Stop by the Wood ‘n’ Lips Open Mic at Frubble every Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
It was a bit of a surprise when I arrived extra early to start set-up to find the parking lot full and overflowing. It turned out that the next door was holding the funeral ceremonies for one of the . It was a very sad occasion; fortunately, by the time we started the open mic, it was over and most of the parking was available again.
The reason I had arrived early was that Greg Gross was in Julian doing sound for the Julian Fiddle Festival; Bob Setzer and I were going to be running the show by ourselves. By the time Bob arrived, I had all of the mics in place and hooked up and the speakers set up. He was able to do the tricky wiring and get us going in a timely fashion. I was proud of us; the set-up has evolved into quite a complicated system what with compressors, monitors and other numerous sound devices.
After last week’s light turnout, this week we were busting at the seams but were still able to accommodate all the performers. The crowd was in high spirits, having been greeted by a new display of artwork on the walls. Bill Lodin had done terrific pictures of several of our performers, and everyone was duly impressed. You have to drop by and check it out; photos don’t do it justice.
6:20 – Tim Woods – I kicked off a little early so we could fit everyone into the evening; my set referred to the change of the weather. With a storm in the valley, I brought John Denver’s “Back Home Again”; followed by “Mariah”; and “The Wayward Wind”.
6:30 – Tall Paul – Paul gets around town, but this was the first time he had made it to our open mic. He premiered his set with a fine rendition of Garth Brooks’ “Night Rider’s Lament”, complete with some fine yodeling. The next tune was one he frequently played when he was a river guide, “The Choice of Left or Right”; he ended with a Robert Service poem called, “The Junior God”.
6:45 – Rose Scibelli – Rose also had a yodeling song, “My Pony”; followed by Michael Martin Murphy’s “Lost River”; then a tune she heard Iris Dement & Steve Earle do together, “I’m Still in Love with You”. Rose cut her set short to allow the next person to have some time, which was appreciated; it gave our sound man, Bob Setzer, a little more time to get the threesome hooked up.
7:00 – Bob Arsenault with Les Armstrong on harmonica and John Movius on mandolin – They gave us a few traditional tunes; “The Wabash Cannonball”; “I Saw the Light”; “Home Sweet Home”; and “Mountain Dew”.
7:15 – Ray Owens – Ray had a tune he had just written, “Watching the Wheels”; then he did Neil Young’s “Southern Man”; and his version of John Lennon’s “Imagine”.
7:30 – Gregory Martin Campbell– Greg always pleases the audience; this week he did “You Belong”; Patsy Cline’s “Some Day You’ll Want Me to Want You”; and an instrumental that led into “Heartaches”, also by Cline (with some adept whistling parts); Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again”; Ricky Skaggs’ “Highway Forty Blues”; and Gerry and the Pacemakers’ “Ferry Across the Mersey”.
7:45 – Cliff Niman with Les Armstrong on electric guitar – Cliff started his set with a little poem from the sixties (name unknown); then Bob Dylan’s “Momma, You’re On My Mind”; Elizabeth Cotton’s “Freight Train”, (with a poetic intro) and his very well written original, “If You Want to Get to Heaven, You Got to Slow it Down”.
8:00 – Les Armstrong, Alton Simpson & Ray Poe – The guys make a practice of passing around the singing chores; Alton gave us Verne Gosdin’s “Dim Lights, Thick Smoke and Loud, Loud Music”; Les added Buck Owen’s “Truck Driving Man”; Ray contributed Hank Williams Jr.’s “Family Tradition”; and Les finished with a harmonica solo of “Orange Blossom Special”.
8:15 – Joanna Norman & Mark Beltran – The twosome performed for us last week; Joanna is the songwriter of the duo and Mark adds fine vocals to her vocals and guitar playing. Their voices blend exceptionally well. They used their smart phones for the lyrics on covers of Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain”; John Mayer’s “Half of My Heart”; their last song was “They’re Calling”—I didn’t catch whether it was a cover or an original.
8:30 – John Bosley – I had recently asked John to play “She Left Me with Jack” and this evening he honored that request (Thanks, John)—people always get a kick out of it. The remainder of his set were also his own tunes, including: “If Not for the Grace of God”, “In The City Tonight”, “Freedom”, and “Inertia”.
8:45 – John Movius and Tom Barbarie– John started with a solo of the Beatles’ “I Call Your Name”; after that Tom joined him for Sonny James’ “A Mile and a Quarter”; Gram Parsons’ (Harlan Howard) “Streets of Baltimore”; and George Jones’ “Choices”.
9:00 – Bob Setzer – Bob played his own “Shut the Whole World Out”; Simon and Garfunkles’ “Richard Cory”; and his recently re-named song, “Turned Me Cold”.
9:15 – Big Al – Al had the honors of closing out the evening; he chose to play Johnny Cash’s “Big River”; The Moody Blues “Nights in White Satin”; Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Tuesday’s Gone”.
What a great evening! We had some exceptional performers and everyone had a great time.
Tim Woods, Greg Gross, and the Wood ‘n’ Lips open mic crew