Image by Hugh MacLeod, Gapingvoid.com
CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
I wasn't sure I wanted to go.
Duncan Stitt, a fellow songwriter and keyboardist, had invited me to something called "Songwriters in the Round." The format: A bunch of songwriters meet somewhere—this time at somebody's house. Three get up on stage at a time, taking turns performing their original songs. You can bring a set list if you want, but to really have fun with it, you're encouraged to decide what to play on the fly, based on what the performer before you sings.
I love everything about this kind of gathering. I love hearing other people's songs, finding out what inspired those songs, and sharing my own. It's just ... I was tired. I'd come home from rehearsal, cooked a meal, and felt like I was done for the night. The best going-out option I could imagine was to see a movie with friends. The only thing I'd be required to do is sit and stare at the screen.
I was more in the mood to consume than perform.
But gatherings like this don't happen often—especially ones in which somebody else brings the keyboard—so I sucked it up and dragged myself over. And within five minutes of arriving, I forgot about ever feeling tired or antisocial. Good times were upon us.
The experience of the small group varied widely, from a guy who'd never played in public before to professional songwriters who'd successfully sold their tunes in Nashville. But everybody was interesting and friendly and good to talk to. Everybody had songs that were worth listening to.
I'm glad I went. Passive entertainment will always be there if I want it. Collaborative entertainment is better for the soul.
* * *
If you're a songwriter who lives in or around Tucson, you can get in on the next Songwriters in the Round. Go to www.meetup.com/songwriters-tucson and join the Meetup group. Don't worry if you're not an experienced performer. The guy who'd never played in public before almost didn't show up due to nerves, but afterword said this was probably the most fun he'd ever had with his clothes on.