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A Eulogy for Larry L

A few words by Frankie, StreetJelly CEO and Founder.

It’s with heavy hearts to announce the passing of Larry L, a.k.a. Larry Podline66. Larry was a long-time StreetJelly musician and friend. Larry left this world peacefully in his sleep on February 22nd, 2022.

Larry first became a member of StreetJelly on November 27th, 2013. SJ was only a year old back then. With his talent and fan base, he quickly became a mainstay on our streaming platform. Over the years, Larry has streamed a staggering 600+ live shows, 750+ hours of streaming, and was viewed 34,000 times live. This is all in addition to his prolific YouTube channel Podline66.

Larry Podline66

Many of our StreetJelly viewers have expressed shock in Larry’s passing. Myself included. I was just texting Larry a few weeks ago about the most mundane of topics, musician taxes. This sad news also comes at a time when so many other terrible events are taking place across the world. It’s all a bit overwhelming. But Larry reminds me how one person can touch so many hearts. Music is powerful. Larry showed us we all can change the world. He certainly made his “dent in the universe.”

One of our StreetJelly members, Pam, suggests this powerful original from Larry – Hold My Hand.

We invite our StreetJelly friends to add your kind thoughts, favorite songs, fun shows, and any memories about Larry in the comment section below. Here are a few to get started:

Sunday afternoons and Larry L’s Street Jelly shows were an unbeatable combo in my life for years.  He was such an amazing talent, and possessed the gift of being able to totally engage an audience, as well as play and sing just about any request that was made.   It is so hard to believe that voice is silent now.  I will miss Larry so much….and I know many others will, too.  His extensive YouTube channel is a tribute to his phenomenal talent and deep love of music.  Rest in Peace, my friend.

Sleepy Jean

I was deeply saddened today to receive confirmation of the death of Larry Ludwikowski. He was a top tier Street Jelly performer. He was also unique in that he had been streaming live musical performances long before it became common practice.

Putting “PodLine66” in a search or Googling “Larry L” will still result in many of the wonderful recordings that Larry posted online.

To be honest, I did not always see eye to eye with Larry. At one point we were calling childish names to one another. He unfriended me from Facebook before I unfriended him. I am still mad he beat me to the punch. But in all the names I still have one for him; only I will use it differently. “Good ol’ Boy.” He sure was one of the good ones. He is proof that people with different views can collaborate and make wonderful decisions. After ruffling each other’s feathers we have collaborated to help musicians both on and off Street Jelly. He was also there to help me help a mutual friend in their time of need. I hope that in his passing people will know a little of the truth of our relationship and understand that dissenting views is what makes things happen.

I am not sure, but our struggles to get along may have been influential in anonymous tipping on SJ. The Narcissist in me thinks we were part of it. Truth is he always played songs a person knew and loved. Even when I was angry with him I still wanted him to play. Neil Diamond to Miami Sound Machine, I can’t imagine what his repertoire list looked like. Every show was fun. So anonymous tips.

Larry once said performers need supporters and supporters need performers. Then made a joke about a Bra ad. “Support can be beautiful,” he wrote.

I am not sure on this but I believe that Larry still holds the top grossing performer on Street Jelly and has the most viewers at a single show.

It is a sad day for online busking and I know it is hard to understand. Hurt happens in life. Still, I take great solace in the fact that someday I will hear him again. Maybe they will let me play in heaven and we can jam together.

Thank you for teaching me to be a better performer Larry. You will be missed.

Clifton Printy

Larry was, for me, an absolute performer. With a wonderful knack for connecting with his audience. He had a tremendous repertoire, great arrangements, and musicianship.

When I first met Larry online, he was promoting his TREMENDOUS YouTube account. Literally hundreds of well-produced performances spread over several accounts. Due to his tremendous talent, I first recommended StreetJelly.com to him.

Larry took to StreetJelly like a duck to water. He was an ENORMOUS presence on StreetJelly. An absolute top performer, with incredibly popular Sunday and special shows. And he made a couple of bucks for Frankie and Martina too!

