Learning From Failures and Mistakes – Part 3
Truckload of Talent
I was playing with a group called Origami under the management group named ARCH Music Group. One of the most talented guys affiliated with ARCH at the time was a singer-songwriter named Tom Conlon. Tom was, and still is, one of the most talented songwriters I have ever heard. He used to tour the country with his van and his dog named “Roadie.” It finally came time for Tom to stop through Columbia and I was going to have my first chance to meet him.
At the time, I was obsessed with Chris Thile of Nickel Creek and spent hours everyday practicing mandolin. So, when Tom came to town, my friends at ARCH told Tom he should have me as a guest artist on mandolin. I met up with Tom and a couple other musicians that day to practice. Once he began to perform I was immediately intimidated. The guy was flawless and full of confidence…not to mention, his songs were awesome! I tried to familiarize myself with his tunes and just pick along as best I could on mandolin. Later that night we would have a performance.
The venue was Jammin’ Java, which became The White Mule. They were both underground music venues on Main St. in Columbia, SC. Both of these venues brought amazing singer songwriters to Columbia and I miss them both dearly. Anyways, I played the set with Tom on mandolin and even guitar on a couple tunes. I put everything I had into it. I wasn’t sure how I did, but I was sure that something wasn’t quite right. So I asked Tom what he thought of my performance. This was his reply and it changed my playing forever. He said, “You have a Truck Load of Talent, but you need to harness it.” Essentially, he said that I had a lot of ability, but I overplayed and didn’t play tastefully. Since that moment, I learned how to play more to support the song and less to show off my ability. It seems like a simple task, but it requires much maturity in your playing. As embarrassed as I was initially, I am thankful for Tom’s advice.