One of the great musical pleasures in the Washington area is being able to sing at Bob Smith’s thrice weekly open mics (Saturday and Tuesday at the Morrison House in Alexandria and Fridays at the Serbian Crown in Great Falls).
On his blog page, there’s a regular round-up of who-sang-what at his recent open mic evenings. However, these are more than a dry recitation of names and songs, but are like terrific little radio programs. One of the highlights of each is the presentation by the host Ed Smith (Bob’s son and sound engineer) of an album.
I was tremendously honored to appear as a guest on two of the recent posts (the 6/4 post for the Serbian Crown and the 6/5 post for the Morrison House). I even got to discuss a CD — the re-issue of The Art of Mabel Mercer.
I always say that open mics like this are an invaluable “laboratory of cabaret.” If you can get a roomful of people to pause their conversations and listen to you, you know that you are on to something that can really work. (And you appreciate how much easier you have it when you’re doing a show and people have paid to come see you and actually shut up before you start to sing.)
Bob is a terrific player, knows a gajillion songs, and reads amazingly. He is usually joined by Robert Vetter, a terrific horn and guitar player. And Ed is a great sound engineer. But most importantly, the entire group make a concerted effort to make everyone who sings with them sound as good as possible. And boy, do they succeed in making singers feel and sound terrific !