But ultimately, Larry, in my view, would want to be remembered for his dedication to social justice. A subject always present in our chats. Goodbye, Larry. And Godspeed. Rest in peace, my friend.

Peter Bensen

I stumbled upon Larry’s videos probably in the spring of 2008 on YouTube, the first one I found was “Dancing in the Moonlight.” I was hooked, there was someone singing “my music”, the best of the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s. I dropped him a note and he answered me. I drove my late husband and daughter to distraction with all the music, no surprise since I still own over 400 45’s that I collected since age 12. My late husband decided that he wanted to throw me a surprise 60th birthday and returning to the world from a bunch of surgeries party in August of 2008. He found Larry’s address, wrote him a letter, hired him and his friend Steve Sitton, it was all set up. A restaurant called the Candle Light Inn, in Catonsville MD was the site, unfortunately of late this was a Victorian style home with separate dining rooms that has been turned into a funeral home. He had open bar, buffet, roses for me and the folks who helped take care of me, cake, etc., and as a surprise for me invited Larry to play. His speech was that he could “never sing for my wife”, all the good ones are dead, Elvis, Bing Crosby, but he found someone who could. He got me good, Larry was great, brought me roses and we began a “friendship”. Larry was not easy to have as a friend, we had our ups and downs but I would never dispute his talent. His 1450 videos have gotten me through some rough times and the StreetJelly shows were a delight. I will seriously miss him and his music, RIP dear Larry.

Susan M Randt

StreetJelly Updates 2020

StreetJelly co-founder, Martina, tackles a number of the questions and comments observed recently in chat and in our Contact-Us messages.

StreetJelly Updates 2020

Over the last months the StreetJelly community has grown and we would like to welcome all new members as well as express our appreciation for those of you who have been with us for many years. No matter whether you are a musician, viewer or both, your presence and support mean the world to us.

The last year brought many changes to the Streaming World. Browsers have stopped supporting Flash. Other technologies like RTC, OBS and external streaming devices changed some of the ways we used to stream or watch a stream. In the old times when Flash was the main way of streaming, the responsibility of a technically well functioning stream was lying on the end of the musician’s computer. As long as a musician had a solid broadcast almost any viewer who downloaded Flash was able to watch the show regardless of the viewer’s computer capabilities. With the newer technologies this scenario changed. The technical requirements on the viewer’s computer are higher now as well. The biggest issue is bandwidth. RTC streams at higher bandwidth than Flash. OBS streams at even much higher bandwidth than RTC. Just to put this into perspective I would like to give you some examples. Most RTC shows are broadcasted between 500 and 700 kbps. The OBS broadcasts depend on the setting the musician chooses. Even at our recommended setting the average broadcast is between 1100 and 1300 kbps. This explains why some viewers can watch RTC shows but have trouble viewing OBS shows. We have a few performers who exceed the recommended broadcast settings. That can lead to the performer losing connection during the show and/or a higher number of viewers not having enough bandwidth to watch the show. Another important thing to know for performers streaming in RTC is the necessity of a steady internet connection. I would like to address this because many times I see comments from musicians saying that they have sufficient bandwidth. RTC, in contrary to Flash (which used a steady stream), is a method which streams in packets. For exactly that reason not only the bandwidth but also the steadiness of the internet connection are very important.

The following troubleshooting tips are for viewers who have trouble watching a broadcast: If you have no video please check that you either selected auto play in your browser toolbar (instructions above the player) or press the play button inside the broadcast window. If you have no sound please check the sound meter inside the broadcast window and the sound setting on your computer. If your broadcast is cutting out please make sure all other windows on your device are closed, especially those which have a lot of video or graphics running like Facebook. This is also a tip for performers who lose connection during their broadcast. All the video or graphics opened will use up your bandwidth. Even other devices on the same internet connection can affect your own device in use. If a family member in your household watches a TV stream or social media videos, your own machine can be affected. If your internet capabilities are great but you still have trouble watching or broadcasting it can be the actual hardware of your computer, for example the CPU might simply not be powerful enough. In a scenario like that all you can really do is apply the same principles as with bandwidth issues and close all other windows.

