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Gig #44, The Log Jam (tips for a cause)

Gig #44
Gig #44 The Log jam (tips for a cause)

The Gig:
Not much new to write about here. Chris, the owner of the Log Jam in Grand Ledge MI. has been having me in regularly on Fridays the last couple of months.

I had recently learned that one of our local guitar player/singer solo acts Joe Wright has been raising money to provide a Christmas party for some of our homeless veterans both here in the Lansing area as well as a community south east of us in a town called Niles. As I learned more about the event though the event’s website at http://voachristmas.com/, Facebook and other media sources, I felt compelled to do something to help. One of the ways that Joe had been raising money was though music, including a fund raiser at the Whiskey Barrel Saloon in East Lansing, Michigan where Joe and 5 or 6 other bands gathered on a Sunday to raise money for the event. That gave me the idea to put out a tip jar at my next gig and donate %100 percent of the proceeds to his charity. Even though I didn’t expect to raise much I remember what Joe had written in the VOA website “It’s not a sales pitch when I say that everything counts. $5 … $10 … a few dozen cookies … or a crock pot of meatballs. It all makes a difference” . That was enough for me to feel even one night’s tips were worthwhile.
Before my gig the following Friday I had made up some flyers requesting tips for the cause. At my gig I taped them up everywhere I could including my speakers, mic stand and music stand. Several of the patrons expressed their application and donated.
I caught up with Joe at one of his gigs the following Sunday and gave him the donations. I’m hoping to do more for next year’s event though the power of music.

The Lesson Learned :
See the next segment below.


How did I create a “buzz” for this gig? (An added new segment)

As I mentioned in my Gig #43 commentary, I don’t think I’ve talked at all about marketing one’s self yet. This is a subject that I’ll get into more throughout my remaining blogs.
It is always good to try to create some type of a “buzz” for lack of a better term about your gigs, to draw in as many people as possible, hence tims52gigs blog.

Although my intentions when I decided to donate my tips (that I hoped to raise at my gig) to the Volunteers of America’s Homeless Veteran’s Christmas Party was not to create a buzz around myself, the ripple effect though association did just that. What I mean by this is that one technique to help someone remember something or someone is to associate the person or thing to something that they create though their owe thought process. If you have trouble remembering names of people you meet, try to associate them to someone else you know with the same name. As an example: if you meet someone named Mike, and you have friend named Mike, think to yourself, he doesn’t look like my friend Mike. His hair a black and my friend Mike’s hair is red and his nose is long and Mikes is small and so on. What this does is help you recall Mike’s name next time you see him because you have associated other thought to his name. You have made it more than just a name. You have given more resources for your brain to help you remember his name easier. Thus some of the patrons at my gig have more to remember me by than just the singer/guitar player at the bar one night, they also subconsciously associated the singer/guitar player to the guy who was also donating his tips to a cause. And even more so to the people that engaged in the act of walking up and physically putting money in my tip bucket because they added association by creating the action.

The Music:
The music went pretty good. I back off my reverb a little which seemed to add a little more clarity to the sound.
One couple that had met up with friends for dinner stayed and listened until I was done even though there friends had left a couple of hours earlier.

Special thanks to:
• To Chris (the owner of the Log Jam) for inviting me back again
• Several of my friends that came out once again to show the support
• My wife Kim, for enduring yet another Friday having to listen to her husband sing in lieu of several other things she could be doing. Thanks again for the support honey.

Looking forward to the next one,

Gig #43 The Log jam with the Lansing Night out (website) crew

Gig #43
Gig #43 The Log jam with the Lansing Night out crew

The Gig:
Not much new to write about here. Chris, the owner of the Log Jam in Grand Ledge MI. has been having me in regularly on Fridays the last couple of months.

The Lesson Learned:
I don’t think I’ve talked at all about marketing one’s self yet. This is a subject that I’ll get into more throughout my remaining blogs.
It is always good to try to create some type of a “buzz” for lack of a better term about your gigs, to draw in as many people as possible, hence tims52gigs blog. One must always remember that the only reason a bar owner pays to bring in entertainment is for the payback. This is accomplished with the hope that the entertainment would draw in additional patrons (including his friends and family) and, by keeping people at the establishment eating and drinking longer than they would have if entertainment wasn’t available. So it is your job to do everything you can to bring in as many people as you can. The bottom line is, if you don’t, you may not be asked back.

