So he said to me “I liked you better when you were miserable.”
But, wait. I’m ahead of myself…Letting the stinger out before the bee, so to speak.
Let me rewind…
I was packing up my guitar and getting the rest of my gear off the stage, when this guy walked up to me. Told me he had been a big fan since seeing me open for John Hiatt at the Avalon Theatre. Said he drove 3 hours from Annapolis for this show. I was flattered.
Since this was an album release show I asked “what do you think of the new album?”
(I was thinking of the question as more of a “how are you?” kinda thing.
The answer typically being a reflex: “I’m fine. How are you?”
No one really says how they are.
No one really says “I slept poorly last night, paid too much for lunch, and got a parking ticket.”)
I was surprised by his response:
“I liked you better when you were miserable.”
I don’t hide embarrassment easily. So I was simultaneously trying to redirect the red from my face while wrestling with mouth to keep it from saying “well, I liked you better when your voice was a mystery.”
After a long pause he explained:
He’d had a rough year. And my own misery in the form of my 2 previous, sadder albums were keeping him company in a difficult time.
While I had recovered and moved on to write about how many spiders we eat while we’re sleeping and wanting to be the calloused side of Carrie’s feet, he wasn’t quite there yet.
I get it. Whenever I bought a new CD the first thing I would do was skip to track 4 convinced it would be the best song on the album. Track 4 was usually the point where the band had played the upbeat opening track, then a couple of hopeful radio singles, and brought it down to do the more acoustic, emotional song. And what a drag it was when it wasn’t.
In the trail mix of music we all dig around for what we like.
And I’m just glad you’re listening.
This is pretty cool:
3. I’m watching the Sinatra documentary “All or Nothing at All” on Netflix. It’s him telling his story with interstitial performances of him singing favorite songs from his catalog on what was supposed to be his final concert. I prefer his voice when he was older. And I love Nancy with the Laughing Face.
4. John Hiatt was the nicest headliner I’ve ever opened for. My Favorite John Hiatt song is Crossing Muddy Water.
6. “Letting the stinger out before the bee” – I made that up. Thought it sounded good. Just like in 4th grade when I asked my best friend to call me Casanova. His mom called my mom. I regretted it. I blame this song.
Say “hey” when you can,