Did you ever have one of those moments when you get in your car and arrive at your destination with no recollection of how you got there. I know I have and sometimes I wonder how I got where I am today in my career as a nurse and as a musician. My music career although off and on started when I was the ripe old age of 13. Mostly playing in garage bands with the occasional gig and then giving it all up for marriage and a stab at the straight life (that's musician talk for taking a real job). Then in my mid 20s while living in southern California I met a musical husband and wife team that I started jamming with. Neil and Robin Fogel, I know I got their given names correct. Both encouraged me to continue playing and in fact it was with their encouragement that I auditioned and entered The Musician's Institute in Hollywood Ca. in 1981.
After earning a performance degree at MI, I started working in a local music store called the Sound Pad and gigging weekends. A year later I had 2 daughters and found myself returning to my home town, Nashua. After several years of working night and day to build a music career, I threw in the towel and found myself in nursing school. O.K. are you still with me. A year after graduating and starting work as a nurse I made friends with a drummer at my church, Billy, who invited to join his blues band. Fast forward 12 years, 2 CDs a name change to Baza, relatively regular gigging and the addition of a harmonica player.
Enter, Geof Goodell on harmonica. Geof and I became friends and found that outside of the band we enjoyed playing as a duo acoustically. We started picking up gigs for our duo version of Baza and we were off and running.
Geof is a Nashua transplant from Lewiston/Auburn ME. With a somewhat more scattered musical adventure, not officially declaring himself a musician. Geof is married with children and like myself works a "straight job." In the early days of our performances together Geof was somewhat quiet and maybe slightly shy on stage, but he kept at it and I would say he enjoys our forays in front of live audiences these days. Now, not only playing harp, but singing and communicating with the audience in his own amiable and humorous way. A true compliment to yours truly.
So that brings us to Memphis. A little more than a year ago, May 2016, we threw our hats into the ring and entered the Granite State Blues Challenge. A musical contest for statewide blues musicians with a chance to strut there stuff and if they win, go to Memphis, TN to compete in the International Blues Challenge. And, you guessed it, this is the "big mama" of blues competitions with players from as far away as Australia and of course every state in our country that hosts a blues society, coming together to play, share their talents, make new friends and yes "strut there stuff."
That first year we didn't win, bummer. But we came back this year, May 2017 and you guessed it, Baza is going to Memphis. This was not one of those rides where you arrive and can't remember how you got here. No in fact, we listened to the critiques of the judges at that first competition and worked on our sound, performance and stage presence. We gigged, we talked and we listened to each other and, it paid off. So here we go, two friends/musicians in our ripe young 60s, heading south in Jan 2018 to Memphis for what we suspect will be something to remember.
Maybe you can join us, but if not, just wish us well. Oh yes, we're driving and I suspect, we will remember the ride.