Since I was talking about troubles watching a broadcast I would like to quickly address the topic of buffering. Buffering is a natural occurrence during the streaming process and not a defect. It should only be viewed as a problem when the buffering leads to frequent interruptions in the broadcast. StreetJelly is proud to offer a streaming quality which far exceeds the broadcast quality of other sites. This leads to slightly higher technical requirements for our users. It is our goal to offer excellent broadcast quality but also accommodate users with lower bandwidth and slower computers. Unfortunately there will be a very small number of people who will not be able to view or broadcast due to a lack of their personal technical capabilities.

Many of you have the 24hr-Replay function available to you. This will allow you to keep a DVR style performance of your show on the StreetJelly homepage for 24 hours. This function resets every 72 hours and needs to be turned on individually for each show. In case you need to restart your show for technical or any other reasons you can reuse the replay function within 3 hours of the original start time. In that case it also needs to be turned on again for the restarted broadcast.

For those of you watching StreetJelly on the phone, we want to let you know that we made no changes on our end. If your screen looks different than it used to or the chat is in a different spot, it is a change made by your phone company.

Some of you might have seen performers using the Jukebox function. This enables a musician to charge for a show. As a viewer you can stop in and catch a free sneak peek. After a short while you will be asked to pay a few tokens to watch the rest of the show. This feature was originally created for venues but we extended this option to some musicians.

It has been a joy over the recent months to watch the StreetJelly community grow. To provide this free streaming service is a labor of love and we are putting our time and hearts into this endeavor every single day. In a time of great division in the world, music is an international language and art form which unites so many of us. We are excited to offer shows of every style and length. Some musicians like to play for 30 minutes and others for hours. Certain shows feature a musician with an instrument and an often intimate connection to the audience. Others performances contain the use of backdrop technology and backtracks or offer shows directly from venues. We welcome and encourage various types of broadcasts and admire many StreetJelly artists for their skills regardless what their performance style is. No matter what your personal preference there will be a show for you. Diversity makes this world and StreetJelly a better place. We provide a free service which enables all of you to drop in on a show and check whether that is something you might like to watch and listen to for a while. If it’s not your cup of tea you can just leave and move on to the next performer.

Stay safe and healthy
Martina

Roy Clark – A Tribute

Special guest post submitted by StreetJelly musician, Clifton Printy!

The Greatest Guitar Player in the World!

Roy Clark, ‘Hee Haw’ Host And Country Music Ambassador, Dies At 85

I honestly can’t tell you when it began. I was literally that young. My entire life has been built around Country Music Legend Roy Clark. My moral attitude, my sense of humor, my taste in music all came from the master himself.

Many Years ago I met a man in the Adirondacks, “want to be a great performer?” Sonny O’dell said to me over a beer, “Be Sincere!” Then he handed me his guitar and said I can’t play this thing anymore. That’s what I saw in Roy Clark. He was honestly giving from within himself and it showed. I will never be Roy Clark but I will always want to be. Every expression and gesture going toward his goal.

Malaguena encapsulated my mind that led 40 years later to study of classical and flamenco guitar. Yesterday When I was Young plays in a loop in the back of mind and speaks of nostalgia from decades past. Alabama Jubilee led to my love of artists like Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed.

Roy introduced me to Rag, Blues, Swing and most of all Country Music; from the Carters to Cash, Haggard to Hank Williams Sr.

It all started in front of that 13 inch black and white TV. ”Yesterday When I was Young…” playing still in my mind. Good by Roy Clark.

He was that type of entertainer! He was the most amazing guitar player I have ever seen. His faces while he performed insighted childish laughter from my soul. His jokes were easy on the conscience but side-splittingly funny. If you were to ask me, I would tell you that I wanted to be a performer like him. “Performer” because he was much more than a great guitar player.

A compliment to music, Roy Clark will be missed. He was the greatest guitar player in the world!

