After a day of freeloading on Tony's couches and destroying Tennessee in the SEC Championship game (my quarterback won the Heisman afterwards), Jon and I once again load the van for the short drive down US 75 to White Rock Coffee, this evening's venue. We're not expecting a big turnout - heck, it's Monday - but we're not really out anything, either. I like to think this is really a win-win. Right.
It's been good to have a day to catch up and do nothing. After the midnight drive to Garden City and the long haul to Dallas the next day, we were pretty van-weary. And seeing as we've got a Texas to Florida drive ahead, we're doing our best to enjoy the luxury of sleeping on a couch.
But tonight we will enjoy some coffee while rocking it as much two songwriters can, dang it. We arrive at White Rock and set up our gear, check our email again on the free wi-fi, and pray for anyone to show up. Tony and Harvey come in from class, and another couple wanders in as I'm into my second song of the set. Yep, this one's not exactly going to be a "capacity" crowd. But it's really who you are when there's three people in the crowd that can really say the most about you as an artist . I mean, everyone's a rock star when there's a crowd of people who came to see you play - there's tons of energy to feed from. But what do you do long before you reach that - will you consistently give it like those three people are the most important people in your career? Now, of course I'd rather have the former, but I'm still earning that. So tonight it's all about the latter.
I come to find out that the couple who came in actually came to see me. This is always a surprise - I tend to feel that I actually know most of my "fans" (heck, I'm related to half of them) - so it's a pleasant surprise to hear them request a song. The good fellow Dustin is from California, and apparently he heard some of my stuff on XM radio while he was living out there. He said he had been checking my website to see when I would be coming through the area. Now THAT'S a first for me.
It would have been easy to dismiss the show, and it's incredibly hard to do your best when you feel like no one cares. I'm glad that on this night, I won the battle - to find out those couple of people actually came to see me play... I'm glad I didn't waste their time. Dustin and Erin (apologies if I spelled it wrong), it was great to meet you both - I hope things continue to go well for you in Dallas.
Later on, Tony and I talked about how we define success, and how our versions of success can differ. I'd say the show was successful; I sold CDs to just about everyone in attendance, I sounded decent, and I had a good time. Of course, I could just as easily chalk it up to being a failure - I played to six people in a coffeehouse on a Monday night and have only $25 to show for it. Maybe it's like that old "glass half full/half empty" trick of perception. Sometimes it's hard to tell. My deal-breaker is always whether I feel that the time I spent actually mattered. Tonight, I'd say it did - I didn't change anyone's world (I've never done that) - but I feel like I contributed at least a little something. On a random Monday. In a coffeeshop in Dallas.
We've got one more night of freeloading at Tony's before we hit the road for Waco and turn the van towards home. It's been time well spent here in Dallas; I'll be honest though - I wouldn't mind seeing a little of that financial success for the next few shows...