How did I create a “buzz” for this gig? (an added new segment)
I’m always keeping my eye on the Musicians link listed my local craigslist website under the “Community” tab. I found a listing that said something about advertising your gig’s for free. I checked it out; the listing directed me to a website called Lansingnightout.com. I attempted to list my gig but was having problems getting my info to post. I found the site administrator contact info and sent an email asking for help. I ended up talking on the phone to Rob who I think is one of the co-owners of the site. We chatted for quite a while about music and why they started the site. He said the site was pretty new (to our area) and said that I may have been the first person who has attempted to use the self-posting tool, he would look into it and get back to me.
Rob texted me back a little while later and said something like “dude, you are the first person to post your own gig on the site”. Though our correspondence, Rob said that he/they may come out to my gig if they had time. Rob did show up and introduced me to Jen and 4 or 5 other people (sorry, not so good at names) that he bought with him including their website photographer who took several pictures which ended up on their their website. So how cool is that, I met the owners of a website that list local entertainment. Learned how to post my gig on the site. Then they came out and took some of pictures of me and some of my friends which the posted on their site. And in turn they got to pass out their cards and promote their site. I call that creating quite a buzz.

The Music:
I was pretty nerves. The place was packed. I would say the music was just okay. Just got to keep moving forward and do the best I can.
Since I got called back to play again, it must have been good enough.

Special thanks to:
Chris (Log Jam owner)for giving me yet another opportunity to hone my skills and do what I love.
• To Ron, Jen and the lansingnightout crew for joining the party.

Looking forward to the next one,

Gig #42 Log Jam (11/21 at 9pm)

The place was packed.  It was the night before Thanksgiving.

Gig #41, The Log Jam

Gig #41

Gig #41 The Log jam with special Guest Rachael Rayl

The Gig:

Chris from the Log Jam called and asked me if I was available to
play Thanksgiving Eve.  I answered yes
and the gig was booked.

The Lesson Learned :

As time has gone by on this journey I can’t help but remember a
comment that Kerry Clark (who was the host of an open mic I did at the Michigan
Brew Company back on April 25, 2011 – Gig #3 and whom has also play bass for
and toured with the great Larry McCray) made to me when telling him about my 52
gigs project.  He said something like “it’s
going to take a lot more than 52 gig”.  I
kind of think now I understand what he meant by his comment. That is; all
though I have completed 41 gigs and numerous mini performances such as private
parties and bonfires etc. it still can be tough, sometimes rough and even nerve
wracking playing live shows.  Basically
it is still hard to get though song after song without screwing something
up.  For me this is because there is so
much going on while playing and singing a song such as acknowledging people as
they come into the bar and wave, or as they give you the thumbs up, and people
that come out to see you that may be performers themselves or someone who may
be in the business who may be judging you, like a person or two sitting just
far enough away so I can’t make out their expression but seem to be very
attentive and paying close attention, then I’m thinking “who are they, do they
know me, should I recognize them”?  So
while I’m playing I’m thinking about all this stuff, my mind is trying to take
this all in and figuring out how to respond while at the same time
concentrating and trying not to screw up a new song that I may be playing
publicly for the first or second time.

So the lesson continues to be – Just Keep doing it and do it the
best I can and see what happens next.


The Music:

I leaned a new song that my daughter Jamie and her fiancé Erik like called To Make You Feel My Love by GARTH BROOKS. Even though they had
other plans and said they wouldn’t be able to make it to this gig, they did
show up during my last set. I was very happy to see them walk through the door
and decided I would play it as my last song of the night. As I started playing
the song it seemed to get their attention right away. Erik came up to me after
I finished and asked if I know that it was “their song” and that they are
considering it for their first dance as husband and wife at their wedding
reception. They both seemed to sincerely appreciate that I had learned and played
the song.  The kind of stuff that makes a
dad feel good.

Also, good friend and neighbor Bob Rayl and his daughter Rachel
came out to the show. Rachel loves to sing and has sung in several productions though
he school in Grand Ledge.  I asked her if
she wanted to either sing a song with me or play the guitar and sing a song
herself.  She thought about it and little
while later said should like to sing
by Fleetwood Mac. She did a great job.  You can see a short video of her performance
be clicking on the link below


or on my You tube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/tims52gigs
then navigate to Gig #41.

