The Blue Mermaid
The Blue Mermaid Island Grill in Portsmouth. Wednesday night open mic. My New Year’s Resolution, the first one one of my life, was to play out one night a week, anywhere, anyhow. I’m the only one here besides the waiter and bartender, 7:45 for an 8:00 open mic. I’m meeting my friend Liz and her husband Ryan. Having buddies at an open mic makes them a lot more fun. Slowly people start coming in, including the brothers who run the hoot, Sam (guitar and drums) and his brother Joe on bass. I sign up for the first slot. Sam and Joe start if off with a couple of tunes, good groove and brotherly harmonies. They offer to back people up, but I elect to go solo - I plug in, look out at the noisy crowd and feel a sense of calm. It couldn’t be any less pressure. I have my goals - play my songs cleanly, remember the words, relax into the process. First mistake - no clip on tuner. My guitar has somehow, of course, gotten out of tune and it’s too noisy to tune it by ear with any degree of accuracy. Oh well. I play 3 songs - “Can’t Trust the Wind”, “Tumbleweed’s At The Fair” and “Bordertown”. Can’t say I kill it, but there is applause and some attention to my originals. I then ask Sam and Joe to back me up for 2 covers, “Blister In the Sun” and “Take It Easy”. Those songs and the full sound cuts through. Joe can really play bass, and Sam lays into the drums. It’s a lot of fun. When I finish Sam says “That was sick, man!” Rick (who plays later in the night) comments that “Tumbleweed’s” is a great song and that I have a great right hand on the guitar. I give him a cd, appreciative that he lent me his ears. Paul, another player, comes over, gives me a card and thanks me for playing “Take It Easy”. It’s good to be part of a scene again, even if it’s just for a night.