Over the years, especially after performing regularly at St Petersburg Saturday Morning Market which is one the country's biggest farmers markets, I have learned that I love performing at markets. This past Saturday in Pineville was no different. Lynn and I arrived at 7:30 to get setup to perform at 9:00. That's 9:00am for my music buddies who are used to starting their sets at the other 9:00 time. :-) Like all outdoor shows this time of year, it was hot... I mean HOT! But my trusty big blue fan kept me cool enough to do the 3-hour show and enjoy performing. I thought I did a great show and I'm my worst critic but later that day I received an email that confirmed that they thought the same thing. Here's the email:
We have been fortunate and had some very good musicians perform at our farmers market this year, however, you may be the best we've had the honor to host. You put on a great show this morning. I wish more people had been there to hear you, but like a true pro you put on a standout performance. We will definitely have you back and hopefully to a larger audience. Again, thanks for coming and look forward to seeing you again.
You meet the nicest people at markets, well almost anytime I perform, but especially at markets. From my stage I could see the side street and smiled at the fact that many folks made several trips around the block to listen, even one red truck just blocked traffic for several red light sequences. Business owners on the block brought chairs out in front of their stores and just sat there and listened. And then there were the market visitors. It got busy around 10:00 and they were very complimentary and kind. Many vendors told me that it was their biggest day yet and that some folks came around 2 or 3 times while they were listening. Always good to hear that my music keeps folks interested and engaged instead of driving them away.
So if you've read down this far you're either family or a real fan, which means you're also family and I thank you. On a personal note, I had been off for 2 weeks to visit friends in Canada prior to this show. That's the first time I haven't picked up a guitar for that long in probably 40 years. I thought I'd be itching to get back to it but I was shocked that thoughts of retiring from the tiring grind of making a living as a solo musician and just enjoying my days that I have left. Lynn and I have talked a lot about it lately. I know the day that I'll do that is quickly approaching and until this performance I thought it was just around the bend. I'm not saying it won't happen soon, but shows and audiences and love of my music that I felt this weekend will likely keep me performing for a few more years. This thing that I do is a physical thing. It hurts an old body everytime I do it. It's hard work and leaves me tired and drained. But the rewards of having folks love one of my songs, buy my music and applaud after every song at venues that are not concert venues... well that's enough joy to be OK about the strain I apply to my legs and hips each show. Don't get me wrong, it's not a freaking marathon but it is much harder than just standing there strumming and singing. I've built up a stamina level by performing so much, but the 2 weeks off was an awakening this weekend. I love what I do or I wouldn't be doing it, but at some point there will come a time when I just enjoy listening to good musicians... well maybe it will come. :-). Until then I'm going to keep pounding on these drums and singing my heart out to anyone who will listen and smile.