repertoire

When we play tonight at Lighthouse (9:00 – Midnight, 21+, $5 cover), we’ll roll out half a dozen new songs. It’s a solid mix of good stuff, ranging from hard-hitting to laidback, jazz standards to flipped-upside-down remakes to a kind of driving grunge backed with a jazz organ.

But it isn’t the variety that is remarkable to me. It’s that we keep adding stuff, and we don’t seem to back away from things that are going to be difficult, either conceptually or technically. I was just going over a line of changes in one of our jazz standards that turns my fingers inside-out, it seems, and the vocals are no easier. It makes me wonder why we do this to ourselves.

I guess, probably, because it’s fun. And, also, I guess, because when we play at your wedding you probably don’t want us to just play 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover and Mad World.

When we played our first gigs, we had about 90 minutes worth of material if we stretched out intros and added a few interludes. Working up to two- and then three-hour sets was essential to play late into the night and to have a range of things we could turn to for any given moment. Now, I’m confident that we have five or six hours of music. Creating a set list is harder because we have to make decisions. That also means that we cycle stuff in and out, go back to old stuff to keep it fresh while at the same time learning the new things that we’re adding to the overstuffed binder. I panic a little when I see something I haven’t played in a few months; and then I’m impressed when we just pick it up again.

This is all to say that there will always be something new, maybe cycling through in place of your favorite. Just let us know and we’ll rotate it back in. Come join us, tonight or another time, and see how much the catalog has grown — and if I really learned that one impossible line of chord changes.

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