The Back of My Mind: A clear head at last.

It was early in 2016, and I’d been playing Ukulele for about 18 months. I still muted my playing and wasn’t particularly confident. Then, a simple thing happened, and changed everything.

Vasco had a lot of musical friends that he kept in contact with. None of them lived nearby, they’d all moved away, but when they were in the area they’d always call in, and generally the evening would end up with them drinking lots of beer or wine, and lots of music being played.

A friend called in one day, and of course the music jam happened. This friend was a banjo and Uke player, and when I said I played Uke insisted I join in. So I did, albeit reluctantly. We all played together for a couple of songs and then Vasco and I did a little duet that we’d been practising. We sang harmony vocals, I played basic chords, and Vasco did lots of tricky little things on his guitar. I think the song was maybe ‘Magic Woman Touch’ by the Hollies. And then, with a bit of false courage, (they’d both had a good number of beers by then, so I felt safe), I played and sang a piece by myself that I’d been practising.

Nug Nug, Victoria, Australia.
Buffalo River at Nug Nug, Victoria, Australia.

After I’d finished, his mate shook his head and said to me ‘ That was beautiful’

And that was all I needed! Pow, the doors opened in my head. Someone thought that I was good enough. Someone actually thought that I was good enough. Granted, he was close to drunk, but that was beside the point. I only had a Ukulele, and yet this chap, a paid musician himself, thought it was ‘beautiful’. In that instant, I changed!

Those words were all I needed. I play properly now, and don’t mute at all. Mistakes- yep, every second chord sometimes, it seems. But I don’t care. I experiment. I play badly, I play well, I sing, I chunk, I do whatever I want to do, because once, a couple of years ago, someone thought it was beautiful! If friends call around for a music jam, I join in too and man, those jams are so very, very liberating!

About the title The Back of My Mind- John Hiatt. I love the feel of this song. Mainly E’s and A’s with the occasional B and F#m thrown in to keep you on your toes. John Hiatt is a great songwriter, with a lovely voice.


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