Hi all, I just signed up tonight. I am not sure if this forum is where I need to be long term or not. It seems quite friendly and ernest here and I really appreciate that. It also seems to have lots of beginners, which I support whole heartedly. I am always glad to be an encouragement to others. And, I am looking for peer connections since I am finally stepping out and playing with bands.
About me. I picked up the harp habit as a boy listening to an uncle who played harmonica very occasionally when he thought no one was around. In the 70s I picked up a C marine band and this guy from Texas encouraged me to learn Orange BLossom Special like Charlie McCoy did it. I got the album and I worked on it a while. But a near death experience soon after that changed the trajectory of my life for oh, 30 years of so. Never let go of my harps though, thank goodness. I did get a whole set of Golden Melodies back in the 70s before I had let it go. Picked it up here and there but mostly, not.
I lived in Austin Texas for the 80s. Music was in the water there, you couldn’t help but find it, or have it find you. I got into harmonica again at the Kerrville folk festival great TExas Harmonica blow offs once or twice. I didn’t win but it was a respectable showing for a guy who has been so stage shy.
Now I am stepping out into the spotlight again doing something I have always wanted to do, play harp in a bluegrass Gospel band. I moved out to Winchester Va last October and this is serious Bluegrass country. I started taking my GMs around to different bluegrass jams/gatherings and sure enough, I was a lot better than I remembered I was. Funny thing of it was that the better musician I played with, the better my harping got, instantly. Then I tracked down a bluegrass gospel band that plays once a month at a local church. And I joined a revival band at the same church. So now I am learning what I never had learned before, how to play in a band and that means well … learning everything; mic use, volume, playing rhythm here, counter melody there, and straight or blues when I can.
I am having a blast and I care not whether i play bluegrass or blues. My heart is on fire (you know) and like the old Duke Ellington adage goes, it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing. I love the harp because of it’s sound but also because I can play rhythm, harmony and lead all in the same song.
And I think that does it for the introduction. Oh, I also have a good sure mic (M57 I think) and an RMS amp which is OK as I just played with it at a recent gig at a community firehall gathering with the revival band. But I have not yet learned what my sound is or what amp I want for real.
I have learned that there are some really good harp players out there. And there are some folks who can play a lot of notes really fast but that have no clue how to feel into the music (so it seems to me). I know that I am good enough now to be appreciated when I play and, I know I can and I will get better.