
You feel a good harmony. When you try a harmony and sing the wrong note, you know by how it doesn't feel. In the past, once I was given a harmony part - I would have a hell of a time singing it without 1) moving into the lead part again 2) singing out of key 3) not being able to hear the part I just practiced seconds ago. The defeat felt like when I had an algebra tudor my freshman year in high school. Did I have a block? Was I making it too hard? I was smart enough to get this, right?
About 8 weeks ago, long after I quit trying, the harmony light starting turning up. Suddenly, I hear my part more often than not. I don't know what exactly changed. Space.... and the band members helping me relax without calling attention to the fact that I needed to relax? They had faith in me. They gave me space to play.
I am so entertained with my new budding ability, I found myself yesterday late afternoon sitting in my adirondack chair with my JBL speaker singing harmony after harmony on classic songs I have known for years. This one thing has made me feel so personally satisfied I can't muster the words to explain my delight.
So I have been comfortable practicing and playing for just Kashmir, our golden retriever. I knew we weren't yet pursing gigs so I was safe. Then this week, someone called Jeff for a gig July 16th at Hawthorne Theatre. And just like that I have a first gig scheduled with Thin Rail.
I didn't show it, but I was sincerely a bit freaked out. I wasn't planning for this and I am not sure I am ready. "Come see a possible train wreck" is a tagline the uptight Angela might write in her mind's eye. But then this new way of being emerges, and I am reminded I am just having a good time and this time you are invited too. Yes, anything could happen in this new space.
We would love to see you. Oh and there will be my hard earned harmonies at the gig. And now you know the real story;)