snapshot-2I played the Sandpiper in Pocatello, ID with Brian Maw on New Year’s Eve, and it was a blast. But it was also different from what I expected, like I had 5 minutes to set up instead of 30, so I didn’t get a chance to plug my recording gear in.

As I cynically expected, the gig was a total blast–just the kind of thing you really want to record. Oh well. (You can hear some of the gigs we did manage to record by clicking here to see all the posts about this band.) The band on this night consisted of Brian on guitars and vocals, Eli Preston on Djembe, and me on harmonicas. We were in close quarters on the bandstand, and we made the most of it with lots of attention devoted to each other. The playing was generally inspired–you’ll just have to take my word for it. I put the harp into more roles than I ever had before with this group, like adding an electro bass line to “Force Field,” a recent club hit and one of our covers. The audience was attentive as well, which was great–at one point I changed the rhythm on the harp, and I saw people in the audience change their dancing, moving in time with the harp line. That’s something I haven’t experienced in a while, and it was cool to see.

I am playing harmonica with this band in a different way than I ever have before. I feel completely free to explore anything I can do with the harmonica, the looper, and the Digitech RP355, and I have absolute confidence in the range of sounds at my command. I know I can produce fresh, compelling sounds when I need them, and use them to make the songs we play feel utterly new to our audiences. I feel absolutely unconstrained by traditional harp styles; I can call on them when I need to without being trapped inside the roles that those sounds and styles imply. With the RP355 and my patches, I have amazing colors available to me, and I have a license to use them all.

So there you go. Great New Year’s! And looking forward to a great new year, with more great gigs with Brian Maw and more work on my solo material. Thanks for coming along for the ride, and Happy New Year to you!