If it were not for it being one of the best open mic nights at the Galway in recent memory, I’d have had lots of reasons to leave the Quai des Grands Augustins feeling petit. And crappy. My Zoom Q3 ended up dead. The buttons no longer work to press record, and it happened in the middle of the open mic. Then, I decided to record the musicians with my iPhone, and a little way into the first recording – of Juba – the battery died out. So it was that I found myself without any form of recording device just as the evening was heating up into having a fabulous grande finale with an amazing singer who lives in Nashville Tennessee, and quite by chance, a group of spectators who showed up, and were also from Tennessee. The singer, it turned out, was not amazing for nothing.
The Galway does not often turn into a jam at the end of the evening, or a singalong, or a situation where Romain of All the Roads, the MC, keeps on singing on and on – in his great voice – with other members of the audience and musicians getting up to sing along with him. But this guy from Tennessee had already had a slightly extended set as he was so good and Romain asked him to do another song.
Then when Romain went up to close the show, the guy from Tennessee, known as J.P. for the somewhat French name of John Paul, got up and sang harmonies with him. Two sublime voices. I felt so helpless sitting there watching this and listening, and try to bang life into my Zoom Q3HD recorder, which has served me so well on maybe three round-the-world trips, but to no avail. All was DEAD.
It was not until today when I received an email from John Paul that I learned his full name, and wanting to write something about his nice, melodic, emotional and laid back singing I did a search on the Internet – he said last night while on stage that he had a new album coming out soon – and I found out that he was the singer for an Indie band that had some small, but not negligible success a few years ago. Called, “We the Living,” it was managed by the semi-legendary A&R, Scott Austin. And speaking of Austin, the band had played many festivals, including South by Southwest, in Austin; and won prizes and had songs selected here and there for interesting showcasing, like something to do with Levi’s if I remember correctly my morning reading….
So the answer to my question of why is this guy so good, who is this guy?, was that.
I had a great time playing last night as well, a little before the Living guy, and had a great time playing with Juba on lead guitar accompanying me. It was also the first time I successfully played my new song, “Gotta Shake Her,” and having Juba play along was just what was needed – it would have been good with drums and bass too, oh, and certainly with some harmonies from JP, ex singer of We the Living. I guess, in the end, that it was appropriate that my Zoom and my iPhone both died before the singer of We the Living took to the stage too, since the Living are now dead. But I expect John Paul Roney’s next band effort is going to be very much alive.
PS, things were so much fun at the Galway that today I completely forgot that the night started off with me going to the Tennessee Bar open mic – yes, there’s a Tennessee connection again – where the excitement REALLY began, especially with the woman – not a child, a woman – who got locked into the toilet. According to the bar employee who dismantled the door to let her out, all she had to do was to turn the lock in the other direction to the one she was trying – which would have saved her 20 minutes of terror…. 😉
PPS, thank goodness I own another Zoom Q3HD, so I will be able to take the other one immediately with me to the next open mic I attend and there will be no downtime in recording the many, many videos that make this blog so slow to download for some people with low bandwidth or little RAM.