It’s Sunday and we’re sitting in the second row of a UU Church in Danbury, CT eagerly waiting folksingers Sally Rogers and Howie Bursen to begin their show.
We met Sally over 20 years ago when Beth and I were active in the Children’s Music Network. We stayed with them at their home in Pomfret, CT when we were doing a gig in the area, so it’s great to be reunited.
Today’s concert is part of a folk series begun by another mutual friend, Nancy, so we were able to enjoy lunch before the show with Nance, her husband, Gerry, Sally, Howie and one more good friend, Barbara.
The Show and Showmanship
Howie and Sally are the two most relaxed performers I’ve ever seen. They play and sing great old and new songs which are always preceded by a story or an interesting fact about themselves or their instruments. By their own admission, “we have no schtick.” And I found it refreshing. It made me think, “Wow. It takes so much energy to be a showman. Sometimes, it’s enough to just sing a good song.”
I think that’s why I love bluegrass festivals. There are some great showmen there, but it only works (for me) if the music comes first. Elton John is a great example. He’s a fantastic player, singer and writer first. Next comes the outfits.
Anyway, the afternoon was warm and engaging. We sang along with the rest of the audience and I found that all my worries – a busy schedule, a sore back and some emotional stuff I’m dealing with – were temporarily put aside. A great concert and some old friends – a great combination.
When all was done, we took photos, hugged and even chatted about places to visit on our Southwest trip. We said our thanks to all, helped put away some tables and chairs with Gerry and Nance and promised to see one another, again.
So, now I’m sitting at Sandi and Paul’s home in Katonah, NY. We’re staying with them overnight and then doing a gig tomorrow. In this moment, I’m inspired to be myself at dinner and onstage and that feels just right. It’s really easy to relax with Paul and Sandi because they, too, aren’t “putting on an act.” They’re just…them.
Thank you Sally and Howie for reminding me that what I love most is when people are real.