–Clifton Printy

5 Useful tips you need to know before buying wireless headphones

“Member Blog Series” guest post submitted by StreetJelly member: Vincent Hill

5 Useful tips you need to know before buying wireless headphones

In this guide, we will take a look at some of the useful tips you really need to know before buying wireless headphones. Wireless headphones offer multiple benefits to users; besides providing the listener with quality Bluetooth features, they also offer great audio capability.

Wireless headphones are simply those headphones that connect to a device like stereo speakers, a Smartphone, gaming console, television, computer and other electronic devices using a cable or wire.

Sound quality is good with latest Bluetooth versions
Over the years, some users have confirmed that Bluetooth headphones offer poor sound quality.
However, with growing demand, much emphasis was placed on making sure those latest versions of Bluetooth were produced with more quality digital sound.

Before you buy, check out for the sound quality of the Bluetooth versions, and see if it is something you can be comfortable with. Go ahead and make the purchase if you truly love the Bluetooth.

Battery Life is important
Every wireless headphone should have great power supply, which will come in the form of either standard disposable batteries or built-in rechargeable battery.

When searching for a Bluetooth headphone to buy, always go for the one that has a battery life of around 8-12 hours. There are some that may even give longer hours of service; some can last up to 40 hours of listening.

Normally, a battery will take less than 4 hours to charge, but can last for a longer period of time. So, battery life of the wireless headphone is very essential.

NFC (Near Field Communications)
It is extremely easy to set up Bluetooth headphones. It is easier for you to pair them with your audio device- laptop, tablet or Smartphone. This can be done through built-in Bluetooth software in the device.

During the set up process, you will have to enter a pass code. NFC is a powerful technology that enables many wireless systems to communicate better with each other. So, buy the wireless headphones that can be used with NFC-enabled device.

Remote in the earpieces
A lot of wired headphones come with a wired remote on the cable, which can be used to take and/or reject phone calls, and stop, start, skip music tracks. Often, they come with built-in microphones.

But, wireless headphones don’t have these features, instead they come with microphones on the earpieces and basic control features. Make sure you test the accessibility of these controls when buying wireless headphones. Research says that wireless headphones with remote in the earpieces perform better. So, feel free to buy them.

Usability is important
This is an essential requirement, when you are looking for a headphone to buy, make sure you determine the amount of money you can spend on it. If your budget is $100, then browse the internet for headphones that can be purchased at that price or under $100. Just like most products, you will get value for what you pay for.

Good wireless headphones under $100 will certainly perform better, and will come with good sound quality, but more expensive ones will surely come with advanced functions such as high resolution audio, extra bass and noise isolation.
Finally, for many reasons wireless headphones are easy to use, safe and highly convenient. Before buying a wireless headphone, make sure you consider the brand, style and price, so that you will make the right selection.

Research has proven that wireless headphones are more functional than wired headphones. If you are someone that likes watching television or listening to music, then wireless headphones is ideal for you.

Was this article truly helpful? Kindly share your ideas in the comment box below.
More headphone reviews here!

5 Best Music Android Apps of 2017

“Member Blog Series” guest post submitted by StreetJelly member: Vincent Hill

5 Best Music Android Apps of 2017

Modern day iPhones and android phones come with a lot of features such as stereo speakers, audio capabilities and Dolby Atmos support. It is not surprising that people store most music on their smart phones.

If you are searching for best android apps for free music downloads, then you don’t have to worry, because there are lots of options in the play store, so all you need is just to make your own collection. To help you make the right selection, here are 5 best music android apps of 2017 you can use:

Shuttle Music Player

This is a unique music player that deserves attention at all times. This app has an appealing user interface, and it can be customized to the hilt with themes. Shuttle Music player includes support for sleep timer, built-in 6 band equalizer, embedded lyrics, gapless playback and many more. Although it has a free version, but the paid version comes with added features like ID3 tag editing, extra themes, folder browsing, Chromecast support etc.

Media Monkey

Media Monkey has so many features such as podcasts, audio books, and the capacity to sort music by composer, instead of sorting it by just artists. Media monkey has amazing stuff like an equalizer. It is extremely unique due to its capacity to sync your music library from your phone to your computer and vice versa. This app has a simple interface.

