April is POPPING

Things are FINALLY popping, and they are popping quick:

Popping #1: Birthday-Palooza, as we like to call it, was over the weekend. My birthday was Sunday, and for the last few years the one and only thing I’ve asked for is to sing with my band. Just so happens that my new manager’s birthday is a few days before mine; the band’s volunteer roadie is a couple of days after; Pauly’s mom’s birthday is within a couple of days of mine; our adopted sister’s birthday is the week before; and my mom’s is at the end of the month – so my birthday gig turns into Birthday-Palooza, and it is usually one of my favorite gigs of the year. This year was no exception, it was off the chain, and I’ll have a big write-up if a few days once my lovely Lady Fair gets done going through all of her photos of the festivities.

Sarah Jo Marrs

The amazing Sarah Jo Marrs

Popping #2: A few weeks ago, I went out to one of my little brother’s gigs, a Sunday show in the early afternoon at a wonderful bar named Tavern on Main Street. As per usual, Kelly’s band Rock Theory was phenomenal – not as per usual, they had a special guest singer join them for a few songs, the very talented Sarah Jo Marrs.

I met Sarah Jo briefly about four years ago – Kelly’s then band was playing out in Sachse, and I’d been asked to come out and sing “Oh, Pretty Woman,” the one song the band had learned strictly for me. I’d been with my new band just a few weeks, so I happily snagged up Paul and his lovely bride, Margaret, and the Lady Fair and I went out to Monkey’s Pub n Grub for some cold beer and rock n roll. I sang my song early, got a huge round of applause, went back to my beer pumped up and ready to take on the world; a couple of songs later, and Sarah Jo joined Kelly’s crew on stage, plugged in her electric acoustic, and started belting out “Me and Bobby McGee” like there was no tomorrow. When she was done, my first thought was: “Oh my God – I must sing with this girl!” Which was quickly replaced with by my second thought: “Oh my God – I’m not good enough to sing with this girl!” And truth be told, I wasn’t – where I was just under the line between Gifted Amateur and True Professional, Sarah Jo was strictly over the top in the Pro realm. I got her name, friended her on MySpace, kept track of her gigs, and then proceeded to get to work with my new band learning how to perform. Then one day, Sarah Jo just kind of fell off the radar – when she popped back up at Rock Theory’s gig, I hadn’t seen her in years.

Sarah Jo sang with the band, I sang with the band, Sarah Jo and I together sang with the band – it was glorious. When she, Rock and I sang the harmony on “The Weight” and our voices completed the chord, we looked at each other and grinned like school kids playing hooky – I could tell that shiver that ran done my spine had run down hers, as well. In my best creepy stalker fashion, I cornered Sarah Jo and told her in no uncertain terms she was incredible, she had to get back to performing regularly, and I would consider it an amazing honor if she’d sing a duet with me – my heart did cartwheels when she said “Yes.” So sometime in the near future, I hope to report my singing crush and I are slaying audiences with some Lady Antebellum and Kid Rock/Sheryl Crow – just got to see which band is behind us.

Popping #3: If you haven’t done so, check out Amanda Palmer’s TED talk “The Art of Asking,” it is simply amazing, if for no other reason than the discussions it has generated. I fall firmly in the AFP camp – I got what she was trying to convey, felt it in my bones, and was inspired to action: I want to sing, I want to sing more often than my band now performs, I need some kind of accompaniment if I’m to perform without my band, trying to accompany myself is going to take months (if not years) of practicing, but I want to sing NOW. So I did what Amanda suggested: I swallowed down my anxiety, screwed up my courage, and I asked my friend David Fox if he’d consider doing a two-man show with me – David said “Yes” so fast, it stunned and humbled me. So David and I are now partners, and we’re doing our first show this weekend at the Landon Winery and Bistro in Greenville, TX, about 45 minutes East of Dallas. David and I both love ballads, harmonizing, and singing back-up, so I’m expecting amazing things from this show – if nothing else, it will be a lot of fun just getting the chance to sing some of the tunes that just wouldn’t work with my band. I’m also hoping this leads to more work for David and I – I’d love to do some hotel and corporate work.

Keith Craker and David Fox at Landon Winery & Bistro

Keith and David kicking out the slow jams…

Since I’m now officially working with David, I’m hoping if my band can’t get the songs worked up for Sarah Jo and I, maybe David’s band can. Or both bands – that would be awesome.

Popping #4: The mighty East Texas Garage Band is appearing at the Buzzards Roost Run for Homeless Veterans out in Marietta TX April 20th. Half of my crew are bikers and most of my crew are veterans: anything we can do to help our own, we’re there. That’s how I like to roll – I’m proud that’s how my band likes to roll. Way looking forward to this gig, I’m pretty sure we the feature entertainment that Saturday night.

Sarah Jo, David, Birthday-Palooza, my first sans-band gig, and a biker benefit – I am a very happy wannabe rock star!

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