2020 began with acoustic shows booked every month into December. I was able to perform until mid-March when it became clear that to continue doing indoor shows was a hazard to everyone, not just to myself. As the year progressed, I relied on outdoor events where distancing was easier, but by October, I realized that I had to stop. I have some medical issues which would make it easy for a serious bout of Covid to go sideways, and then there’d truly be no more shows.
What I didn’t know then was that the break was necessary. I’m not a big time pro. I perform locally at wineries, bars, and restaurants, but I maintain a schedule of around 50 shows a year. Once, maybe twice a week. That’s comfortable for me. But I needed a break, and it had to be forced on me or Iwould have just kept on.
While going through my songbook one day in November, two things came to light. First was that I use three different guitars in my show (a 6 string, 12 string, and a Baritone), but there was a glaring imbalance of songs for each of them. Next was the feeling that most of my older chestnuts that I play at nearly every show had lost their edge. I was bored with them, and that bothered me.
So, I began to review every one of nearly 400 songs in the book, and I examined how they could be performed on different guitars, in alternate keys or tunings, and new rhythms. I recently finished doing that and I feel a great sense of relief, but also a renewed purpose and the satisfaction of reinventing myself. I added several new tunes also. I heartily recommend this for every working musician.
~ Bill Sammon
Bill has been playing music and writing songs since the late 1970’s. He is very much looking forward to resuming local acoustic live shows in a post-vaccination world. Bill and his sweetheart Patty live in Omaha, Nebraska with a senior cat named Joy, who is spoiled rotten.
In an attempt to keep us connected as we continue to find our way through these often stressful times, some in our extended community have been sharing their experiences, lessons learned and hope as they’ve dealt with Covid, lockdown, boredom, lack of inspiration, etc. We are all looking for ways to make lemonade out of the many lemons! This column will continue on a weekly basis and postings will be released at 10 AM Pacific every Monday, so watch for them! For guidelines and submission details, please contact Julie Zipperer at firstname.lastname@example.org or Marlynn Block at email@example.com. Submissions will be posted based on approval from the Lockdown Lemonade Committee.