Poweramp

This is one of the best music player apps for most android users. People are fond of using it because it comes with themes you can easily download directly from Google play store. Also, it comes with sleek interface. It’s effective and highly efficient. It supports all kinds of playlists and includes many features like cross fade, gapless playback, tag editing, widgets and lots of customization settings.

Some users have confirmed that poweramp is the most popular music players on android. It comes with a complex interface; this is the reason it supports all kinds of musical formats and playlist formats you can ever imagine such as m3u, ogg, wav, wma, flac, alac etc.

To sum up this analysis, do you want to get the most amazing music player on your tablet or android phone? Then check out for Poweramp music player. The free version is available for 14 days for your usage, after which you can subscribe for the paid version.

Black Player music player

This is one of the reliable music player apps, due to its UI and balance of features. The app really looks amazing due to its minimal and dark theme, sleek transitions, and tabbed layout. With it, it will be easy for you to customize anything you want without issues.

You can as well change the font, animation, styling of the colors or how the sliding menu looks. It comes with an in-built equalizer, but you can still use an external equalizer. Also, it supports crossfading, gapless playback, sleep timer, ID3 tag editor, and capacity to edit and view embedded lyrics.

Neutron Music Player

This is another popular music app, which comes with many interesting features such as 32/64 bit audio rendering engine. Users are overtly happy with it, because it enables music to sound better. Other amazing features include, but not limited to more unique file types, audiophile specific features, in-built equalizer etc. Although, Neutron music player is expensive, but so many people are confirming that it is a highly recommended go-to-music player app you can ever have.

Was this article helpful? Share your thoughts with us below!

Additional info:  https://alltechtrix.com/best-mp3-music-downloader-apps-android/

Your Favorite Browser – Fantastic or Rocky?

Special guest post submitted by StreetJelly veteran, Martina!

Why using a certain browser can make all the difference between a fantastic broadcast and a rocky one.

Recently, Firefox and Chrome browsers made significant technical changes by disallowing plugins. This will affect musicians and viewers. I would like to explain this fairly complex subject in a condensed version. We understand that these changes have caused some StreetJelly users confusion and frustration. Hopefully, this blog will help all of you to have a much better and smoother streaming and viewing experience.

Not all browsers made changes at the same time and many updates will follow. This is the reason why we sometimes recommend one browser over another. Our recommendations go hand in hand with new developments in streaming technology and their direct impact on our broadcasting tools.

The Flash broadcaster
These developments have no effect on this broadcasting option. The only thing we noticed is that some viewers don’t realize that this change turned off Flash on their computer and it needs to be turned on in the browser settings. This might be necessary each time there is a new browser version. Internet Explorer still allows plugins but for a limited time.

The old plugin Jellycaster
Chrome and Firefox do not allow plugins anymore and therefore the old Jellycaster is not functional on those browsers.

The new Jellycaster WebRTC
This is an entirely different streaming technology and expected to totally replace Flash in the future. Currently, this method of streaming is still going through some growing pains. Flash works very well for people with lower bandwidth, but all the new streaming technologies require higher bandwidth. It is not only the amount of bandwidth which is important but also the steadiness. RTC is a technology which streams chunks of data, also known as packets. Flash streams more like a continuous stream, like water in garden hose. Currently, Chrome is using a different type of packets than Firefox and both browsers have a different way of letting the stream go through firewall ports. Which browser works better depends on each individual network setup, steadiness of internet connection and other factors.

We currently recommend to try Chrome first since its approach to RTC appears to work better for a lot of people. Ultimately, it is a matter of trying it out. It is extremely important to always have the latest version of any browser when using RTC since there are significant updates on a regular basis.

For anyone who is struggling with low bandwidth, it is important to maximize what you have available. Check that all other devices in your streaming location which use bandwidth are turned off and programs are closed. Sometimes we might not think of it that very common pages like Facebook can be a strain on your bandwidth. This is just one of many examples. Generally, anything with video falls in this category and, of course, watching TV on the computer.

