Trying Out: Johnny Cash (Week Forty-Two)
As has been shown before, I am not one for big crowds. I am certainly not one that enjoys noisy, crowded bars late at night. However, a friend was having a birthday. It sounded like I would know a couple people there. And I do like karaoke.
I like performing in front of crowds. (The mingling afterwards is where I stumble.) However, I have no skill at singing. Thus, karaoke is a once-in-a-while thing for me. I spread it out. After a several-year dry spell, I thought I would give it another go.
The venue itself was interesting. The karaoke part was in the back of the bar/restaurant/ eating establishment. I honestly do not know what the classification was. The first section one enters looks just like a typical diner. They have booths, linoleum floors, and tables that are easy to wipe down.
If one follows the music and the bustling, then they are led through all that to the room in the back. The area with neon lights, beer logos, and black walls. (Unlike my neighborhood establishment, this bar went out of their way to decorate. Ads pasted on the ceiling, vintage displays, and my favorite [though more restaurant-sided than bar-sided] a bookshelf full of community novels. Books! Yay! However, I was there to be sociable, not literary. That did not mean I could not inject a little history into those whippersnappers.)
If you are like me and cannot sing, I recommend Johnny Cash. (I tried Brooks and Dunn’s, “Boot Scootin Boogie” and it just was not the same.) Most of his songs have a lack of singing. I tap into my bass setting and do my best. This was especially true of the song I picked, “One Piece at a Time”.
I did not remember until I started that probably eighty percent of the song was talking. Talk talk talk. This is all well and good for me, except that I started to sing the talking part. It was a little off there for about thirty seconds. I survived. I probably should have picked a song I had heard more recently.
As I was exiting, the host made a comment that no one had performed that song before. Ugh. Come on people! Johnny Cash! Respect the classics! You do not need to cover every Adele or Taylor Swift single from the last three years. Harumph! Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Roy Rogers; these are all perfectly valid choices. I would have even settled for some Dean Martin or Ella Fitzgerald. Oh well.
There were many people that were much more talented and well-rehearsed than I was. (My friend is a drama person.) They had some very impressive offerings. Thankfully, the person after me was not one of those. They attempted, “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”.
They, like me, had not heard the song in a while. That song is all about the fast-singing of long and complex phrases. Either the man was feeling his buzz, or he did not remember the lyrics. It made for amusing people watching though.
Ah, the people-watching. There was the guy dressed in a bear costume. (Straight out of a music video?) His friend was sporting the Britney Spears/ Catholic School Girl/ Anime character -attire. As with every bar I have ever been to, there was the guy that is about twenty years older than everybody else with a majestic white beard. That guy always seems to get along with everybody. Usually they are the ones with the stories that are worth listening to.
Yet, it was impossible to hear. At a table for six, I could not hear what the person across from me was saying. I could barely understand the birthday woman next to me.
As per usual, the “attending” status that people posted was rather negotiable. Folks get sick, they get busy, work keeps them late; it happens.
I sang my song, making sure to wish her a happy birthday. I checked in with how she was doing, and I cheered when she sang. After an hour or two, I felt I had been supportive. I went home to my quiet apartment, listened to the blissful sound of not much at all, and planned my next foray.
I will have to research the lyrics, but I am pretty set on, “I’ve Been Everywhere”. Knowing me, I will have several years to learn all the places Johnny Cash went.