Special thanks to:

  • To my wife Kim for her continued
    support.  She keeps coming out the gigs
    sometimes weekend after weekend when she has so many other things and passions
    of her own that she could be doing. Greeting people, meeting people and working
    the crowd for me. Please take a look at her passion which is creating art
    though a process called Fused Glass at www.kimheenan.com Kim I love you madly and thanks so
    much for putting up with the stuff and time that I put into pursuing this
  • Chris for giving me yet another
    opportunity to hone my skills and do what I love.
  • To all my neighbors, friends and
    family for coming out again and again to support me.  Some nights the place would be dead without
    you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Looking forward to the next one,

Gig #40, The Log Jam in Grand Ledge MI

Gig #40


Gig #40 The Log jam
The Gig: Kim and I stopped in the Log Jam a few weeks ago to have a drink
and take in some of the evening entertainment.
Chris the owner saw us and came over to say hello and some small talk
including getting a couple of dates booked.
Over the next week a few phone calls and a couple of emails 2 dates were
The Lesson Learned :

As I’ve mentioned in some of my more recent blogs, I have been
dealing lot with trying to get my monitor settings right.  I spent a little time this last week while
practicing in my basement experimenting and seemed to make some progress.  The real test is during a live performance
The Music:

A few new ones.
Special thanks to:
Chris for giving me yet another opportunity
to hone my skills and do what I love.

To all my neighbors, friends and
family for coming out again and again to support me.  Some nights the place would be dead without
you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Looking forward to the next one,


Gig #39, HNI Risk Services of Michigan (Art Prize 2012)

Gig #39 HNI Risk Services of Michigan (Art Prize 2012)

The Gig:
This gig was at HNI Risk Services of Michigan located in the heart of Grand Rapids MI. HNI hosted an open house at their office to celebrate Art Private 2012.
This is the 3rd time that I have played at HNI. The previous times were gig #20 which was for Art Prize 2011 and gig #15 which was an open house that they held for their clients

The Lesson Learned :
Something I haven’t talked about; that is getting the gear from my truck into the venue. Downtown Grand Rapid is usually hopping pretty good and even more so during an event like Art Prize. Last year I parked in a lot within about 100 yards from the front door of the Venue and dollied in my equipment. This year I parked our front in a loading zone, left my flashers on and carried my gear up from there. As I made my third trip out to my truck I notice a cop was parked out along side of my truck. I kind of waved to him with an expression that I wanted to explain to him what I was doing. He just nodded toward me and I could see that his attention was focused elsewhere. I finished, and then parked my truck.
I also had a problem to deal with. That was for me the never ending challenge of struggling to hear myself while I’m playing. To rectify this, during my first break I went out to my truck, and grabbed my monitor. I set it up and started my second set. Well it didn’t happen just exactly like that. First I took advantage of the wine and cheese that was available. Due to circumstances beyond my control, though friends I love, I have become quite the fine wine with good quality cheese coinsurer which took advantage of, headed to the room where the my guitar case and the other venders supplies were stored and had a little tasting before I went back on. Although I had my monitor set up I was still having problems getting it set up right. It seemed that ether my vocal was too loud or not loud enough. I’m considering selling my monitor and a Marshall 50 I own and buying a 10 inch Alto brand speaker which is the same brand of my main PA speakers. I hoping the balance would be similar to my main output.

The Music:
I played a total of 4 hours with 2 or 3 breaks. I can’t remember, must have been the wine and cheese party I had. I always seems as that the first 4 or 5 songs go really well then, I must start thinking too much because then it seems I get up tight and flub up parts of the next 2 or 3 songs.
All in all it went very good. HNI wrote up a very nice review which I proudly posted on timheenan.com.
I am really starting to have fun now!!!

Special thanks to:
• Randy and his partners for giving me yet another opportunity to hone my skills and do what I love.

Looking forward to the next one,

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Gig #38 Phil’s Retirement party


Gig #38 Phil’s Retirement Party

The Gig:

This was a retirement party for a friend of mine.

The plan was to have the party outside starting about 7 p.m.  My wife and I arrived about an hour and a
half before I was to start playing. I wanted to make sure we had time to say
our hello’s and set up my gear.  Phil and
Jill’s home is beautiful with a deck that runs across the back of their house overlooking
their back yard and a fire pit. The first order of business was to determine
the best location to set my gear. Jill told me that their guest would more than
likely be moving about between the fire pit, up to their deck where there is a
large seating area and their house.  I also wanted to make sure that I selected a location that would provide access
to run my speaker cabling without being in area where people would be walking.  Once set up I did a sound check.  I tuned up the master volume at approximately
the lever I set it while practicing in my basement – wow, it seemed very loud.  I don’t quite understand this because I know
in the basement the carpet and acoustical ceiling tile absorb a lot of the
sound, but I thought that outside it would even more dense or require more
volume to move the sound but obviously I was wrong.  So I adjusted levels and started performing.

