I just finished up my first week of dates on my solo acoustic tour. For one thing there are a lot less people on stage. There is also a lot more room in the dressing rooms. I didn’t find myself talking to myself but I did make little tour videos of myself.
The solo dates this summer have me opening for Joan Armatrading who reminds me a bit of Tracy Chapman. The shows have been in some really big and beautiful rooms and have generally been sold out. Its always fun to play for a packed house. I’ve been playing 30 min sets which is a perfect amount of time for a solo set. It’s been a ton of fun getting back to the way that I originally wrote these songs. Just me and an acoustic guitar. The only subtle difference is that 1000 people are quietly waiting on your every word. I can’t say that I’ve been nervous at all, (you know……little ol’ me with just a guitar and a mic in the spotlight). It’s almost been the opposite. I’ve been excited for the challenge of entertaining a thousand people all by myself for a half an hour. It’s honest. It’s intimate. It’s quiet. It’s dynamic. It’s true to the essence of the songs and I’ve really been digging it. I’ve also been able to dig into the catalog of songs and dust off some tunes that the full band and I haven’t done in a while which is refreshing.
“Bottle of Love” and “Natalie” and “Don’t Do Me That Way” and “Yesterday’s News” have all made appearances into the set lists and the response has been great.
When it’s just you on stage you obviously have complete control as to what the songs are going to do. I’ve been able to steer the tempos to different zones. I’ve been able to completely stop songs in the middle of the tunes for effect. I”ve been able to sing as quietly as possible. I’ve been able to use (or not use) the microphone to really emphasize specific parts of the tunes. It’s an amazing feeling to sing to a full theater with no microphone at all. You can feel it filling the room and hitting the back walls. You can feel a real connection with the audience. There is nothing between you and them. It is a conversation.
I’ve also been playing a beautiful new acoustic guitar on this tour. Gibson Guitars has given me a Dove which is big and gorgeous. It has a dove inlay on the pick guard and wings on the bridge. It sounds huge and its really a pleasure to play such a beautiful instrument when it’s all by your lonesome.
I head back out on the road next week for some more acoustic dates. I’ll be in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Diego, San Francisco, Madison WI and St Paul, MN. I hope to see some of you out there for these intimate dates. Can’t wait.
Thanks for listening.
Talk soon, Jamie