Somewhere in Alaska: we played the best we could.

We played the best we could under the circumstances.

It was difficult considering not only how small the crowd was, but how palpably nervous and stilled they were. The best hope we could muster was that we might distract their anxiety during our 90-minute set. They were as enthusiastic as could be expected.

Afterward we lingered, wallowing in disappointment. Having long-arranged a babysitter, Julie was commiserating with us. Drinking Budweiser supplied by the radio station, we deleriously imagined the town's men suddenly bursting in, flush with excitement and fistfuls of cash, the party coming to life after all.

It was a ridiculous thought; we sunk even further into our sodden selves.

Punch-drunk with defeat, and a little drunk to boot, steel and electric guitar player Barry Sless got behind my drums and began fooling around, hunting and pecking a clumsy, good-natured shuffle beat. As if on cue from an old Mickey Rooney movie ("Let's put on a show!") pianist Deanna Bogart picked up Barry's guitar, and began to hack at it. Fiddler Denise Carlson went for Barry's steel guitar, while bassist Liam Hanrahan gingerly approached Denise's violin.

I made my way toward Deanna's piano, and Julie plopped down next to me.

Next: Back to basics...

click for the next segment...