Starting a session
I moved from Cook County (Chicago north shore) to Lake County, bordering on the north. Tired of no sessions up here (a shame given that I’m told that Liz Carroll lives only a few miles away), I have taken the initiative to start one up myself. I’ve contacted others who seem interested, got a venue, and my session-arranging partner has contacted a nice local bar that will probably host us after a bit if all goes well.
I’m no flash player but I can get by fine on a number of tunes, and I’m not bothered in any significant way if the music isn’t great. This session will never, in the foreseeable future, compare to the Abbey Pub, the Grafton or other great sessions in Chicago because, let’s face it, I’m leading it. So what though, I love the music and want it to be open to all who care. This is folk music for all the common folk right? I have always been suspicious of those on this board whose comments make sessions seem cliquish, clubby, exclusive, only for those in the "in" crowd.
So here’s the problem. It’s 1:45 a.m., I just got back from an acoustic jam with some people who had heard about my new session. I spent the evening playing folk music, some 60s pop, blues, bluegrass, all sorts of things, all good fun. But: some excellent bluegrass and old timey players came up to me to tell me that they want to come by to play at the new session. I can tell they don’t know any Irish tunes or any session etiquette. Now what do I do? They really are wonderful musicians, but I don’t want to be overwhelmed by wonderful bluegrass players. It won’t be a session. If I wanted to play old timey and bluegrass I would (and will) keep going to the Friday acoustic jam, but I want the session to be, well, a session. I’m thinking I’m being cliquish, clubby, exclusive, saving my session only for those in the "in" crowd.
That said, the communitarian side of me doesn’t want to turn people away. I’m a relative newcomer to Irish music myself (4 years) and I want to give other serious amateur musicians the opportunity to fall in love with this music like I did.
Obviously I need to get the message out, in a polite way, that this is going to be a true session, and then just play it by ear (pun intended). Does anyone have any experiences or thoughts that are helpful here?