Carry a Tune in a Bucket

I used to sing.  In front of people.  A lot.  It made me happy.  It made me smile.  At times, it made me laugh.  And laughing while singing is not often the best idea.  Once, it made me cry.  But I had fun…and as far as I know, no one boo-ed.  (I could be wrong about that, but I never heard it.)

One might ask how a true introvert finds herself with a microphone in her face, standing in front of a room full of tipsy people.  As with many things in life…it was for a school assignment.  We were told for a final project, we had to do something no one would expect of us.  A challenge.  Break through our own boundaries.  The last thing I ever expected myself to do was sing in front of anyone.  Any drama class, I was the one with the paint bucket or makeup brush.  Any music class, I was purposely mediocre.

At that point in my life, I was blessed with a bevy of musically talented friends who were willing to help with the project.  I would have been willing to try almost any song within my range, but my choices were limited to the music they knew or could learn.  That didn’t prove to be a drawback, as a collective, they played anything from Johnny Cash to Metallica.  For my own sanity, I stuck with tunes with decipherable lyrics.  And for the most part, the songs I sang, when I hear them now, they still make me smile.  Depending on where I am, I will sing along.  So here’s a short list of some of the more upbeat pieces.

The first song I ever sang on a tiny stage for practice even though no one was in the audience was a nerve-wracking experience.  Having never heard my own voice projected back to me, I had a few moments of pure terror.  I had to restart three times because I kept forgetting the words.  And before you ask, no, I wasn’t dressed like a bee.

I love the harmonies in and the thought behind this one and was lucky enough to have a friend who indulged me in letting me sing along on occasion.  I still have a recording of a goofy rendition we did for a friend’s birthday.

I’ve never actually had a chance to belt this one on stage, but it’s a lot of fun to sing at parties…almost everyone can sing along with at least the chorus.  Granted, West Virginia isn’t where I’d call home, but I’m no stranger to the concept.

On occasion, I’ll run across a song that screams to be rewritten…even if it’s just for one performance.  With scribbled on napkin in hand, I sang this one with a marine who could do a spot on rendition of Everclear’s Santa Monica.  A few weeks ago, I ran across a tape of it without the changed lyrics but with a conversation about a kazoo mixed in.

I moved to Maine one summer to clear my head and see a little bit of the world.  Right before I left, I was given a big chunk of my usual open mic night.  Friends filled the bar as I said my farewells.  I sang this one with my virtual twin while accompanied by a guitar and a kazoo (not sure why kazoos seemed to follow me around…maybe it’s like the circus music I hear when things go incredibly sideways).  If you go through my photo albums, I have pictures of some rather interesting looks I got when I changed a few lines of the lyrics and added hand gestures.  Only on one chorus though…

Being able to sing this one was a surprise.  When the album came out, I was just starting to develop my own taste in music.  The band is still one of my favorites.  It’s one of the few albums in which I like every song.

And last, but in no way the least, the song that can make me smile no matter how bad the day or how dire the circumstances.  Even if tears are streaming down my face, the first song I ever actually performed in front of an audience can make me grin through them with the first chords.

So there you have it…whether you wanted it or not…just a smattering sample of the songs I used to sing.  There were lots more, and there are a bunch of newer songs I’d like to try. Maybe one day, I’ll do it again.  But for now, the car is my venue.  I’ll be here all week!


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