From behind the lens … a defining moment in musical performance

David Holt performs with his band members Bryan Sutton and T. Michael Moore in Raleigh

I would have probably never articulated this on my own except for an occasion of heightened awareness by photographing a recent performance by David Holt, Bryan Sutton, and T. Michael Coleman.  They have started a band called “Deep River Rising” to perpetuate the musical traditions of Doc Watson, so they are still in the “getting acquainted with each other” phase of discovery to determine if they have a future together.

My wife and I have known David for years but never played music with him; even though, he and his wife Ginny have been guests at our dinner table on more than one occasion.  We have discussed “performance” and the requisites to be successful in his field.  Because my wife and I often perform (rest homes, small private audiences, and front porches), we asked him once what was a secret he could share with us to engender audience engagement.  He said, “have them sing a song with you by the second number of the first set.”  He was right.

Because I had my eye glued to the viewfinder and my ear cocked and tuned to the audience this particular evening, I learned another secret which I now share with David  … “Laugh wholeheartedly and genuinely at the end of a song!” … the audience responds vociferously when all the band members do it; and from observing further, this simple act generates heaps of appeal.  The laughter also genuinely transmits the notion that the guys (and gals) in the band are having a great time, and that this is not just another perfunctory gig.

Bluegrass, Old-Time, Folk-Traditional — this music is all about fun!


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