Life With Music

J. S. Oppenheim. Photographer’s credit: Greg Trumpower.

The evil secret about talent is that it doesn’t go away.

Even worse, this with musical talent, if you don’t practice, your technique will suffer while your ability and sense of mastery will improve, and then practice will bring back technique and performance “chops”.  If this subconscious organic process sounds good, consider the ramifications of getting better — maturing — and then not playing out!

Like it or not, talent will hang around and mature whether it’s working for you — improving your quality of life, making you happy, making other people happy — or cursing your life with its out-of-pocket expenses and physical and social demands, just because you, idiot (so I may tell myself) happen to have something you do better than 90 percent or more of those who give it a try.

So it has been turning out, one way or the other, that “I still got it” — I just haven’t been 17 years old for 40 years, and age and experience, as they should, have changed the work by way of how it feels and how I should handle it.

All in all, perhaps despite some cynicism, I am making a little money playing out, lucky to be doing it, even if closer to the end of my life than the start, and, secretly — or not so secretly — happy about it.

When I was 17, music was all I wanted to do.  Today, at 57, it takes me away from everything else I do or have been doing.

J. S. Oppenheim — Music Composition and Performance

2016 – 2012: Choir, Folksinger, and Soloist B’nai Abraham Congregation, Hagerstown, Maryland — Hebrew liturgy (by sound), Jewish folk music, works from the “Holocaust Cantata”; various bands, including The Compadres and The Breezewoods, involving musicians in the Hagerstown, Maryland area, and venues played in addition to those listed before the end of 2012 or extended from that period include Bulls & Bears Restaurant, Blues Festival (street corner ensemble), Port City Java, and Beaver Creek Country Club (open mic regular).  Out of town: Canvasback Restaurant, Cambridge, Maryland; Cambridge Schooner Rendezvous, Cambridge, Maryland.

2012:  From July to September, Monday night troubadour, The Georgia Boy Cafe at Park Circle, Hagerstown, Maryland; from November 2011 to July 2012 — Tuesday night troubadour, Georgia Boy Café, Hagerstown, Maryland: Earlier This Year: Open Mic and Music Circle Regular at Port City Java, Hagerstown (Tuesday and Thursday evenings), Desert Rose Café, Williamsport, Maryland (bi-monthly Saturday early evenings); Private Parties; Appeared with “Breezewood”, Blues Festival, Hagerstown, Maryland. (Regular “round robin” and open mic player at Port City Java, Hagerstown).

2008–Benny’s Pub, Hagerstown, Md.; Adventure Park USA, New Market, Md.

2007 —Benny’s Pub, Hagerstown, Md.; Port City Java, Hagerstown, Md.

A Shug’s Country. 1993. Produced guitar and vocal track for second 60-minute album of socially-conscious and unconsciously pastoral blues, country, folk, and rock music.

A Shug’s Delight! 1989. Album (60 minutes) with distribution split between sales and promotion.

1997-2000—Noon show, Darlington Apple Festival, Darlington, Md., 1997, ‘98, ‘99, ’00; Courtyard Troubadour, P.J.’s Restaurant, Main Street, Ellicott City, Md., August through December, 1998; Street Singer (two years running), Alexandria First Night Festival, Alexandria, Virginia; Evening Entertainer, Presbyterian Home, Washington, D.C.; February (1997): troubadour, private Valentine’s Day party, Fairfax, Va.; principle concert performer, The Boardroom, Seaford, Delaware.

1995–produced 3-minute dance composition, “Swingin’ Dada” for Alexandria Department of Recreation, Merrymaker Summer Camp, Arts Division (performance: July 14, 1995). 1994–gigging private parties as pianist with standards and show tune repertoire; continued songwriting.

1993–In September, played at Fratello’s in Gaithersburg, Md.; performed Tuesdays, July and August, at the Judge’s Bench, Ellicott City, Md.

1992–performed in October as open mike opening act (30 minutes) at E.C. Does It Café, Ellicott City, Md., and in November as a featured act (45 minutes) at Silver Spring Folk Showcase; performed over spring and summer at Songwriter’s Showcase, Westminster Inn, Maryland.

1990–Principal Male Vocalist, Alexandria Royal Fifes and Drums. Venues included Omni Shoreham, Washington Hilton.

1988-89–A Shug’s Delight! won airplay on WWDC’s Local Licks program; 1988–Led trio, The Shugs, into Washington, D.C. venues, including Galleghar’s Pub, The Royal Warrant, The Takoma Café, and Bosco’s.

1987–while on vacation in Jacksonville, Florida, played at TJ’s Oyster House (won free-seafood-dinner-for-two contest), Applejacks, and Mayport Naval Air Station.

2 Responses to Life With Music

  1. Pingback: Note to Self as Caretaker of a Vast Web Estate | Communicating Arts

  2. Hello Jim,

    Just came across your website. Hope you’re well.

    Sincerely,

    John

    John W. McGrath, Director / Producer
    The Alexandria Royal Fyfes, Drums & Trumpets International
    The Olde Seafaring Mariners

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