I hope this helps a little to explain why browsers can make all the difference and why we change our recommendations to adjust to all the rapid developments in technology.

Performing Original Songs on StreetJelly, by Andy Getch

“Member Blog Series” guest post submitted by StreetJelly artist: Andy Getch

Performing Original Songs on StreetJelly

I love songwriting. Playing for an audience is a surefire way to test or refine original songs. StreetJelly.com is a wonderful venue to perform with supportive listeners and fun emoji’s.

As far back as college I thought about performing. As an architecture/engineering student, my drafting t-square or a yardstick was my air guitar. I guess I first started writing when I got tired of hearing heavy rotation songs on the radio and making up my own lyrics to the melody. I most admired the singer-songwriter alone on the stage pouring their heart out in a song.

Songwriting started for me as a strong unexplainable urge in 2009 shortly after I took learning guitar seriously. Within a year I joined an online songwriting forum. I struggled at first, sometimes stumbling into a decent song. Mostly not.

Online songwriting challenges took my songwriting to another level. Most challenges are based on some form of time limitation. I started with a song a week group where a prompt was given as a starting point. Then in February 2012 I found February Album Writing Month (write 14 songs), 50 Songs In 90 Days (July 4-October 1), National Solo Album Month (29 minutes of songs in November), and more. The songs from those challenges are not polished or studio ready, just rough demos, or maybe even a partial song idea of instrumentals, lyrics only, or maybe even just a title.

All these challenges have a supportive community much like Streetjelly with regulars and various songwriting resources. Prior to February 2012 I had written about 20 songs in two years. In that month I wrote 12 songs with music, and three with just lyrics and was thrilled. Since then I have met the challenge goals each year. The most important thing for me is to keep writing, then decide later if the song is good, needs editing or recycling.

My goal is to participate in the scheduled songwriting challenges and otherwise write one song a week in a closed online group. I am lucky enough to be able to attend a local singer-songwriter circle. Songwriting is like playing an instrument, the more I practice the better I get at it. If I only picked up my guitar a few times a year, I would not make very much progress like I do with regular practice. The more I write, the more I write.

Once I have a rough idea for a song, I need to start playing it to get the flow and rhythm. If I don’t play the song I will forget how it goes. I don’t find out if a song really works until I play it as that lone singer-songwriter. Sometimes that happens at the singer-songwriter circle, sometimes my farmers market or yoga flow class gigs. But I don’t find out if the song works from the audience reaction. I find out if a song works based on how it feels to me and flows through me. If I feel a boost in energy or warmth, I know I am on to something good. Sometimes it is a complete surprise when a song works. The audience can sense that boost in energy too. My best performances are when I am serving the song and letting ti flow through me.

That is where playing new or revised original songs on StreetJelly comes in. StreetJelly audiences are wonderful and supportive. When I am singing and playing on StreetJelly, the feel and flow are the same as if I am at the singer-songwriter circle, the farmers market, or the yoga flow class gigs. The best part is the StreetJelly emojis will be clapping, smiling, stomping and giggling either way and everybody has a good time.

Playing original songs on StreetJelly is fun, helps my performance skills, and improves my songwriting. I hope to hear some of your original songs soon on StreetJelly.

Andy Getch

Coffee Houses of the 60s and 70s

“Member Blog Series” guest post submitted by StreetJelly artist: Win Corduan

Coffee Houses of the 60s and 70s: A Nostalgic Reminiscence

Come along with me, if you would, into this dimly lit store-front retreat. It’s dark outside, and your eyes have been waging a constant battle against the rapid-fire guns called “headlights” and the glaring assault weapons known as “fluorescent signs.” As you step inside, candles on makeshift tables and a few low-wattage lightbulbs provide sparse, but soft and friendly, illumination. From time to time people light their cigarettes, and the small flares given off by their matches punctuate the scene. The clouds of tobacco smoke do not mask the scent of freshly made popcorn. But you ask yourself whether you really are smelling any coffee, or if your imagination is merely calling up a familiar aroma created by an expectation. You are, after all, in a coffee house, sometime in the late 60s or early 70s.

