- It was snowing and wet. Pretty? Oh yea. But coming down hard, and not a little cold. My lightweight jacket was keeping me protected, but I'd only been standing there for ten or fifteen minutes.
- I was standing on a Walker Avenue sidewalk with scads of Greensboro people I didn't know. Friendly, jovial people, but strangers nonetheless.
- My friends had just told me they were going home. The first group of friends had already left.
- My left contact lens had been screaming at me for a half hour, to take it out. Having planned poorly, since I didn't want to lug around a bag, I had no solution with which to even rinse my eye.
- I'd been listening to a variety of music for more than two hours which, while not altogether unpleasant, was for me, a mere lead up to the whole reason I'd changed clothes and headed out on a snowy night in the first place. Amelia's Mechanics was going to be playing. And while I'd yet to hear them play live, the recordings sound really great, and did I mention Molly McGinn? I'm going to say more about her in a minute. For now, back to that 11:30pm sidewalk in the snow with a bunch of strangers and the painful eye.
- A cop, standing a couple of yards away, was holding forth on his "years of experience with these things." He just didn't want anybody to get the wrong impression that we were going back inside for music in the next 5 music. That's all he was saying. Turns out that if you head out to hear some great live tunes and everybody who shows up is actually allowed inside, and by "everybody" I mean half of Greensboro no matter how limited the space inside the Blind Tiger, it's possible somebody will call The Fire Marshall. And just because The Moment You've Been Looking Forward To For Some Time, Especially All Day Long When You Were Fighting The Need To Stay In Your Seat And Design, So You Promise Yourself The Reward Of Going To Hear Amelia's Mechanics Play Live, has arrived... well let's just say The Fire Marshall doesn't really care how badly you want to hear the band finally sing and play, sooner rather than later, if it's all the same to anybody else. The Fire Marshall has an entirely different agenda in mind. And so that cop over there? He just wants to make sure you and all those around you just have a clear view of The Big Picture. Which is to say, you're not going to all file happily back inside in five or ten minutes like you look like you think you're about to do. He said, with all that confident authority, "The Fire Marshall is going to talk to management and write them a ticket and talk for At Least a half hour, and then some other things will happen, and If You're Lucky you'll get back inside by 12:15. And that's probably stretching it."
- Frankly I don't know this guy and I don't know if his monologue was altruistic or not, but my eye was hurting, I was cold, my friends had just left, and that snow - which I was now about to drive in - was not letting up.
My decision was to go home. Fortunately I live nearby and can see them again. And WILL see them again.
After the disappointment of not having heard the band I turned out to hear, a friend or two suggested that some might have felt the night a waste. The whole reason I'm writing this is to tell you: No. Not at all. It was not a waste. Molly McGinn has a voice and a stage presence that is unlike most people I've ever seen. As far as I'm concerned, the world is waiting for this woman. If she wants to "Go Big Time" then I am confident that's exactly what will happen for her. If her dream is just to make music for the rest of her days, and only garner roughly the number of fans she's already gathered? Then that's surely to be hers, too. And of course we're no longer just talking about Molly McGinn. Her bandmates are accomplished, versatile musicians in their own right, and I'm just starting to know a bit about their talents. The combination is remarkable.
I sound a little star struck when I talk about Molly McGinn's music, but really it's not that at all. I don't care that much about stars, at least in terms of their relative popularity. I just know what good music does for me. And when I discover someone whose talent affects me in this way, it's hard not to bring it up on occasion.
Ever since the first night I ever heard this woman sing live, several years ago, I believed her voice was as fine as, if not better than, that of anyone I have ever heard on my radio, or CD player, or iPod, or live. Really we're just talking facts here. She starts to sing and I'm enthralled, with chills, hoping it will go on and on, wondering how that sound could possibly be coming from "just an ordinary local woman's mouth."
So she's singing in a band now, called Amelia's Mechanics, and they've released a CD called "North, South" produced by the venerable Jim Avett, and "they" are Molly Miller, Molly McGinn, Kasey Horton. From what I can tell, it was meant for these women to find each other. The harmonies and the blending of the sounds of their various stringed instruments, the synergy of their respective songwriting talents - all of it has combined to create something truly magical. I'm so happy for these women, I loved hearing them sing that one little ole warm-up song, and I am very excited to go hear them again very soon.
Apparently they'll need a larger venue. Which won't be at all hard for them to find...