One of my most favoritest DJ’s is Dori Donoho at KLRR 101.7 in Bend, Oregon. (Along with her husband Doug.) She is a true champion of regional music with her “Homegrown” show, making sure the best of the Northwest gets heard in the High Desert.
I lucked out being friends with her, because her daughter, a fine country singer-songwriter lives down here in the Hollywood area. Her name is Lisa Pollock.
She hosts an open mic at the The Park Bar & Grill in Burbank (a town with recording studios on every block.)
I mentioned before that I plan to play a million of these things, so I can work my new stuff out, make some music friends, and book some gigs.
Dori has been trying to get Lisa and I on the same planet for ages. Meeting her for the first time was definitely not anti-climactic. In the words of Billy Joel, “She has a way about her.” Smart, lovely, funny and poised, and a quality performer, as I found out when she kicked things off at the open mic.
As a new-kid-in-town (seriously, at my age? the new kid?), I’m soaking up her aid & info which she offers in generous portions.
Last Saturday, I had a slot on the main stage at the Bend Roots Revival. I was looking forward to bringing the songs from my upcoming CD to a big Central Oregon stage.
A roots fest in Bend is a good idea. A high-desert block away from the Sisters Folk Festival, Bend is cultural enclave, teeming with outstanding musicians who’ve broken away from anxious stream of wannabeing that contaminates the larger music Biz. To name a few: Dennis McGregor, who’d give Leon Redbone a run for his money, and the whole virtuosic lineup of Empty Space Orchestra.
Mark Ransom (The Mostest), who masterminds the Festival, has the right idea, recruiting from Great Northwest, filling in the gaps with locals. Three main stages, and three side stages where smaller acts play while the main stage acts load in. So there is music going everywhere all the time.
And that turned out to be a problem. The space was too small for several stages with large sound systems and full bands. While I was performing, friends of mine Blaze & Kelly were rocking out in full funky-folk-rock glory soaring out over the festival. I could hear every lyric and savor every note. I could have played along on my stage. I don’t know if this was just an exuberant sound tech who cranked it up, or if nobody anticipated this problem in the first place.
As a professional, I rolled up my sleeves and pushed my music out with all my might. It’s part my job to enjoy myself regardless of the circumstances. (What performer doesn’t have stories about lousy venues, inhospitable stages, bad sound systems, and cold audiences?) I plainly asked the audience, “Can you hear me?” And they said yes. So I kept going.