Coffee Shop You hear music, coming from the little stage in the center of the side wall, where at various intervals aspiring folk singers are doing their best to entice the audience to listen to them. They are competing with the voices of people in conversation around the tables. The combined sounds intertwine and fill the room with a sense of shared humanity.

Coffee houses were not cafés, and they weren’t all that much about coffee. They were about people taking time to talk, face to face, over mugs of coffee and little bowls of popcorn or peanuts, opening up their thought worlds to each other. They were about music that joined the conversation if it spoke to the people or dropped into the background if it did not. A well-managed coffee house would constitute a welcoming space that brought together people whose paths would be unlikely to cross otherwise.

Original artwork by Win

Original artwork by Win

I used to sing in various coffee houses over the years, but there were three of them with which I had a lengthier relationship: “The Pilgrim’s Cave,” in Washington, D.C., “Rahab’s” in Chicago, and “The Natural High” in Kenosha, Wisconsin, which I managed for a while. Performing was fun, and so was trading new chords, strums, and songs with others. Many scraps of paper, covered with words and chord symbols, changed hands. These places all had “regular crowds,” to borrow Billy Joel’s term, and my memories are bonded with the images of those people.

“The Pilgrim’s Cave” was located in the basement of a huge church. It must have been in 1966 that my older brother and I became regular performers there on Saturday nights. The man who ran it was a taxi driver by trade and a caring, loving person by heart. The stage was nothing more than the front of the room. Coffee or tea could be obtained at a small table on the side, with the understanding that you would put a coin or two into the little bowl if you had any. My strongest and fondest memory of the people there is of a young blind couple in their mid-twenties or so. For some reason, of all the songs they sang, the one that I remember is “The Sloop John B.” Sometimes they would call on the audience to sing along, and the girl would threaten, with a smile of course, “If you don’t participate, you’re going to get instant coffee.” When they weren’t singing, they would sit at a table and write each other notes in braille. It took them just one night to recognize some of us by our voices from then on.

“Rahab’s” in Chicago had a volunteer staff of seminarians and college students. The regular crowd included a number of recovering alcoholics for whom it was a safe haven on Friday and Saturday nights. I spent many an hour chatting with Wes, an out-of-work postal worker, who was familiar with the intricate philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. Most of the time the mike was “open,” and I remember singing songs there that subsequently got buried and did not get resurrected until the coming of StreetJelly.

Original artwork by Win

Original artwork by Win

Young men for whom their guitars were the only constant factors in their lives would drop by to do some sets. “Brother John,” who was neither the brother of anyone we knew nor in holy orders, amazed us all by his rendition of Suite Judy Blue Eyes. One of my favorite performers would introduce himself as “Rocket, the Flying Squirrel,” and his guitar, “George.” He had long hair, almost down to his hips. When he was sitting on a chair and singing, his hair would fall forward, and all that one could see was a cone of hair, the guitar, and his incredibly tall boots, one of which he would pass around for tips after a few numbers. The room would go silent as he gripped your heart with his songs. “Down, down, down—into the depths of darkness.” I still remember the chord progression he played.

One night the music was provided by two young, but seasoned, folk artists. I can still see them in my mind’s eye, sitting on the stage, which in this building was situated right up to the painted-over store front window. They started their set with an upbeat number and followed up with something slow and lyrical. Suddenly there was an explosive sound coming from the street. A little hole appeared in the glass and, quite a distance into the room, in the ceiling. Someone outside, for reasons we’ll never know, had shot a small caliber weapon upwards through the window. Our performers did not miss a beat, but continued as though nothing had happened. When their song was finished, one of them remarked, “That’s the first time anyone has ever shot at us—from backstage.”

