After a seven-hour day of driving, we were a little road weary but excited to play the house concert our Montana friend, Gretchen, helped hook up for us. Gretchen’s cousin, Oak, put us in touch with Luca, who worked out a space that was in the backyard of Mya’s house. 😂 And, just like a great game of telephone, the whole thing culminated in a really special evening.
Playing in people’s homes is a uniquely special scenario. First off, there’s an immense amount of trust that must go into it. They are bringing strangers into their private space, assuming they will abide by the rules of basic human respect and kindness as well as provide them with a quality product of music and general merriment. But, what I love most about house concerts is the way we get to know people through them.
A person decorates their space in a way that makes them feel comfortable. Whether or not YOU feel comfortable isn’t really relevant. But, it’s super cool to use that space to give you clues and insight to the host. We have been invited into so many homes and have learned countless things that a person would probably never voluntarily offer outright. Our job is to pick up on that and use it to further the good vibes and listening experience of the guests.
This back yard truly did all the work for us. Mya, our hostess, had set up her backyard much like what I imagine the inside of her heart to look like. Plenty of nooks for people to sit, climbing trees, games to play, places to rest, corners to be quiet, artwork, protest signs, an archery target, wildflowers, vegetable plants, fortress to hide, archways to kiss under, tee-pees with chandeliers in them, baubles and lamps, tables for food, cushions and blankets for comfort and, at the very heart of it all, a big, beautiful fire pit. Complete with sticks and stones (not for breaking bones, mind you) ready to light as the sun went to sleep and the half moon rose high into the vast Colorado sky that had, just a few hours prior, grumbled and complained with the threat of storms, but never delivered because we threatened back with music and laughter, the fire pit brought warmth and centered the guests right in front of the makeshift stage.
As you can properly imagine, I had to take advantage of that fire for a rendition of “That Girl” that was, in my opinion, a necessity, as there were young ladies there who couldn’t be bothered to talk with their mothers or let anyone know they were paying attention to the “old people” singing…but were just intrigued enough by a rainbow mohawk to listen with half of an adolescent ear. I’ll take what I can get when the message is this important. And they DID listen. And they HEARD. And when they shared their stories with me following the show, or used their $1 they had left to purchase a sticker… I embraced them and listened, and HEARD.
That’s what Mya grew. Alongside the wildflowers and weeds in her yard, she cultivated an evening of community and growth, sharing and listening, and we were honored to be part of it.
As we left, a man played a rendition of “No Diggity” around the fire pit. As a lovely voice from a human named Nico crooned out, “You got to bag it up”, we did just that and headed out into the night. Abundant were the hugs, compliments and promises to have us back to an even bigger and better crowd. But, like the porridge of the baby bear, this gig felt “just right”, and with full hearts we drove to the home of my childhood friend, Marianne Brown for tomorrow’s adventure.