I've finally gotten around to doing one of those things I've been meaning to get around to doing - take one of the ensemble classes at the Old Town School of Folk Music. I last took classes there sometime before we moved to Durango, so it's been awhile. Those classes were just guitar and mandolin classes. The ensemble classes have always sounded interesting but intimidating, but I finally grew a pair and signed up for the Alt Country Ensemble. I went in not really knowing exactly what an ensemble class is about, but anxious to find out.
I got to the main Lincoln Ave location about 15 minutes before start of class to find my class not listed on the directory. The people at the info table pleaded ignorance and sent me to the main office. They looked me up and told me I was supposed to be at the Armitage location. I actually made pretty good time getting down there and miraculously found a very close parking space with little trouble and was only 20 minutes late. I had never been in that location before - it's very small and was pretty deserted when I got there. I found my class on the posted list, then wandered upstairs looking for it, but couldn't find it, so I came back downstairs and asked in the office. I was directed downstairs where I found my class and apologized for my tardiness and was told all I had missed was introductions, which was too bad because I would have liked to have been there for those as they are helpful in orienting oneself to a strange new situation. The teacher didn't ask my name or anything.
I found an empty seat and got my guitar out. There were 7 people including myself, 8 including the teacher. 3 guitarists (myself included), 1 banjo, and 1 guy who started on guitar then switched to bass and seemed happier there, and 1 drummer. The teacher played guitar. 2 girls (both guitarists) and a wide range of ages. There was a six pack of beer in a plastic bag in the middle of the floor. After I sat down one of the girls handed me a stapled packet of music - lyrics and chords. I flipped through and was happy to see I was familiar with every song except one (familiar in that I have heard the songs, not that I necessarily know how to play them). We quickly jumped into "I Ain't Ever Satisfied" by Steve Earle. There was a little going over of chords and rhythms, but nothing in the way of arranging Whoever wanted to sing along sang along. We went through the song twice, going back to work a part or two that was a little tricky. And that was pretty much the MO for the evening as we played 5 or 6 songs before our hour and a half was up. We also played New Madrid by Uncle Tupelo, Papa Was Rodeo by Kelly Hogan (originally by Magentic Fields), Can't Let Go by Lucinda Williams, This Flower by Kasey Chambers, and I Married Her Just Because She Looks Like You by Lyle Lovett.
It was all very low key and pretty fun. I was comfortable enough to talk and sing along a bit. I did wish I had brought my mandolin. I don't feel this class is going to stretch me much if I play guitar, whereas mandolin, which I'm horrible at and haven't played in ages, would be a stretch. Keyboard is a possibility too. I will definitely bring the mandolin next week. Our teacher said she would sign us up to perform a week from Friday at the school's once a month Friday night get together or jamboree or whatever you want to call it - I've never been to one.
Art Brut - Formed A Band