The Lesson Learned:

As I stated above, it seems that outside I may not need to set the
volume lever as high as I do indoors to produce the same effect. I’ve done at
least 2 other gigs outside but with my Fender Acoustisonic combo amp which is a
totally different system so there really is no comparison.

I was very pleased with the overall sound.  It seemed very full and whole.  Again I’m quite pleased with the equipment I purchase
and that I went with the 15 inch rather than the 12 inch speakers.  They are definitely heavier, but I’m always satisfied
with them.

The Music:

I played 2 sets and just less than 3 hours.  It has been 3 months since my last official gig.  But I felt that it went pretty well

The reason I had not done a gig for 3 months is because I took the
summer off.  I played at a party or two
and around a few bon-fires over the summer but nothing that qualified as a gig.
I had hit the 14 month of Tim’s 52 gigs pretty hard and was ready for some time
off.  But now I am back at it.  As of date I have had two gigs this fall and
2 more booked at the Log Jam in Grand Ledge.

The current count from the hit counter on my web site is now 86,153.

Special thanks to:

Phil and Jill for inviting me to perform
at their event.  I had a blast and as
always, it is always a pleasure hanging out with you two

Looking forward to the next one,


Gig #37, Gus Games 2012


Gig #37 Gus Games

The Gig:

This was my second gig at this location.  The first time was September 2, 2011.  The event was a get together of family and
friends after the men’s annual golf outing.
This time the event was a gathering of family and friends to celebrate
the life of Brian “Gus” Pline (May 28, 1957 – August 12, 2008). Following
is an excerpt from one of the emails that I received from his daughter:

”My dad was such an
amazing person and unexpectedly lost his battle with cancer nearly 4 years ago
at the age of 51. I grew up attending “Horse” basketball tournaments that he
and his buddies had and I also played in many Gus Macker tournaments each
summer with him as my coach. After my parents bought the cottage, every weekend
included playing bean bags. This year marked the 4th annual Gus Games
tournament which we do each year the weekend after Memorial Day to honor and
remember him.”
Amy Gulford.

I was honored
to be asked back to play at such a personal gathering.

It has been just over three month’s since
I did this gig, but still as I look back on the pictures, the emails from Amy
and reminisce about the gig, I feel the emotion like it was yesterday.  I’ve mentioned it before but I must comment
again that the journey of Tim’s 52 Gig’s has proven to me that it’s a lot more
than just gaining experience playing and singing, it has offered many
opportunities like this gig to meet great people and for a short time be a part
of their personal celebrations.

Lesson Learned:

Nothing new to add to this topic this time

The Music:

Looking back at the set list I played about 40 -45 songs.

I played a few newer songs and messed them up a little but it
didn’t matter.  Let me explain… prior to
the gig I had a few email exchanges with Amy to work out details. In one of the
emails I include my song list for her review and asked her if there any other
songs that are not on the list that she would like me to learn. I loved her

As far as songs that I’d like you to
learn, I don’t want you to have to put in a bunch of extra time, but I’ll list
some songs that my dad liked to see if you could maybe learn one or two of
them. If not, don’t worry it’s not a big deal.”

I happily did my best to learn 3 or 4 of them.  Even though the 4
songs I did were a little bit out of my vocal range and I didn’t have time to
practice enough to get them down good, I did my best and sang them anyway and it
was obvious by the response I received that my effort were very much

A side note:

I ask Amy if I could post
the picture that she sent me and a little about Gus Games in this blog.  She responded with “Absolutely you can post the picture and
any info you’d like. My sole determination after losing my dad was that I would
do everything in my power to keep his memory alive
” She even wrote and published a book
about her dad.  Amy also shared a link to
a video that was put together for his memorial………http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-ybM3BPOsc

Special thanks to:

  • Amy and her family for having me out
    again and for inviting me to share in such a person event.


