On Cinco de Mayo, I made my debut in Tucson. I had never performed here before!? My folks retired here eighteen years ago, and we just moved here full time…so it was about time.
Well, actually, Friday was my premier. I sang for the Sunrise Drive Elementary School 5th grade class. I love kids. (Most of them, anyway.) I told them about singing the National Anthem at Fenway, and we all sang it for Boston. And the kids sent good wishes from Tucson. They were very sweet.
Then I taught a songwriting segment. The great thing about songwriting is there are no wrong answers. You can write what you want. Some people may not like it, (and it may suck), but you are the ruler of your universe on paper. You are free as a bird to express yourself.
I think the kids enjoyed not having the pressure of risking doing something incorrectly.
They were adorable and willing.
SO, last weekend was the “Tucson Folk Festival”. I performed on Sunday. Saturday, Scott and I went to check out the scene. We were sitting in this very cool venue at “The Old Town Artisans.”
It is located on the site of El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson, the fort built by the Spanish in 1775 to stake claim to the northern frontier of New Spain. And it is wicked groovy! If you visit Tucson, it is a must, with a couple of restaurants, bars and shops inside. One is called “The Cantina,” which not by coincidence, is the name of my new “risky” song.
We were watching these folk singers. Then a woman came up to the stage, dressed in one of those cool African hippy type shirts, and made an announcement. She said, “Make sure you don’t take your beers outside.” You will have your license taken away if you are caught by the police. It is illegal.
I thought to myself, and then blurted this out in the crowd. “You can carry a gun, but you can’t carry a beer?!!?” And then I got inspired to write el songo.
On our way out, we bumped into a couple of musicians we saw play. They were great! “Puca” A duo with Dave and Claire. I dug their playing so much that I asked if they wanted to sit in on a couple of songs with me. Then I asked them, is it really true that you can carry a gun around the streets, but not a beer?
They started chuckling at this absurd law, and confirmed. Dave then said, “You can shoot the beer, though.”
That night I was all excited to write my new song. I had not been inspired for a while. Once you see the story, it’s easy to write.
Scott was reluctant. He said, you might not want to sing something about guns here. You may lose your crowd. And risk potential popularity.
Fuck that! I’m writing it. It’s what I feel. And I know at least half of Tucson probably feels the same way. I’m gonna do it!
Sunday morning I put my words to music. And there were a lot of words, as usual, and I had to once again, cram them into a blender to fit them in the measures. But if delivered correctly, it works. If I stutter, I’ll trip.
No pressure. It’s just my first show ever in Tucson. On the radio, no less. There was no way I could memorize it with my 53 year old brain.
I had Claire, the awesome Celtic drummer hold my lyrics. And Dave sat in on mandolin. I made my disclaimer announcement, before I began the song…
“I’m going to screw this up for sure, cuz it’s new. But, I’m goin’ for it. I hope you don’t shoot me! Here goes…
I had a couple of good friends come to video tape with professional equipment. There are 4 stages at this event. I was on the main stage. Unfortunately, they set up on a different one. So I did not have the video and I was bummed. I wanted to watch my new baby being born!
An hour later, I found this posted to my facebook page!! The quality sucks, right into the sun, but it was better than nothing, and a pleasant surprise. Thank you Heidi Jordan! Unfortunately, my speaking intro was not on tape…but it is on the radio broadcast.
Okay. The word Cockatillo that came out in the bridge – was supposed to be ocotillo, which is a beautiful cactus here. But I tripped over my tongue.
This week I went into “Wave Lab Studio,” in Tucson and started cutting the tune for my next album. I am bringing in kick ass Mariachis. It’s going to be FUCKING AWESOME! YEEEEHAH!
Well, I hope you come visit our new Artisan town! Maybe you can make the Folk Fest next year. I had a blast, and thank them for having me. It’s a dangerous world. Thank goodness Arizona has taken precautions and those 5th graders won’t get any beer spilled on them if their out on the street.