1) Michel Rae Driscoll, a wonderful warm, country singer-songwriter, runs a Thursday open mic at the Hideaway Cafe in Newtown. There were quite a few folks I knew there. Every one was very supportive. On July 14, I only played one song. It went over way better than I had expected.
2) Chris Elliot, an accomplished singer-songwriter and guitarist with a great voice, runs Tuesday Night Open Mic, a great open mic at 59 Bank Street, in New Milford. I had more callouss by this time (July 19) so I played two songs. Everyone was so supportive. I always do better than I think I am going to. (I found out later I won the open mic gift certificate. a nice surprise)
Every time I stop playing for a while it feels like I have forgotten everything. I didn't even have callouses when I started up again in the beginning of the month. Though I feel I have forgotten, I haven't. And though I seem to dread the act of performing now, once I start, I just enjoy it so much, and I get such great comments.
In the old days, my forte as a singer-songwriter had been putting emotion and eccentric personality in the music. I used to be very comfortable and confident. I knew I had meaningful tales to share and people seemed to really get something out of it.
But in classical singing, technique is king. You are conforming to an ideal of interpretation in a long line of those that came before you and you are always being judged against this ideal.
Anyway I ended up with 15 years of singer-songwriting confidence drained out of me, by my decade in classical just by being out there and working professionally in a highly politicized arena where all participants and much of the audience is constantly judging, holding to some mythical perfection. Acoustic/Folk Open mics are different. You offer a song, sing it with heart and it is appreciated for what it is, no matter how old or odd you are.
I've gone back to my first performance art, and I'm loving it.