James McMurtry played the Visulite on Tuesday night, the 21st to help usher in summer. Promoted by MaxxMusic, this was the biggest Tuesday night crowd that I have ever seen at the Visulite. I’m kind of surprised at the support for James McMurtry but I think that this speaks well for his ability to connect with all kinds of folks through his lyrics and the solid support of his longevity as a singer songwriter.
I admire folks that can put words together in songs / verses that tell a story, pull at emotions and usually rhyme, that’s close to a quote that Todd Snider usually tells as an introduction to his music. I always imagine that the singer songwriters that I like to hear were probably the nerdy kids at school who wrote poetry in English class and little did we know but they went home and honed their guitar or piano skills and put those poems to music. James McMurtry is in this group in my minds eye. He has a very quarky way of surveying his audience and determining if they are in tune with what he is doing, or if they just don’t get it.
His set was kind of a “best of” with selections from throughout his career but weighted with more selections from “Just Us Kids” , which really seems to connect with his audience. He exercised each of the guitars that he had on stage and seemed to be enjoying his night in Charlotte. I was left to wonder if he plays the same set every night or how much he mixes it up when he is out on tour. Something to look up if I can’t sleep some night.
As we left after the show, my wife turned to me and said – I think he is related to some of my relatives… I think that is part of the draw, he paints pictures of rich characters, who unfortunately, we may be related. Hurricane Party anyone?
I had been toying with the idea of starting a website to track, attract, and enable a site for touring musicians to connect with folks with beds to spare. I figure there are a lot of folks out there like us, music lovers, who now find themselves with a house that is capable of providing overnight accommodations to a few folks on an occasional basis. BedsforBards.com is my first attempt to match up touring bands / individuals with people that want to provide touring musicians with a free place to stay.
We’ve been hosting several Americana and Bluegrass bands as they tour through the Charlotte area and have enjoyed getting to know these very talented people, connecting with young people from various places, and we’ve enjoyed some really nice picking in our living room. It is helpful that we can sleep five or six pretty easily, enjoy hosting, and have a driveway that is just barely long enough to park a tour bus or van and trailer.
We’ve made the offer of a free place to stay to several bands or individual Americana or Bluegrass musicians and while a couple of taken us up; I am pretty sure there are others that would appreciate an offer and other people that would like to host if they could make a connection. We’ve found all that have come and stayed to be down to earth folks that are so very grateful for an opportunity to stay in a home away from home. I’d like to think that we save them a little money, which they can then spend on something more important than a cheap hotel room. We provide clean beds, showers and breakfast and only ask for a thank you somewhere down the line. The late night freezer raids are usually pretty fun when the evening wears down and everyone realizes it has been hours since they had eaten. Having boys, we have a pretty good collection of late night, easy prep food in the house.
I’m not sure how this will progress, but I thank my son for setting up the basics of the webpage and kickstarting me on this endeavor. Hopefully this will provide a conduit to others that are interested in hosting and musicians that are looking for places to stay.