One Man and His Horn: Staunton and Charlottesville

I pulled in to a coffee shop in Staunton, VA pretty early yesterday, I had a lot of catch up work to do from the day before.  As I was working and just finishing up, I started talking to a man who was there and asking my usual questions.  His name was Jack.  It turned out, he is also a musician and though he has a job, he is a part time busker too.  He has been in some of the same cities I have been in and in some cases felt the same way I felt about certain cities.  He wanted to hear me play, so we went out to the parking lot and I played him a couple of tunes.  He gave me a sentence, but he also set a scene.  I don’t remember the sentence exactly, but “sweet sorrow” was in there.  (It was a long day yesterday)  Anyway, he wanted to come down with his guitar and play with me for a short while.  He had some original tunes and he wanted to see how they would sound with a sax.  He brought me to a place downtown and he went to get his guitar.  He got back about 10 minutes later.

In that time, a man walked by and tipped me very nicely, and sat on a chair outside the cafe across the street.  When Jack got there, he got started and I joined in.  He plays very well and his songs are very good,  very much heartfelt.  After the first song, the man who tipped me, his name is Macon, he borrowed the guitar and he played one slow tune and I joined in with him.  He had a wonderful voice and I enjoyed listening to him.  Of course, I think all around, all of these tunes would have  sounded better without the saxophone. After about four songs,  Jack had to go.   It was a great experience to meet a fellow musician like that, he was a nice man who is very passionate about his music.  I don’t normally do something like that when I am working, but there was something about Jack.  I hope he does well!   Yesterday in Staunton, it was a very interactive day.  Between Jack and Macon and some students on a field trip from Richmond, I did a lot of talking and getting pictures.  It was a great afternoon, and I did pretty well!

Jack mentioned to me earlier, I might want to check out Charlottesville that night.  He mentioned a pedestrian mall that is there and it might be a good idea.  I packed up and went there.  He was right, it was a great area at the pedestrian mall and I walked around for a few minutes for a spot.  It was looking dim at first, as I really can’t play in front of a business or block foot traffic.  With a guitar it might be a little easier because of the volume factor.  I found a corner spot, that wasn’t open for business yet, but they were working inside getting to open soon.  I went in and talked to them and they said it would be fine if I played outside.  They wouldn’t be there much longer anyway.  It was about 5:15, earlier than I like to start, but it was already busy there.  I also thought I better get started early in case another busker starts in the same area and then I am back to square one.  I went back to the car and got my gear and started playing around 5:25.  It was a good thing I did that too, for two reasons.  First, I did see a couple of buskers looking for a spot shortly after I got there and second, it started dying down around 8:00.  I had planned on staying out there until 9:30 but I stopped at 8:30.  Thankfully, across the way a new place had just opened up a couple of weeks ago, that was drawing in a lot of people.  I would have liked to have gone in and checked it out, but it was a little to pricey for me.  I played for 3 hours and I found Jack’s suggestion to be a good one.  Charlottesville has a great little area there and people are very nice.  Though one man tried to tell me he dropped a $5 in there by mistake, I set him straight and he ended up giving me another dollar for the mix-up.  I told him “No worries, we’re cool”  and said thank you.  He wanted to hear Sonny Rollins, so I played “Tenor Madness”    The whole night was great and I am very thankful for the people in Charlottesville and Staunton and Jack’s suggestion.

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