My mentor, friend, guide, musical lover and all-around meal ticket John Munson always advises me to avoid explaining the lyrics to my songs. He thinks that by doing it you reduce the breadth of what songs can mean to people. I know he’s right. But sometimes as a musician you just have to do things to please yourself and not for the purpose of making your art more powerful to other people.
Last night John and I played a house concert in St. Paul. I didn’t succeed in my personal goals for the night, so that was disappointing. But still the show was at time amazingly fun and it reminded me of how the advent of house concerts as a mode of performance his been a revelation for me. They are my favorite kind of gig.
First of all, if you’re interested, here’s how I failed last night. I’ve been trying to learn how to sing for about 5 years and last night felt like a setback. I just wasn’t doing the things I planned to do, breathing right, taking a thoughtful of approach. We got on stage and a reverted to a frantic puppy dog with no plan, just winging it like I might have 30 years ago. Bad Matt.
But the magic of the format, and the graciousness of our hosts, made the show a joy anyway, and we all arrived at a few magic moments. House concerts are incredible because everyone is comfortable and happy – they’re mutual friends of the host. And to a person they are focused on the music, a situation performers love. Add in the close proximity between John and me and our audience the whole situation leads to a direct connection between musician and listener that can’t be equalled. I absolutely love it.
Plus people bring great food and wine.
John and I have a number of these shows on our calendar right now. But you won’t see them listed on our website because the magic is that the host can just choose who they want to invite. So if this is something you might want to try at your place, by all means check out our house concerts page and you can see precisely how the logistics work. I’m sure we’d love to play at your place, too.