Exactly six years ago today, I made my return to the live stage after a 13-year absence at Brent Kirby's 10x3. I was scared shitless. Not only was I returning to the stage, but I was returning to the stage with just me and an acoustic guitar. I'd never before performed as a solo artist. Did I mention I was scared shitless? I remember local raconteur and music shop owner Tim Johnson sitting at the very front of the stage, with a cocktail and a mischievous grin, looking like a talent scout ready with the hook if he didn't like what he was hearing. I remember the bustle, and the laughter, and getting there way too early because I'm weird, and hate being late to anything. I remember meeting Brent Kirby in person for the first time, and instantly being just a bit calmer. Still scared shitless. But, he had a quiet confidence that let me know everything was going to be okay. He wears his kindness and his appreciation for musicians in his smile. He's a great musician, and a wonderful songwriter. But, he's an even better person.
I don't actually remember much about my time on stage. I remember following two incredibly talented performers, and thinking to myself "don't fuck this up." I remember finishing my last song to warm and gracious applause, and Brent being on stage with a hug and encouraging words. I remember instantly thinking, "I've got to do this AGAIN."
My set done, I was able to relax, and watch the next performers. I was amazed by the breadth and range of talent in our area. I remember being amazed at the attentive and supportive crowd. I remember Brent Kirby's great songs, and ownership of the stage. In all of my years of playing professionally - in bars, clubs, or outdoor festivals in front of thousands - I'd never seen a room and an event like the 10x3.
I've been honored with six appearances at the 10x3. I'm well overdue. They've been split three-apiece between Brent and Jason Patrick Meyers as hosts, MC, and show-closer. It's clear why Brent asked Jason to step-in for him. Jason is amazingly talented, and he has an old soul in that whiskey-drinkin', vegan body of his. We might have to fight, if you asked me which of the six nights was my favorite. They've all been special, and inspiring.