For months, now, I've been seeing an open mic advertised at The 23rd Psalm Cafe. It didn't seem to be part of the main-stream venue line-up, but it was obviously a Christian place, so I've been wanting to check it out. Tonight, we got our chance.
A few weeks ago, Gerald and I drove to the Cafe to play the open mic, only to find out that the paper had the days listed incorrectly, and the venue was actually closed that night. Gerald ended up speaking to the owner, Ben, on the phone, who remembered my emails, and a few days later, we had an invitation to play The 23rd Psalm Cafe.
It's a small white building and, as we suspected, it is far off the main strip. Inside, it's even smaller, and quite cluttered. The walls are covered in 8 x 10's of artists who've played there. The whole thing feels a little like a Newfoundland kitchen party: great food cooking in one corner, a stage in the other, and all sorts of people crammed into every nook and cranny, laughing and singing and telling stories. But the spirit is tremendous, and we were in for a great night of music and fellowship...
There were several other singer-songwriters, and a band from Kentucky. Gerald was second on the line-up, and he opened with "I'm a Real Big Fan" - perfect choice cause it just got everyone going. He followed with "Do You Trust the Wings God Gave You?" and "My Child is Dancing With God". Beautiful!
I was supposed to go next, but Ben decided he wanted the band to play next. So up comes this 6 piece worship/rock band, with a huge sound and great players. And all I could think was, "I have to follow this? Me? With my solo guitar and my pretty little church songs? Arg!!!"
Yes, fear swept through me. I could imagine the crowd taking their smoke break when my turn finally arrived. But then I smacked myself in the head. I reminded myself that I wasn't in competition with anyone, and that the only reason I had for writing or singing was to please God. If I could be worthy of Him, then any spot, any time, would be just fine.
As I was coming to this conclusion, a friend of mine walked into the Cafe. She came to hear me, but had gotten lost.
If I had gone on earlier, she would have missed my performance. Funny, huh?
When my turn came, I brought Gerald up to accompany me on "My Father's Arms", and then kicked him off the stage so I could do "The Wedding At Cana" and "Abide With Me".
In the end, I think we both did really well. But there was so much more to experience that night. We heard some great singer-songwriters, and met some wonderful people. Ben knows several other Christian venues, so we may be able to find some more opportunities that way.
And once again, I was reminded that God's plan is always better than the one I design myself!