“The Natural High” was located close to Kenosha’s harbor and not too far away from Great Lakes Naval Base, but the sailors on leave were, for the most part, looking for something other than chatting with someone over coffee. So, once again, the regular crowd was made up of local folks. In contrast to the previous two places, this one was geared more toward younger people of high school and college age. Among them I vividly recall Holly, officially considered on staff, but often in need of help herself when she suffered flashbacks from her earlier days on LSD. Slightly older adults also showed up regularly, most of them good people who were subsisting on the margins of society and found cheer in the presence of energetic young people and their songs. (I was twenty-two by that time, married to June for a few months, and in my second year of graduate school.)

One of the regulars was a man named Pat, probably in his late thirties, who was out of work with few prospects. Whenever I was singing, he would call out, “Hey, Win! Do ‘House of the Rising Sun’!” Somehow that song had a special meaning for him, and I was happy to oblige. One night he came in beaming, wearing a new set of official-looking clothes. “My ship has come in, Win.” He had garnered a job. Pat continued to be a steady patron, and from then on he always proudly wore the uniform of an animal control officer.

As manager, I could insert a musical set of mine whenever I wanted to, but was always happy to give way to some new talent or one of the regular contributors. Artists who took themselves too seriously, sometimes commanding as much as $20.00 for their services, were likely to leave disappointed because people had not come to the coffee house to admire their talent. On the other hand, when Jeff, a regular performer, started his favorite Mason Proffit song, the chatter would die down, and by the time he got to the refrain, everyone would join in for seemingly never-ending repetitions: “Two hangmen hanging from a tree — that don’t bother me — at all. “

Memories are tenacious, and they get sweeter with time. But I must remind myself: “You can’t go back to Kansas.”
Win Corduan

First Concert – The Perfect Guide

“Member Blog Series” guest post submitted by StreetJelly memeber: Vincent Hill

First Concert – The Perfect Guide

Introduction to Holding a Concert
Going to a concert is one thing, holding a concert is totally another thing. One must understand that one of the most complex and difficult jobs is to organize and hold a concert. Consider a concert to be a 1000 pieces puzzle, and each of those jigsaw pieces must fit in properly. Here are just some of the aspects on which you must pay attention to the most.First Concert

Get Ready and Be Comfortable
All you need to do is practice well and organize your playlist for the concert. Also practice all of the songs, not just the ones you’re about to play because you’ll never know what will you feel like playing at the moment. Being comfortable is very important because if you’re not then the audience will not be as well. You want to look natural.

Practice Before Going On a Concert
As it was already suggested above, you will have to practice, a lot. Even when you think you have practiced enough, you haven’t. It’s never enough, and you need to be a perfectionist if you want to be extraordinary. Nothing is better than a band which functions like a machine. Keep up to date with music trends, the industry, software, and instruments with an online tool like MusicSkanner. This can really help you spot a problem before you go on stage.

Take Feedback from Others
Listening to what your audience has to say about you is essential to your success. Be that good or bad a critic is something that can be a great motivator. When they say good things about you, then that means you’re doing a great job, and when they talk badly about you, then you know you have to improve your performance or music.

Get To the Concert on Time
Of course, you have to get to the concert on time, because you will have to set things up and have a final rehearsal before the main event. The concert is going to start a bit late of course like always, but you would like to be on time. The audience will not respect you if you’re late.

Stay Cool in the Crowd
No matter how crazy the audience is, you must not let it mess with your brain. Stay cool and keep calm. If you lose your head, then everything will fall apart, and this is a fact. You need to focus on your performance. Get Involved and Stay Excited Your audience is everything to you. For you, they must feel like the most important thing in the world. Interact with them, communicate and listen to them. Take some pictures and throw some equipment like a guitar pick and so on. Keep your euphoria until the very end. With your music, you will easily transfer the positive energy over to your audience.

first_concert2Be Aware of the Brand
The brand of you music equipment is of the imperative. You will have to choose only those of the best quality if you want to be exceptional. Same goes for the instruments. Mind you brands!

Try To Use Social Media
The best way for you to raise awareness about the event you’re holding is to use the power of social media. That way you will reach far more people than you would usually with just flyers and posters.

To Sum Up
These are just some useful tips about how you can succeed in holding a perfect concert. Of course, there are many other things about which you must consult professionals and ask for their help.