It felt good being back in Atlanta again. After so much time on the road and recently spent writing in Nashville I love the opportunity to get back to the city that has become my first American home.
A chance to drive down familiar roads, catch up with friends, and to start rehearsals for my show at The Red Clay Theatre just north of the city, in Duluth.
This was the first week of band rehearsals but preparations for the show had been going on a lot longer. For this show I wanted to push the boundaries and really see what is achievable despite being an independent artist on an independent-sized budget. I wanted the audience to feel like they had seen a big show in the intimate setting of a 250-seat theatre.
I was venturing into areas that I had never been before – designing a lighting plan, timing the set to know how much space was left in between each song, costume changes, as well as recording and filming the whole night.
Luckily I had help. Lots of help from people who I cannot thank enough, and who worked so hard putting the show together with me. I now understand why those arena shows have hundreds of people on the team!
The day of the show went by in a blur. It reminded me a bit of how on your wedding day people tell you to take a step back and enjoy the moment. There was so much going on that it was a challenge taking it all in. Because of extra time needed sound-checking for the actual show and for the recording, as well as a few issues with positioning the new grand piano and a guitar breaking, I was still on stage at 6pm, only an hour before the doors were opening.
And I still had to film backstage interviews, get dressed, go through vocal warm ups, and eat some dinner! This is so often the scene before a show though, and there was so much riding on this particular one it was hard to relax. Somehow it all got done, and I was there right on time to walk onto the stage for the first song – a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Walk The Line”.
The set list for the whole show was:
Walk The Line / Folsom Prison
Close My Eyes
Love Me For A While
Piece of My Heart
Get Me Through Tonight
The Edge of Love
It Was Meant To Be
Over The Rainbow
The Only Thing Real
To Be Loved By You
I can honestly say I learnt more from this show than probably all the others I’ve done combined, and maybe there are some things I’d change next time, but that’s what performing is all about. Learning and improving. And I can’t wait for the chance to do the next one…I’m already thinking of new ways to make it even bigger!
I’d like to say a big thanks to the team who helped bring the show to life:
Shalom Aberle – House sound, Red Clay Theatre
Eddie Owen – Owner
Zach Wetzel – Lights
Steve Sherrick – Videographer
Jolene Eyre – Wardrobe/ Styling
Lisa Stephenson – Hair styling
Scott Lowden – Photography
And to my wonderful band!
Tom “Panda” Ryan – Bass, Backing Vocals, Musical Director of the band
Jon Poole – Drums
Davis Causey – Electric Guitar
Jeff Box – Keyboards
Shannon Cochran – Acoustic/ Electric guitar
A thought for those hit by the storm…
Unfortunately the joy of the weekend was followed by Hurricane Sandy – and it was shocking to see the devastation that unfolded in towns and cities where I have enjoyed playing shows and meeting people. I hope individuals and communities who have lost possessions, homes and even loved ones, will find the strength to get through a very difficult time.