Tomorrow is going to be a first ever thing. In 17 years, this has never happened…Give up? Mr. and Mrs. Smiff are singing a song together in public. The church folks will no doubt have their Christmas tide enriched by the Smiffs. [sarcasm] I’m really looking forward to it and really, there is no other better Christmas present Mr. S could possibly give me than to do this. I do think he’s a little hesitant about the whole thing.
Mr. Smiff has somewhat refused to have anything to do with public performing with me for oh, about 10 years now. I don’t think it’s cause he didn’t think I had any business opening my mouth in public. The reason why is funny now, but, believe me, it was not at the time.
Flashback to about 1996…your Sista had dabbled a bit in songwriting and me and the Mista had written a nice one. At one point, Patty Loveless had it on hold. Well, we had written another one that was pretty dang good and Mr. Smiff felt I should be the one to go into the studio and do the demo vocal. I psyched myself up and psyched myself up to do this. I’d never done anything like that and I was pretty scared. Mr. Smiff was most encouraging about it and believed I could do it.
So, we get in the studio down in the UA tower. I put the headphones on and heard myself loud and clear and for someone like me, who is so critical of themselves, as far as I was concerned, I sounded like a duck in labor. I was just so nervous and insecure about the whole thing. It’s a whole different ballgame to sing in the shower or in the car than it is when you get up there in front of the microphone, engineer and whoever else was around. Plus, I was extremely intimidated by Mr. Smiff and the Brother In Law Smiff, who in my totally biased opinion, are amazing singers. Not helping my nerves a bit was the fact that the then 4 year old Manchild and 2 year old Drama Queen were along for the ride and they were making me nervous, too.
Long story short, I had a meltdown. I mean, I melted down and left. It was not pretty. It embarrasses me to this day to think about how stupid I was to get so upset, but, even more so that I had no more self confidence at the time and allowed that to let me think for a long time that I was totally incapable of doing something like a demo vocal, therefore it was a long time before I ever got in front of a microphone again. I’ll never forget Danny, the engineer telling me a few days later, "Now, you get back in there and do that again so you’ll get used to it."
I did get in front of a mic again. I did a few writer’s nights a few years later with my friend Monty Russell. I was scared to death and did not sound good, but, dammit, I did it. I’ve done the singing thang a number of times since and this last year, I’ve finally gotten like "Screw it..just do it." I guess I’m getting older and more comfortable with myself, but, I do wish I would’nt have waited til my late 30’s to do so.
This is why I stay on the Drama Queen about getting her butt up and singing at church or wherever else she might have the opportunity and getting used to it now. She has a fantastic voice. I’m her mom and all that, but, she really has a gift. Before she was a year old she would sing and carry a tune. She has great pitch and I think with some developing and working on it, the potential to be a great vocalist.
Mr. Smiff is sorta like Vince and Jon Randall and can make anybody sound good. If it turns out good enough, I’ll post it up here tomorrow. I don’t plan on melting down tomorrow. I’m not nervous about it. The only thing that worries me is that I’ll get distracted at hearing us blend and get all "oooh and ahh" over it and lose my place. We haven’t rehearsed much cause Mr. Smiff has the same thoughts as Dean Martin on rehearsing. Dean wouldn’t rehearse cause he felt like it took something away from the performance to go over and go over it.
Speaking of Monty Russell…dude, if you’re out there, holler at me. We wrote some good songs and should write some more next time you come to town. That one about paintin’ it red and trying to call it the blues was just good. I don’t care who ya are.