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Wrong Key, AKA the end of my career as a cajun singer

Just had the worst experience of my life on Sunday. (God I hope none of you were there). Bombing Jolie Blonde in front of 500 people.
My neighbor puts on an October fest every year down here and the band (who is staying in his and my house) decides they wanna learn a Cajun tune. No problem, these guys are professionals after all. SO we sit around sunday morning and settle on Jolie Blonde and Lacassine. Rado the Guitar player and I hammer it out and hes got it down.
Well, lo and behold, we start the tune and I can tell hes a little shaky on the changes but I think he's got it so I start to sing the first verse and soon as Ohh Jolie Blonde comes out of my mouth, he decides to play another chord. I don't think I've ever turned that shade of red before. Playing in D while I'm singing in G, Jeesh. And of course the whole audience looks up at you like you're an alien and the guitar player just looks a little puzzled.
So has this ever happened to any of you and how did you recover. I don't know that I ever will.
Lesson learned. Don't try to play Cajun music in a public setting with a bunch of Austrians at the last minute. Fiddles and oompa band don't go together.
I'm gonna go and hide in a closet now.

Re: Wrong Key, AKA the end of my career as a cajun singer

I wish I had a dollar for all the times I had to stop and restart a song over the last several decades. I could probably buy a new accordion.

Taking off on the wrong note or even the wrong song, is surprising not all that rare, even if you play with the same group a lot.

I usually stop, shake my head and with a Cheshire cat grin say "Lets try that again" or "Gee, I made it to October before I made my first mistake this year."

It is an odd moment, especally at a festival where everyone is watching but it passed.

Remember, that the 45 minute music CD you bought probably had at least 4 hours of recording time, just to get it right before mixing.

Good luck

Re: Wrong Key, AKA the end of my career as a cajun singer

I wouldn't sweat it too much. We have all been there before, and the thing you learn to do is just keep going like nothing happened.

Early on, it seemed like every time I performed a new tune in public for the first time, it was fated to be a train wreck. This was seemingly a rite of passage for each new tune, and once I was past that, then everything would be OK.


"can;t get it right til you play it wrong"

i've done everything wrong at one time or other..

one thing i wanted to say about
david's first-time train-wreck comment is..

i find that no matter how much me or the band
practices a song, the first time is, as he said,
a train wreck.

but, nothing seems to prevent that..

so the thing i have learned is, get it over
with early, don;t over-practice.

it;s going to crash and burn
anyway, and only after
that will it get right.

so don;t wait til it seems right, it won;t be -
go ahead and go through the wall..

revising what nonc allie young said..
"can;t get it right til you play it wrong"


Re: Wrong Key, AKA the end of my career as a cajun singer

I saw Adam Hebert play and sing in one key while the band backing him up, Jambalaya, played in another, at Festivals Acadiens a couple of years ago! They finally got their stuff together after that first song, Cette la, Moi J'aime (The One I Love is Like a Little Bird), but it was painful to hear from that great vocalist!

ha ha ....been there....plenty

you just gotta laugh it off!

I've done it plenty of times, both on the receiving and giving end. Like picking up the wrong key accordion when the whole band is ready to play in another key. They all get the "deer in the headlights" look. Or I'm supposed to start the tune on the accordion, and duh...I can't remember how the tune went.. everyone is looking at you trying to figure out what's up? Or playing the wrong tune..done that one too. Or blown the opening licks..ooww baby..that really hurts. Now I try to make a joke if it happens and let it go like water off a duck's back. Better for morale.

laughing with you,

Thanks Guys

I can come out of my closet now that I'm not alone.
Somebody told me that the folks who were there have already forgotten. I sure hope so.

Re: Wrong Key, AKA the end of my career as a cajun singer

I was just beginning to sing Bernadette in public. I was used to singing it behind the accordion, where the volume was good, and the melody line was strong. However, this night, the second time I tried in public, the accordion player sat out, and I had to try to sing off the fiddle player, whose melody line was more improvised, and thus, not as solid to me.

I think the ASPC was called out to the dance hall to investigate the horrible things being done to cats there.

I've had a similar experience at a house dance. Folks were dancing to recorded music, and myself and another gent were playing rubboard along to it. The people would stomp, the cd player would skip, and the beat would be off. Guess who got the blame.

Re: Re: Wrong Key, AKA the end of my career as a cajun singer

Most of the most fondly retold stories aren't told about the time everything went well.

Re: Re: Re: Wrong Key, AKA the end of my career as a cajun singer

I believe that same night, my rubboard was leaning against a wall and was knocked over, sliding along the wall and becoming wedged between a night light and the electrical outlet faceplate.

Sparks, lights out, people trying to figure out how to get it off without frying, and a lasting weld mark on my board in the shape of a screw head.

Now, that's show business.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong Key, AKA the end of my career as a cajun singer

Oh my God, you just reminded me of what may have been the biggest gig of my life, when I was active in the alternative rock scene about 15 years ago. I've repressed it, I can't even remember the details that well. I was playing fiddle for a band called Drink Me, and we got a gig opening for some big major-label band from England called Beautiful South. This was at the Ritz, at the time one of the biggest rock clubs in New York City. Drink Me did a cover of a well-known folk song, I can't remember which one, something like "Oh My Darling Clementine." I started it in the wrong key in front of approximately 1,000 people. Life goes on!

Jamey Hall's most excellent Cajun Accordion Music Theory

Brett's all new Cajun Accordion Music Theory for all keys!

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