Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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The Gall of them at the Galway Pub – a Great Open Mic

July 5, 2011

This sometimes happens: I go to an amaaaaaaaazing open mic, I return home armed with a battalion of superbe videos of fabulous performers and atmosphere and everything you could ever hope for…and I have about five minutes to write about it before I head off – late – to the next open mic!!! That describes tonight. I may never get a chance to play tonight at Ollie’s open mic at the Ptit Bonheur la Chance as I will arrive so late. But I absolutely HAVE to write about last night’s festival of music, especially at the Galway Pub.

I started by going to the Tennessee Bar’s open mic and saw some good and interesting musicians, and sang four of my own songs. But as usual, I was hungry for more, and left soon after for the Galway Pub, five minutes away from the Tennessee. No regrets, man. Last night after a few weeks of slightly down times at the Galway, it was an amazing open mic that attracted interesting musicians from around the world, and a very good crowd of people there to listen, celebrate and enjoy, both inside the Irish pub and on the sidewalk outside, opposite the Seine.

The big story of the night, though, was this couple I saw that appeared to have come into the orbit from another planet. I had arrived too late to see him play, but later on, the guy would go up again – and it was memorable. He was with his friend, and they were just on a weeklong trip to Paris and another weeklong trip to the UK. This was Woody Lissauer, a musician from Baltimore, and his friend. I saw Woody collecting people’s email addresses, people who had heard him. I was curious, offered my own, and learned a lot about Woody, bought his CD, and will not forget the night – especially his rendition of John Barleycorn.

I could not believe I was really hearing and seeing this guy from Baltimore play and sing this fabulous version of John Barleycorn, which was the title song of one of my favorite albums from my teenage years, “John Barleycorn Must Die,” by the band Traffic. Another of my favorite bands from that time also did it, and that was Steeleye Span. Woody recalled exactly the intro to the song by Steeleye Span. But Woody, it turns out, also mostly has a massive number of his own songs, and he sang some last night. I listened to the album today, and enjoyed it thoroughly – I was floored when suddenly I heard his version of Suzanne by Leonard Cohen, on the album in the middle of his own.

Woody has lived off music for 33 years and never held another job. He just did the open mic for fun, and it seems, to sell me the album. Worth it….

Ollie, as it turned out, showed up to play last night, and Stephen played with a bassist, and Ollie played with the bassist too, and generally it was just a wonderful celebration; now I have to run to have another!

One Comment

  1. Brad! We so enjoyed meeting you and thank you so much for this! Glad you liked Woody’s set. Please keep in touch and thank you again for all of your valuable, insightful music leads.

    Amities – Karen

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