Generally I’m not big on sitting in with a band, or going to jam nights. Even though I guess I can hold my own when it comes to playing, I’ve never felt like I’m good enough to just randomly jump in.
However, there are exceptions. Last weekend I had a chance to go see Thomas Reed Smith (a.k.a. TRS) do an acoustic show at Rider’s Inn in Painesville Ohio. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to see TRS play – for a few years he wasn’t playing, or I had gigs when he was.
Tom and I have been working on music together since 1999 when I produced his debut album “I Need A Change“. It was my first attempt at producing for someone else, and was a real learning experience. Tom’s band for that record was comprised of what was left of the Foonspeeders: me, Mike, and our old drummer Scott Haumesser.
In addition to doing the recording for the record, we also promoted the album by playing a considerable number of gigs. We called them “iron band” gigs because we would do an hour of TRS music, then a couple hours of Foonspeeder music. As a result, we knew the TRS songs well.
We started work on Tom’s follow up record in 2002, but as a result of the same forces that kept our own “Funk Out With Your Junk Out” album from completion until 2008, it has lingered unfinished (I am on a mission to make sure it is finished this year).
In late 2008, Mike and I got together with Tom and ran through some songs in an acoustic rehearsal. It was stunning: we played these songs like it had been yesterday.
So when Tom offered me the chance to sit in on “Go Now”, which was the very first tune we worked on for his 1999 record, I was thrilled to join him. Somehow there’s nothing like the feeling I get when playing music that’s so familiar, and to share the playing with someone else (not to mention the people that were there to listen) is a true joy.