Re: [Harp-L] asking to sit in

Sorry if this is a little late to the discussion, I've been away from personal email for a bit. 

I can't imagine asking a working band if I could sit in unless they knew me, but I it was done for me by proxy earlier this year. Ron Thompson and the Resistors were hired to play at my father-in-law's 70th birthday party. Ron and his band were gracious and good spirited about playing back-up band to a bunch of amateurs. My father-in-law is not a singer, but he loves the blues, and got to live a dream by singing Mystery Train backed up by a professional blues band, with his stepson on guitar. The performance was....well, unique, and a dream come true for him. After his moment in the spotlight he approached Ron during a break and told him about his son-in-law the harmonica player. Ron asked him to point me out, told me to get my harps (following the "rules to live by", I always have a few with me), and invited me up to sit in. 

Now Ron was John Lee Hooker's band leader, and I'm an amateur hack, so I was some bundle of nerves even knowing I had a friendly audience. I muddled through the first tune well enough that he asked me to stay with them for several numbers. He and his band couldn't have been nicer about it, and their ego-free attitude made it a great experience for me. Afterwards both Ron and the band complimented my playing but he was more impressed by the fact "you know when not to play", and he commented that too many harp players never stop playing. There were a few cell-phone videos done and after watching one I could see that while I didn't play badly, it was tactful playing rather than stellar harp chops that made it enjoyable for them.

Of course I would love to do that again with my own amp & mic rather than playing through the PA. But despite that experience, if I saw Ron & his band playing in a club I might introduce myself again and say hi, but I wouldn't dream of asking to sit in. I'd consider it presumptuous and inappropriate to put him in the position of having to answer the question.


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