Looking forward to the next one,


Gig #36 Karen’s 50th Birthday Celebration

Gig #36
Gig #36 KarenB’s 50th Birthday Celebration
The Gig:
This was a birthday party for Karen, a very special friend of ours. He husband, Al,
reminded me that one of the things that Karen will want at her party, to put
her in her happy place as she puts it, is to have Timmy play and sing around
the fire. Unfortunately Mother Nature did not cooperate with bon fire plans but
that didn’t stop us from carrying on with our party indoors.
After dinner at the State Room with Karen and Al and a few of their family members,
Kim and I and a couple of other friends headed back to our place to continue
the festivities were other friend joined in as the evening carried on. A little
later in the evening, Al queued me to start playing. I gathered up a few shakers
(little plastic egg shaped rhythm instruments) and a cajon drum so that others
would get involved if they wanted to; then grabbed my guitar and started the
The Lesson Learned:
Before I started playing I tuned my guitar in standard tuning but down a half step.
This means for example; when I’m playing a “C” cord in a standard formations
(with no capo) I’m actual playing them in a slightly lower key which fits my
vocal range better on some songs but yet I’m able to form the cords in a
standard formation. In all of the gigs that I have done to date, I have turned
my guitar to a standard tuning for my first 2 sets then before set three I tune
down as described above so I can sing the songs in this lower range. The pros
are that I can be more versatile in my song selection, not having to wait until
I’m tuned down to play some songs that I might want to play earlier during the
gig like, Melisa by the Almond Brothers, which is a
mellower song that would work better near the beginning of the gig instead of
the last set which for most of my gigs should ‘rock out” a little more. Also,
the versatility allows me to play a requested song anytime instead having to
explain to the requester that I can’t play their request unit the last set when
I tune down which in not good for customer service. On a side note – one must
remember that if you’re out getting paid gigs and you want to continue to get
them, you must conduct your business as a business a remember that the customer
is always right with his song choice and when he wants to hear you play it. The
cons to tuning down is that every song that I normally play open (no capo) now
has to be played with a capo. In my opinion, playing open without a capo always
sounds better because the string seem to sustain – ring out longer, producing a
fuller sound. Also, when a capo is clamped on across the strings often the
result is a string or two out of tune. I’ve given this “half step down”
tuning matter a lot thought over the last several months. I decided to test the
waters since this was a private gig where I would be surrounded by my
non-critiquing friends. I was very pleased with results. I started off playing
some of the songs that I normally had to play during my last set. Some of my
friends commented that they liked the song(s) and that they had never heard me
play them. They never heard me play them because either at home I seldom tune
down or they have left the bar by the time of my last set. I’m anxious to play
the next gig tuned down and to rearrange my song list.
The Music
Karen and a few others wanted to know what qualifies a gig to be a gig that I blog
about and wanted to know if this one qualifies. Quite often when I play an
impromptu for friends, I don’t count them as gigs and therefore don’t blog
about them. I explained that for a gig to qualify it must be are pre-arranged,
it must contain at least one set of material (approx. 45 minutes) and it must
be presented in somewhat of a structured feature within the event. Meaning not
just an unplanned jam session in the corner where people have me try to play a
song I don’t know how to play or where there is constant interruptions because
other more important things a taking place in the moment. These things are fine
with me but I don’t consider them a structured “gig”. So yes this is Gig # 36
Special thanks to:
Al and Karen for
always being so supportive and asking me to play on her special day
Looking forward to the next one,

Gig #35 Ivan’s Stress Free Bar (British Virgin Islands)

Gig #35


Gig #35 Ivan’s
Stress Free Bar (British Virgin Islands)

The Gig:



My wife and I with our friends Al and Karen were recently on
vacation in the British Virgin Islands. Because we are all huge Kenny Chesney

fans we set off to Jost Van Dyke to have a few drinks at Foxy’s and Ivan’s,
both of which Kenny sings about in his song Somewhere In The Sun. Kenny
also shot his video No Shoe No Shirt No Problem at Ivan’s. We made our
way to Ivan’s; Al went in first and bumped into Ivan. We all met Ivan and got
pictures with him. Al made some small talk with Ivan then he seem to disappear
then reappear with a guitar in hand that he brought out for me to play. Ivan
opened the case and started looking for a string to replace the E string which
was broken. He gave me a B string and told me that it would work. He said that
he use to play and that Kenny gave him this guitar with a smile on his face
then he just seem to disappear again. All I could think was “what, Kenny gave
you this guitar”. I played 3 or 4 songs before our lunch was ready then played
for another half hour or so after that. As I played out front on the picnic
table a few people started to hang around to listen while watching the listing
to the waves roll in. Karen turned on her camera then handed it to Kim to
capture this incredible moment. Thanks so much guys for understanding my
passion for music, creating, capturing and sharing this magical moment for me.
We’ll call this Gig #35.


The Lesson Learned:

Luck comes to those who are prepared for opportunity
when it presents itself.

During the whole time we were on vacation, I
carried 2 guitar picks, capo and short song list songs everywhere we went in
case the opportunity presented itself, which it did.


Special thanks to:
Al for finding Ivan and working his magic

Kim and Karen for the video

And all three of you for creating and sharing the moment.


Looking forward to the next one,