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An empty gig calendar for a full writing notebook

2020 March 1
by Mike Vial
I’ve been playing at Blue Tractor’s mash bar once a month (or more!) for seven years. The time has come for me to take a break from the residency.
When Nat and I moved to Ann Arbor in 2013, mash was the first place that booked me. Over the years, I’ve kicked off tours playing at mash before hitting the road; I’ve hosted an open mic and met quite a few player; I’ve played the owner’s house party; I’ve met one Vulfpeck’s bandmates who randomly stopped in once during my gig; I’ve ran into former students who attend U of M; I paid off my entire grad loan by playing bar gigs; I’ve sang some of my best versions of cover songs, and occasionally, I’ve lost my voice by the end of a  boisterous night.
Last night’s gig was my 120 time strumming my beat up acoustics in the bourbon bar/brewery’s corner. It ended like any other gig: thanking patrons for tips, sipping an Irish Stout, and carrying gear back to my car.
It’s going to be weird to not have mash on the calendar for a while, but I need to make more time to write. My gig calendar is empty so I can write new material and book recording studio time. 

2020 is the year for me shift away from playing cover gigs. I’m nervous about this shift, since bar gigs have been consistent income; but my teaching stability allows me the financial freedom to focus on what truly moves my musical passions: songwriting and playing original shows.

Thanks to everyone who has come to one of my gigs at mash over these last seven years. I might be back in that corner again. For now, it’s time for me to write my fifth musical project and finish my first poetry book.


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