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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Playing original music on the Topless Burrito Bar radio show

By Ted Slowik

Writers and performers play their share of gigs in bars, clubs and other places where there's a lot of chatter going on during the music, so opportunities to perform for a rapt audience of listeners are cherished and special.

Yesterday I performed on an hourlong weekly radio program, the Topless Burrito Bar. There are several hosts, including Travis the Healer and BJ the DJ. Every other week they take a break from spinning vinyl and invite an artist to perform live from their studio in Charlie Champene's house. The show is aired live on an FM station in Hudson Valley, New York and over the Internet on Party934, a freeform radio initiative.

Friends Alex Hoffer and Scott McNeil previously performed on the show, and I was excited for the invitation. While planning for the show, I considered ways to get other musicians involved and help with solos. We talked about it during band rehearsals and decided it would be pretty crowded to squeeze a full band onto the show. So Ron the drummer stayed home but Bluesonic bandmates Greg Toombs and Matthew Law joined me for the show on guitar and keyboards.

It was great fun talking with the guys, answering questions that listeners texted and playing songs. I played nine originals, the first three by myself and then six with Greg and Matthew. Eric Totherow's sound on the acoustic numbers is awesome! You can download the full April 6, 2013 Topless Burrito Bar show from Party934's Podcasts page, and I pulled out one song from the show and uploaded it to my SoundCloud page.

I really appreciate opportunities to play original music when people are listening closely. Yeah, it's a bit more intense and that can make you a little nervous, but you've just gotta relax and then it's fine. Part of the fun in playing with a band is the comfort of knowing you're not under a microscope as much and there's far less pressure than as a solo performer.

The rewards of doing the show were immense. It was a lot of fun, a great way to spend time with friends and it's cool to have the first quality recordings of several new songs. And I think the different approach to rehearsing material for the show with Matthew and Greg also helped us as band mates understand each other better. It was a great experience, thanks to all the friends who helped make it happen and check out the show if you get a chance!