Classic Mad Batter Open Mic Night
It was a night like few others tonight. The host (that’s me M.Q. Murphy) posts a thing a few hours before the start of the Mad Batter Open Mic (MBOM) and tags a bunch of players in the wild hope that some of them might find themselves with nothing better to do and will amble over to Jackson Street. Sometimes it works.
Tonight’s MBOM was a classic of sorts – we got started with Open Mic Host Emeritus Barry Tischler – Barry is largely responsible for there being an ‘open mic scene’ in Cape May – he hosted one at The Pilot House right up until there was no more Pilot House. That’s where a lot of us chopped and whittled on our songs in front of folks who (some of them) actually listened. Barry did a nice set with the host sitting on a couple of tunes – we missed the title of the first, but the second was Jimmy Buffet’s ‘A Pirate Looks At Forty’ and the third was Hank Williams’ ‘Jambalaya’
J.M. Kearns followed Barry (very fitting, in that JM co-hosted many of the Pilot House Open Mics) – starting with a Dylan Winter-themed song ‘Winterlude’ with the host on vocals and mandolin and Chris GS on pedal steel guitar. JM’s second tune was one of his own – ‘Queen Without A Crown’ with the host on guitar. For his third song JM was joined by Debra Donahue
for a song written by a Nashville friend – ‘Mr. Christmas’ with Chris GS again on pedal steel.
Les DeRose was up next – epic fail by the host for not getting titles of Les’s first two songs (with Chris GS sitting in) but her third and fourth were Carly Simon’s ‘Anticipation’ and Linda Ronstadts’s ‘Blue Bayou’ – beautifully rendered. Les appears regularly at Fins (formerly The Pilot House).
Rory and Ric followed Les – they have stopped in at the MBOM for a couple of years now as they make their way down the coast from Rhode Island to some warm place in the South (we’ve heard such places exist). Rory and Ric’s first tune was the Chuck Berry song ‘Nadine’ – Rory on keys and Ric on bass.
They rolled on into Marc Cohn’s ‘Walking In Memphis’ and a wonderful original song – we believe the title was ‘Better At It’ – a refreshing take on a birthday song.
Lara DeCosta and Gregg Carpenter were next up to the mics. They had Ernie Trionfo, Andy Vernon and Ed Dobbs along for the ride as they steamed through George Michaels’ ‘Faith’, Johnny Cash’s ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ and a really cool surprise – Patti LaBelle’s ‘Lady Marmalade’. Lara’s got an amazing set of pipes and tore that tune up. Wrecked the house there, for a bit.
Patty Blee and Ernie Trionfo were next and started out with a beautiful instrumental version of the Christmas hymn ‘Silent Night’ which got folded into a gorgeous rendition of Joni Mitchell’s ‘River’. Ernie tore up a Chuck Berry tune next – ‘Run Run Rudolf’ and the Ernie & Patty finale brought a great trio of backup singers – Debra Donahue, Les DeRose and Lara DeCosta – up to raise some hell on ‘Baby Please Come Home’. Waay good and we always feel lucky to have those two make the trip to Cape May.
Chris GS followed with another great lineup of backing musicians – Joe Schwartz on bass, Ernie Trionfo on guitar, Dylan O’Donnell on guitar and Andy Vernon on percussion.
The opening tune was ‘Gonesville’ – a Bob Weir tune – which became an extended jam and set the tone for the two tunes that followed – Chris’s own ‘Thread The Needle’ and Brandi Carlyle’s ‘Raise Hell’ with Dylan O’Donnell doing the lead vocal..
A real treat to have two (out of three) of The Bastard Sons of Captain Mey back in the house. We feel just a bit of a proprietary about those guys.
Charles Place was next with an abbreviated set (he offered in consideration of the collapsing schedule). He played his first song solo – Eric Bogle’s ‘The Band Played Waltzing Matilda’ and he was joined by Joe Schwartz, Chris GS, Dylan O’Donnell and Richard Zickerman for the (Ralph Stanley?) folk classic ‘I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow’.
Our friend Bart (Joe Gerety to his Mom) followed Charles with Chris GS, Joe Schwartz and Dylan O’Donnell sitting in for a classic rock and roll set – Dylan’s ‘Lay Lady Lay’, the Eagles song ‘Hotel California’ and The Doors’ ‘LA Woman’. Nicely done.
We closed out the evening’s festivities with Norman Draper who enlisted the assistance of Chris GS on pedal steel guitar for a real sweet set that started with Sam Baker’s ‘Waves’ – Guy Clark’s ‘Magdalene’ and a Townes Van Zandt song ‘To Live Is To Fly’ – Norman finished the evening with another Guy Clark song – ‘Dublin Blues’ with Chris GS still on pedal steel and Andy Vernon on drums.
A night that is up there in the top ten, perhaps. Thanks to all of the great players for making the MBOM such a wonderful thing – thanks to Matt and Nicole behind the bar for their hard work – thanks to the servers who put up with the crowd and to Kyle at the door for keeping the wheels on the ground. Thanks as always to Mark for being a music fan who puts it on the line all year long.
This is a guest-blog post by M.Q. Murphy host of Mad Batter Open Mic, which occurs every Sunday night all year long.