For a number of years, I have a noticed a trend in the pace of quantity of gig opportunities around this time of year – things slow down. If I was playing for a living, I’d be scrambling for gigs, signing up students and demanding pay for my weekly column on the CBA website.
But I’m an amateur, albeit a busy one, so I have learned to cherish the respite from performances, and accomplish some things I seemed to have no time for earlier in the year. First and foremost, reconnect with family and friends – attend those winter pageants at my granddaughters’ elementary schools, wine-tasting events, Halloween parties and such.
This is also a good time to attend more jam sessions. Nothing recharges the batteries like low-pressure, high-enjoyment jamming with friends. As the weather gets cold, this often takes place in cozy rooms sitting in very comfortable chairs, and is attended by fine food and drink. What’s not to love there?
It’s also a good time to attend to the tools of the trade. A year’s worth of dragging instruments in and out of cases, and cars and trucks and hard playing takes a toll. There are dings to be addressed – sometimes real damage to be repaired. Everything needs to be cleaned and adjusted. Find (or replace) those mislaid tuners, capos and straps.
And there’s time for one more outdoor excursion to put the final touches on another great bluegrass season: the CBA Fall Campout – this year, in Lodi, California. As I write this, there are already folks there, jamming and singing and doing their utmost to wring every last drop of enjoyment out of their lawn chairs, RVs and campstoves. It’s going on through this weekend – see this link
for more details. Get yourself out there if you can!
The bluegrass music cycle is neatly analogous to the agricultural cycle that defines our lives generations ago – plant in the spring, tend the crops during the summer, harvest in the fall and hunker down in the winter. It’s an endless cycle of building, reaping and renewal. And there are opportunities for fun at every point in the circle.