There is an organization in central New Jersey called The Folk Project. They host a number of concerts and other events each year, including an open stage on the second Friday of each month. I figured the open stage as a good way to get introduced to folks in the area (with the hope and intention to come back in about ten months or so to play one of those aforementioned concerts), so I managed to get on the schedule. It was a thoroughly fun experience. There was a lovely crowd of about 40 or so folk, who are an attentive, encouraging , listening audience.
A side word to singer/songwriter, Laura Nordstrom: consider the golden rule. Just as you would not enjoy it if people walked in on the middle of your set (or, even more to the point, walked out), next time you should think about getting seated before the musician starts his or her set, then at least staying until the musician after you has finished his or her set. You don’t want to stay all night? Fine. Still, do unto others as you would have others do unto you (and that goes double for your Dad and uncle, who should be old enough to know some basic stage etiquette).
That minor bitch aside, it was a fun night. Open stages often bring out a wide variety of talent, music, combinations of sounds, range of experience, and surprises of all sorts. But, as I mentioned before, it is a particular joy when you have such a receptive audience. It lets me know that the folk and acoustic scene in Central New Jersey is active. In fact, I could say that in this, and in various other ways, New Jersey has been something of a very pleasant surprise to Pony and me. The problem is the “reality”show, “Jersey Shore”. Anyone watching that would get a very distorted view of this state, especially if you get out further west into some of the more rural areas. The land can be very beautiful, with rolling, wooded hills and serene lakes. And folks have proved themselves downright welcoming to a couple of wanderers from Colorado.
Following the night of the open stage, the next night was a jam session/party at the home of one of the members of the Folk Project. We were invited to join in, and again, I had a great time joining in with several fine musicians as we played every kind of tune, from traditional folk, to country and rock and jazz standards, to original singer/songwriter fare. We left sometime after midnight, not necessarily tired. In fact, I felt very much energized by the whole experience.