Pete's Blog

Another open-mike

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Last night I went to the Conor Byrne pub in a hipster-central neighborhood of Seattle called Ballard. I played the open-mike there, as I have a few times over the past couple of months. It's refreshing for me, partly because everybody is so young, partly because the overall talent level is reasonably high. Marcie Miller and I saw maybe eight acts while waiting for my spot. None was unlistenable, and only one was less than competent. I was probably the oldest person in the room, not that this counts for much except that in Bainbridge audiences you rarely find people in their 20s and 30s except for a few guys from the Naval base in Bremerton. Most audiences I play for around here are closer to my own demographic than I always find comfortable. Last night I liked the sense that nobody was comparing me to James Taylor. Granted, the central issue for most of the songwriters at Conor Byrne was finding and keeping a mate, a subject I feel I worked fairly thoroughly twenty years ago. Of course, from a songwriter's perspective what else is there? Even political songs or social commentary can be tinged often enough with the palpable desire to impress prospective admirers in the audience. I mention no names. Compared with the various romantic travails on offer last night my own recent work seems distinctly parental. "From the Island," "The Battle is Over," "Holding On" are all, if not actual pieces of sage advice then at least hymns to beauty from decrepitude. So sue me.

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