He played banjo tunes and led the group in singing. And most of all, he radiated warmth and kindness to everyone throughout the evening. I had just been thinking about the craft involved in weaving a set together instead of just playing a bunch of songs, since I had performed on a small scale last Saturday. Joe has it down. He does enough introduction to really get the audience invested in a song (which especially helps if you play less familiar music), giving a bit of background or information as a hook, but he never talks long enough that you wonder when the song is gong to start already. (Which can be a common failing.) I feel quite comfortable in the role of dance caller talking to a room full of people, but doing a solo set is a whole different thing. Joe was perfect. The whole room was charmed.
Mr. Darcy was charmed too. We were both sad to see them go this morning, but I loved having a slow morning and breakfast out with them before they left. The thing I miss most about calling dances regularly is hanging out with the musicians, who seem to always be quality people. Joe was also kind enough to agree to jam with my local group here after the concert, in spite of being in the middle of a multi day drive. It was joyful to my house to have all of that music and laughter fill it, and I was so delighted to be able to have my friends meet and hear him.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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