Julie Berthelsen performing with Soren Reiff and his orchestra

Guest appearance with a house-band – part 3

Other things that can cause problems

Yesterday I wrote about the style of the song you will perform with. What other things can cause problems for the musicians individually or the whole band when you are about to do a guest appearance with a house-band?

Maybe you know a certain song where you will shine brilliantly, but it might not be the right choice if the overall result isn’t top notch. A song that seems simple and straight forward to you, is not necessarily easy for everyone. An Icelandic or Faroese folk song that exists only on a sheet of music without bar-lines and proper notation, since it never has been sung in time, is almost impossible for a Danish or American musician to feel comfortable with within ten minutes, since the style and the sound just isn’t what we have grown up with. Or if the foundation for your entire song a fast harp-run, an advanced pedal-steel-country-guitar, or a super advanced programmed drum groove, you might want to consider having an alternate song as a back up, which could sound great the first time thru, played by a regular combo.

A photo from the rehearsals to a TV show - Julie Berthelsen played with me and my band, when she did a "Guest appearance with a house-band" in the program "Danmarksindsamlingen"

A photo from the rehearsals to a TV show – Julie Berthelsen played with me and my band, when she did a “guest performance with a house-band” in the program “Danmarksindsamlingen”

The more virtuosity a certain song calls from a band member, the more risk. It will also have an impact on the total amount of potential energy that can come across the stage from the band.

It is important for you to examine the line-up and the type of band you are going to perform with. Maybe your strength lies within a particular genre but if that genre isn’t the band’s forte, the total result and thus your performance, will work better if you find a compromise where both you and the band will work well. If this isn’t possible it is probably better to say ”no thank you”, to the offer about performing with the band.

Fortunately, a band that is chosen to be the house-band does usually have a good diversity and can cover most genres. But the less virtuosity and background knowledge your song demands, the easier it will work out and the better the overall result will be – and you will leave a strong and impressive performance.

All the very best

Soren

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