Friday, 26 December 2014

Cold Feet - Washboard Edition

A while back, while discussing boyfriends and dating, my sister proclaimed that I make the perfect 'band girlfriend'. We laughed and I cheerfully agreed with her because it is partially true.

I say partially true because it doesn't only apply to the people I date, it extends to my friends. There have been numerous times that I have either come early or stayed behind at a Blue Morris band rehearsal just because I like hearing them play and work out the kinks. Also, come on....we all know I would die happy if I could just listen to Red Heartbreaker sing all day.

I have dated more than a few musicians in my life and been interested in many men who play some kind of instrument, but more than just liking the person that the guitar is attached to and wanting to take interest in their playing I think I just really love seeing how music and songs are created and fine tuned. Where as my sister would go insane if she had to date a musician (she has told me this on numerous occasions) I don't ever seem to tire of it.

So it's been interesting dating my trusty sidekick, aka: Arnt Arntzen, who is the only professional musician I have ever dated. All the other men I've dated were only doing it as hobbies or, not to sound like a bitch, but playing at it because it made them seem artistic and soulful and it's a good way to pick up chicks.

Arnt is a full time musician and pays his half of our rent and all the food bills through musical work, which has been very interesting for me to witness. Not only do I now have a better understanding as to how a song is created but I have also seen how a whole album is created, produced and then sold. I know more of the nitty gritty details that one would never think to ask, and while I enjoy seeing these aspects I still mostly enjoy watching him create a song out of thin air. Or in some cases, some random joke that we came up with on my couch while we were goofing off.

Now it is safe to say that Arnt sticks out above a lot of the other musicians I've dated, but not just because he's a professional. He sticks out because out of all the men I've been with he is the first to ever ask and then encourage me to join in with him.

I once told him that I've had a lot of guys play music at me, but never any that wanted to play music with me.
And that is something very very special to me.

Because I love music, I really do. I love being able to move my body and perform to it, to help express an emotion or story through dance but I have also always wanted to be able to be a part of bringing it to life.

And so I started playing washboard.

Dorky I know but there are a few aspects to it that I fell in love with, first and probably the strongest aspect is that it's simple enough that it's not intimidating yet once you get good enough you can develop a lot of style and energy with it. Another bonus is that it's not a super heavy instrument that you have to lug around with you.

I hadn't been playing that long when Arnt decided that I should play outside my apartment and our little jam sessions, he wanted me to try and expand a little more and work on my musical cold feet. Which he did very gently.

By you know.....throwing me up on stage with him during his cd release party for one song.

I was terrified.
Yet excited.
Yet terrified.

Which is strange to think right? I'm on stage all the time, usually wearing next to nothing and loving every second of it! But this? THIS?!
So. Fucking. Terrified.

I did get through it however and apparently I sounded decent enough, but more importantly when asked if I had enjoyed it all I could do was grin.

I have now done a few more gigs on washboard and slowly my confidence is growing with it, there's still tons for me to learn but I'm feeling comfortable enough to either guess at which pattern and rhythm I should be playing or to ask someone to tap it out for me. I'm even starting to add a few bits of my own style in there.
I still refuse to do any solos though, but again, I think that will just take a bit more time.

I leave you with a few of my favourite inspirational washboard clips:



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