Because of the extreme humidity lately, and because I've begun repairing and painting the porch, we've been playing in the living room - a great space, as it turns out. The combination of the music blasting out of the house and the front door being left wide open - oh yeah, along with the Irish colors flying from the porch (next to the American flag, of course) - has the effect of inviting the occasional passerby in off of Main Street (the exact effect I'm after).
The first to wander in on Saturday night was a young man named Colin who said he lives nearby and has heard us playing other nights, likes Irish music, saw that the door was open and decided to come in and check it out. After a while someone said, "Do you play?" "Well," he demurred, "I play a little guitar, but not this style." After a little coaxing, Colin ran home and fetched his instrument - a beauty - and gave us a little sample of his playing: a gorgeous, gypsy-jazz style, a style he's been studying with a teacher named Stefane Wrembel. Colin also sat in and backed us on a few tunes, and not too shabbily, I might add.
Our next visitor was a young man from Poland named Pawel (I think, and pronounced Pavel), who sat and listened for a while and after some begging on our part, sang to us in Polish. We also begged him not to leave us what seemed to be the entire contents of his pocket - $28, as it turned out - but there was no convincing him.
But the prize of the night goes to the young men who - it had become the wee hours at this point - popped their heads in the door and asked, "If you were going to bail out a friend who had been arrested, where would you go?" Apparently these lads were looking for the county jail, two blocks up the street (housed in a facility that does not look dissimilar to an ordinary New England-style house). Well, what kind of clientele would you expect at 1am, two blocks from the Gray Bar Hotel?
Anyway, we had a blast - great music, with a wonderful combination of tunes, songs, and mystery guests - and any session that goes on until 2:30am (with energy to spare) is a good one as far as I'm concerned.
On Sunday afternoon, Arnie and Emily had an opportunity to experience playing tunes on the porch - an experience that I have often described as being not quite busking and not quite playing in a pub, with the steady stream of nearby passersby - on foot, bicycle, and in cars - providing a fleeting yet largely appreciative audience.
A great couple of days - thanks, everyone.
Emily, Mike, and Arnie.
Mike, Arnie, and Susie.
Sara, by Mike
Arnie, by Mike
A future Irish musician?