The Regular Gig
inwritten by Tim Duffyon November 6, 2014
Having a regular, reliable gig is something working musicians depend on to keep make ends meet. In the South, many of our artists are paid to play every Sunday in the church. No matter how late or how far away they performed on Friday and Saturday, they are getting home to play Sunday morning.
Not every musician is equally adept in both secular and gospel material, what South Carolina Blues Legend Drink Small calls, “The Hallelujah Boogaloo,” so artists not playing in the church look for weekly shows around town at small bars or restaurants to supplement their income. Eddie Tigner, at 88 years old, has been performing every Sunday at Fat Matt’s in Atlanta for over a decade. Our friend Mudcat just celebrated playing every Wednesday at The Northside Tavern for 20 years!
With the assistance from the Jazz Foundation we have helped organize monthly paid performances many MM artists. These regular gigs are special because we arrange for artists to appear for kids at schools, senior centers and other places that could not afford live music on their own.
Ironing Board Sam just started playing every Thursday* at the Hot Tin Roof in Hillsborough, NC. It takes a bit for folks to learn of the schedule, go and have a great time, then tell their friends and come back again. Soon enough, though, there are regulars, the artists have new fans, and the music keeps getting better.
On a recent trip to New Orleans I did a book signing with my dear friend Alabama Slim. I was amazed when he filled the bookstore; he introduced me to the folks as his fans. Indeed they were. They loved seeing Slim every Friday night down on Frenchman Street, and told me, “Slim sometimes plays his blues for five hours and there are just six of us there. We love him! Anywhere he has a show we will be there!”
Regular gigs not only build regular fans, they provide an artist with a stability of income that can be rare for a local musician. This is our third year partnering with the Eddy Pub in Saxapahaw, NC – they bring one of our artists out to play every first Friday. This helps us plan and ensure we can provide gigs for NC artists who need work, and we are so grateful for their steadfast support of our organization. Boo Hanks is playing there tomorrow, November 7th!
Music is a healer! Seeking out live music, in small clubs, is one of the best ways to support musicians. These performances lift spirits and incomes, helping everyone get through just a little bit easier.
*Ironing Board Sam WILL NOT play his Hot Tin Roof show on November 27th (Thanksgiving) but he WILL play Friday November 28th!