In 1976 a sixteen-year old R.J. Mischo saw the Muddy Waters band in action. Impressed by Muddy's confidence and ease on stage, he's been inspired ever since to perform and be confident on stage but remembering that music is supposed to be fun and pleasurable! He brought that same ease and energy to B1 last night!
R.J. did a lot of terrific performing in class last night, demonstrating his comfort and chops on the instrument, his easy way of singing and pulling lyrics out of thin air if need be, and a very strong ability to direct a band. R.J. travels extensively but never with a full band in tow - he books local musicians wherever he goes which means he has to be able to communicate with an unknown band and make things look effortless. His solutions are to start songs on his own so that band can feel the groove and jump in; hum, sing or play a bass line for them; and of course, when necessary, adapt and simplify if he finds himself working with a band that is just not going to get what he wants. He also points out that music is a conversation among the musicians on stage so he is very open to letting the other pros he's working with find their voice and make musical contributions so he doesn't exactly like to overdirect either.
He stressed repeatedly that for him, blues is about the groove. He'll even go so far as to start a groove off instrumentally with no pre-conceived idea of lyrics and he has enough in his mental file that he'll start singing based on the feel he's getting from the groove and the band. That's a pretty confident musician - Muddy would be proud of inspiring this!
There are common themes running through the pro visits we have in B1 and certainly a major one is the love of the music and commitment to listening to the archives. Know the music! We love how R.J. expressed it: "My morning ritual is a cup of coffee and I put some vinyl on."
Thanks for visiting, R.J.!
- New sessions at Old Town start next week - register now if you haven't already!
- Joe has recorded material for the Rhythm & Chording class - versions of Will the Circle Be Unbroken and Make Me a Pallet On the Floor and links to the audio are posted on YouMissedMonday on the new Rhythm & Chording tab.