Brushing up on the old

Over the past several months, I’ve been focusing on my song writing. Between various challenges, and inspiration I’ve been really keeping busy on the creative and new side of things. I’ve also been working on ways to make my shows more entertaining. What I haven’t been doing is keeping a long repertoire of covers and older originals polished. With my gigging season kicking off in a week, it’s time to get down to business and knock off the cobwebs.

Now, I’ve only got a weekend, and a week of hectic evenings before performing a four hour show next Saturday. I could take the easy way, and just get them back to a passable level, using the same arrangement as before … but that’s not really my style. Instead, I’ve been looking at how to fill four hours for maximum impact. Which songs are going to work, and what won’t. What’s new and catchy that I’d like to learn, and how they’ll all flow together into four 50 minute sets.

As I look at this, I’m also considering what I can actually do differently to these songs, and which songs would be best left alone. New keys, tempo, styles, genre etc. With the addition of the looping pedal, I’m dividing the songs into three categories as well. Those that use the pedal for percussive backing track, those that I use so that I can play a guitar solo over a rhythm track, and those that I don’t use the pedal for at all.

Will I get through roughly 3.5 hours of music preparation in a week. Maybe. I’m not that rusty, and surprisingly, I still remember a lot of the lyrics for the songs that went over well, and I find I’m learning new material a lot more quickly than I used to. Even if I don’t get everything re-arranged, polishing some, re-arranging others, and going over the top on others while focusing on a more energetic performance will likely go over a lot better than the typical Market performance, standing at a mic stand and staring at a lyric book for four hours.

This market is small, but has led to leads for other shows with larger audiences in the past. Large or small, big payout or charity event, it’s about putting on a killer show, every time. I’m by no means an expert, but I’m coming to realize that every show matters, and going above and beyond the expected is far better than meeting expectations. Time to get back to the studio, I’ve got work to do.

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