Silent Tree Music
JOHN ANDREW PARKS
( A favorite singer of MICK TERRY )
Comments written to poet Paul Hellweg
relative to intention of communication in live performance
Copyright © 2010 - MickTerry.com
One of my favorite live musical performers was a non-traditional country singer, John Andrew Parks.
From Dallas, he had an inerasable country twang, but he wrote & sang unlike any country singer I have ever heard.
Actually, he was unlike any singer of any type that I have ever heard.
He could come on stage in a crowded noisy bar, where the audience had totally ignored all of the other performers, & within a few seconds, have everyone in the place quiet & actively listening to what he was doing. Not because he had that fabulous a voice or guitar playing abilities to grab everyone's attention. He had the power of intention totally focused on communicating with the audience.
Seeing him perform in L.A. around 10 times in the late 90's & early 2000's, only once did I not see people totally stop talking & listen to him within seconds of his starting to sing. That one time when his usual M.O. did not work, he stopped playing & singing & then very quietly went, "Shhhh ... " very intimately into the microphone.
That worked. He then started playing & singing again with the entire audience now in rapt attention throughout the remainder of his set.
Ever since then I have always considered it a challenge when there are talkative, disrespectful people in my audience. Sure I would love to have it easy & have them all listening intently from the start, & sometimes it works & sometimes it doesn't. But if I can focus on doing a better performance that will catch & keep their attention, then I have made myself a better performer & maybe connected with someone else that might otherwise have missed what I have to say.
From my perspective, it's all a process.
I had bought John Andrew Parks' first album (self-titled on Capitol) from him at one of his shows.
It was full of great story-telling songs & included performances by Michael Botts, Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit, J.D. Souther,
Andrew Gold, Billy Preston, Jai Winding, Gerry Beckley, Bob Glaub, Michael Landau, Chris Spedding.
One of the tunes was the original for which Kenny Rogers had a big hit, Planet Texas.
I enjoyed the CD so much, I lent it to several people.
Unfortunately, one of them did not bother to return it. A big loss for me.
I saw John perform solo acoustically (on his Martin D45 Herringbone guitar with Highlander pick-up) as well as backed up by Michael Botts & Albert Lee, as well as others. Phenomenal results each time.
John used to live in Topanga Canyon, but moved back to Texas, still performing.
- Mick Terry
Copyright © 2010 MICK TERRY All rights reserved
[ Reprinted here by permission of the author. ]
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