Open Mic, January 28, 2016
Songs, Recitals, and a Poem
“I can already tell this is going to be a great night,” said jazz guitarist and host Ron Hackett as he opened the show to a room already filled with people. “Normally people trickle in during the first half hour, but not tonight.” Hackett performed three instrumentals for his first set: “All the Things You Are” by Jerome Kern, “Petite Waltz” by Joe Heyne, and “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” by Duke Ellington.
Ron yielded the stage to singer and guitarist RD Hall who covered three songs with Casey Massey playing lead guitar. Their set included “Clayton Delaney” by Tom T. Hall, “Peaceful Easy Feeling” by the Eagles, and “House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals.
Barbara Smith came to the microphone to read a poem she had written for her friend Gloria many years ago. “We have always supported all types of performing arts at this show,” said Hackett. “We encourage everyone with a desire to share their performing art to join us.”
Singer and songwriter Butch Hendrix took the stage next and sang a cover of “The Way I Am” before singing two original tunes, “Back to Strangers Again,” and “She’s Just Waiting Tables.” Rose Pyatt, a regular performer at our shows and an audience favorite, came next to perform a cover of “18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses” by Kathy Mattea before singing two of her original songs, “Somebody’s Baby” and “Can I Praise You from Here.”
Elliott from Petersburg, who doesn’t want us to use his last name, arrived just in time to be part of the first round. Elliott always brings a bit of laughter to the show, and he didn’t disappoint us last night. He started with “Oh How He Lied,” a song sung from the feminine perspective. He followed that with “The Tellin’ Takes Me Home,” a ballad by "Golden Voice of the Great Southwest," Bruce Duncan "Utah" Phillip. He finished his first set with a song that asks, “Does your chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight.”
Gary Tipper also arrived late, but just in time for the first round. He covered three songs: “Ohio,” “Son of a Son of a Sailor” by Jimmy Buffett, and “Last Dance with Mary Jane” by Tom Petty. Co-host Robert Foster closed out the first round with “Taxi” by Harry Chapin, “Snowblind Friend” by Hoyt Axton and Stephenwolf, and “Grandpa was a Carpenter” by John Prine.
With time still left for the evening, Hackett kicked off an encore round playing a country set on the acoustic guitar. He started with “Windy and Warm,” a well-known finger picked guitar instrumental, and “Mr. Bojangles” by Jerry Jeff Walker. He finished with a tune called the “Spanish Fandango” played in Hawaiian slack key.
Hendrix returned for an encore and played “Sticks and Stones,” “I Always Go Home for Desert,” and “Poison Red Berries.” Donna Wright, a newcomer who first joined us last week, followed Hendrix. Wright usually plays piano, and she’s a bit rusty on the guitar, so she chose to recite the lyrics of two songs she had written about her life. “Grandpa” is a song about surviving an abusive step father, and “The Gift” is a song about the loss of a loved one whose organs were donated to save five other lives.
Elliott livened up the room with more of his humorous songs. “I’m My Own Grandpa” is a song about how remarriage can create some interesting relationships. He followed that with “Honolulu Bay,” a song about the ukulele lady. He finished with an old standard, “Goodnight Irene, Goodnight.”
Tipper’s encore covered Buffett’s “The Captain and the Kid,” America’s “Ventura Highway,” and Neil Young’s “Old Man.” Foster closed the encore round and the show for the evening with “Sam Stone” and “Paradise” by Prine, and “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” by Darrell Scott. Responding to a request for a John Denver song, Foster played “West Virginia.”
“We really enjoy hosting these shows,” said Foster. “The response we get from the audience and the performers and the support we get from the community makes it all worth all the work that goes into hosting a show like this,” said Hackett.
Photos courtesy of Ron Hackett
Hall and Massey
Elliott from Petersburg