A fun string of events last night at the Vieux Leon open mic hosted by Kim, of the Pop In open mic fame. Kim has a delivery style in presenting open mics that is all his own. He likes to make up little stories and asides and occasionally snide jokes. Last night I took him for his word when he introduced a performer named Amelia Card, from Austin, Texas. First I expressed my surprise about her in a little guffaw, as my next destination on my worldwide musical adventure of open mics and jam sessions is Austin, next week. But then Kim did his little aside, saying the Amelia was here in Paris not knowing where her next shelter for the night was coming from … so I raised my hand to indicate it could be chez moi. End of story. Well, not quite.
So Amelia goes up and plays her guitar and sings, and she is accompanied by “Tex,” the Italian steel slide guitar player, and the sound is decidedly country. Then I go up and play, and the sound is whatever it is, although I chose to sing three of my own songs and no covers, this time – doing “Except Her Heart,” “Borderline” and “Crazy Lady.” After I get out from behind the mic, Tex approaches me and comments on the beauty of my Gibson J-200, which I am using while my Seagull S6 undergoes repairs. I then join Amelia and Tex at their table in the back, and try to pick her brain for locations to play in in Austin next week. But very early in the conversation I learn to me great disappointment that she actually has a place to stay in Paris. BUT, I learn to my surprise, that she is also friends with the very same only other person I know from Austin, Ryan whom I met at the Ptit Bonheur la Chance, and who so kindly gave me the list of venues I should go to next week in Austin. In fact, I had pasted that email into my iPhone’s notes application just the day before for quick and ready reference.
So Amelia set about inspecting the list and giving me further ideas. AND, she gave me her CD of her music, called Senses. As is my habit, I listened to it this morning to accompany my morning exercises. Oh, it’s beautiful. My favorite songs, in fact, were not the real country western sounding early one or two, but especially the haunting, bluesy, retro sort of song called SongBird. Her voice is classic here, something sort of 1950s, 1960s jazzy pop, but dark, about it. And the last of the six songs also made me stop a little in the middle of my sit ups… Gaugin, it is called. It is just her singing and playing acoustic guitar. The voice is so beautiful – you can imagine the bliss of hearing it beside you when you have your head in a pillow. Well, I don’t usually gush that much, but it really is true. Give her a listen.
So, the Vieux Leon is the place where Baptiste W. Hamon had MCd the last time I went, and he will exchange sessions with Kim. But last night was the first time I have ever heard Kim do his music, or wait, no, maybe I had heard him once at Ptit Bonheur la Chance. But after being acquainted with him for something like three years in his work as MC, I had not really heard it until last night, his music. Very fluid, nice vocals, interesting copositions – and cover songs by Neil Young!
There was enough time to have a couple more performers play again, and Kim asked Amelia to play another song, and then he asked me to finish off the night. That was great, and gave me a chance to do a cover song this time – Mad World – and to ask Tex to stay up and play it with me. He did not know Mad World, he told me afterwards, but the way he played it I thought he did know it. He did a great job, and as I had hoped, the steel slide sounded perfect for the madness of that song….
From the Vieux Leon, I went off dejected without the chance to provide Amelia with a home – she didn’t need one, as I said – to the Highlander to take in the end of the evening there. I was too late to play, but I got to hear some good music, with my especial favorites of the evening being the looping guy, whoever he was, and Mary Catherine Moore, who did THREE great songs, including one of her own. I put up the video here of one of them. I didn’t want to film her doing her own song just yet, as it was the first time she performed it, I think, and I didn’t want to bother her with my camera pointing at her, as I was sitting right in front. It probably would not have bothered her, but I took the precaution….
In any case, it was an interesting night, full of surprises and discoveries – give me more….