0069 My favourite Open Mike (USA 036—revisit)

Carlisle Travel Blog

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My next quick visit to Dream Mode brings back memories from just a few months ago:  To January of this year.  This was when I decided, after years of songwriting in the attic, to go out there and share my music with the world.  I found a website called www.openmikes.org and mapped out a plan to play at different coffeehouses in the region until I found a place where I felt I connected.

 I started down in Hagerstown Maryland, and the joined a blues jam session in Chambersburg, a hippy kind of joint down in Martinsburg, West Virginia, a college joint in Camp Hill, and a redneck joint up in Enola.

  People were generally friendly and appreciative of my songs, but nothing really magic happened.

  And then I discovered the Courthouse Commons Coffeehouse in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.   Here I met a great mix of folks… David Stein, the host, a music teacher and rising musician from Washington DC, blues singers, a heavy rock band, bluegrass singers from the mountains, an amazing Jimi Hendrixish guitarist—and even a homeless guy that comes in to play a few songs… All people who were great to listen to and who were great listeners as well.  It immediately became my favourite Open Mike and I came back here every week—almost as if it were my “church”. 

 This went on for a couple months until I decided to switch from playing at Open Mikes to doing solo gigs.  These gigs didn’t go quite as well as I’d hoped to and after a while I realized I needed to figure out some other way to share my music with the world.  Maybe that was one of the things that inspired me to create the “Alternate Life” where I’m just a carefree wanderer, exploring and playing music all around the world.

 Back to the Present

 Anyways, here I am, back in Carlisle again, one of the few places here in America where I really felt “connected”.  But today I’m coming through just as a wandering minstrel to walk the streets and play my songs to the open air. 

 So I hike past Carlisle’s “castle” which is actually an old prison, down its classy Main Street, and onto the Dickinson College campus, where the autumn leaves decorate the ground and there’s a melancholic tranquillity in the air. 

 I take a few moments to think about this place, and then head on my way.

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photo by: nathanphil