Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Better Than a Piano Bar

It's that part of marriage that we women loathe: When our husbands say 'no' and we have to listen.

But honey, I pleaded, it's not like I was planning to act like some floozy with a martini in one hand and a Marlboro in the other playing sultry songs on the grand piano, while half-crocked silver foxes (a nice name for old men) ogle and harrass me. I just want to play my three-song Carole King set for people in the community.

It's a swanky neighborhood tavern, not a low-brow bar.

Besides I had a chance to win good money. Play a song to win the talent prize at the end of the evening for $100 bucks, making you eligible for the $1000 grand prize at the end of the month. Generally I don't go for this kind of thing. Especially if the local social magazine picks up the story and prints your picture with all the shallow small-town glitterati, which they typically do.

But what's wrong with that?  Really? And we could be $1100 better off?

Domestic tiff continues.

Hopes high, I had been practicing what I knew best. Carole King.

Where you Lead
Natural Woman
You've Got a Friend

(Please don't spread the word, but I have the original 1971 Tapestry songbook, complete with my maiden name written in teenage handwriting.)

As it turned out, my aspirations of being $1100 richer continued to be squelched by my husband's less than enthusiastic reaction.

"I really don't like the idea of my wife playing in a bar!"

"It's not a bar. It's more like a pub for neighborhood folks. The place is nice, with rich paneling, formal furniture, a grand piano, and beautiful equestrian and polo themed artwork on the walls. Not your run-of-the-mill joint full of drunks and pick-ups," I persisted.

No, it's a bar, He said. I'm not crazy about you hanging out at a place like that.

I had recently visited there to see a friend play and we had a great time chatting with mutual friends. Everyone was clean cut, more intelligent type than say, those that frequented the country bar "Boonies" in Royal Palm Beach or even "Gypsy Horse" in old Wellington.

Still a no from my husband. I wanted this so badly. This submitting thing was no fun at all. How could he keep me from doing what I was dying to do?  He always hears me out. But If we disagree, ultimately one person has to make the decision.

After all, anything with two heads is a monster.

So the talent contest came...



As did the potential winnings and fun of performing. I was bummed.


A few weeks later on a Saturday, Elliot my 23 year old, casually said he was playing that night at a coffee house in North Palm with some musician friends. Somehow it came up that I might be included in the line-up. I was all practiced up for the illusive piano bar gig. With he on guitar and myself on keys, we worked out our songs and that night...

My son and I sang Carole King in a cozy coffee house.

Elliot on acoustic and Allison on background vocals from the front row!

The multi-generational audience sang along. Allison, our friend threw in unexpected harmonies from the floor and echoed 'done for me' in the bridge of Natural Woman. The impromptu audience interaction made it alive and ultra cool, and though my other 19 year old son, Jesse doesn't let me use the term, I might add little hipster too. The girls texted their moms wishing they were there to share the vintage tunes.

Instead of the piano bar gig, I got a much sweeter deal:  Making music with my son in a quirky coffee house in the arts-charmed North Palm Beach. Flanked by an art gallery, it held the perfect attraction for cool visual arts- musician clientele.

Now, that moment to me was far, far

Better than a piano bar!

What mother wouldn't consider sharing a humble coffee house stage with her son, superior to playing solo even at Carnegie Hall? It was a night to remember. A highlight as a musician and a cherished memory as a mom.

And I later found out the the so-called contest money I'd missed out on could only be used at the same watering hole. I did not want to spend that much time there.

I hate to admit it,

but my husband was right...

this time! :)

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