On This Night

I played solo acoustic at a bar last night. The farmers markets I’ve mostly been playing at of late are nice, but it was so great to play live at a real music venue. I hadn’t played Phyllis’ since before the pandemic. I was worried my voice might not be up to it, but it was in good form. I’ve been singing in the car since I got on the bill last week.

I stuck mostly to my standards since it had been a couple months since I performed. I threw in one newer song that I thought I might mix up the words on, but it went well.

There was one much older song, “On This Night” that I wanted to play for a special reason.

Last week, my oldest sister passed away. She lost a battle with cancer. She was a sweet and generous soul. I am the youngest of eight kids. She was often more of a motherly figure with our age gap. There was a period in 1996 where I was between jobs and breaking a lease out of state. She let me stay at her house while I figured out where I would land. It was there that I had a Christmas song come to me. It was at a point in my life where I was voraciously taking in theology having come back to my faith a couple years before. The song is very religious. And it’s slower.

It’s not an ideal tune for a bar full of drinkers, but this was the moment of my set for self-indulgence. This was for me and my sister.

I dedicated the song to her with the context. I remembered the words. (Hooray!)

All the energy was sucked out of the room though. And thet’s okay. This was what I needed and this was where I got to do it.

I heard a podcast recently that said putting art into the world in service of the truth is more important than putting it out there for validation. A lot of times I find myself looking for validation in my music, but more and more it’s become in service to sharing something vulnerable and true. That’s when it becomes special and meaningful.

I spent the last couple songs after my Christmas song rebuilding an energy. I think I got there by the time I handed off the stage to the headliner. I found validation as a byproduct and I served the truth to honor my beloved sister.


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