I don't think there is any way I'm going to be able to tie this blog into user assistance or user experience, so I'm writing it off as "Hey, it's Friday and it's my blog :-)"
Went to a gritty little bar in Atlanta's mid-town last night that has an open bluegrass jam session every Thursday night. I mostly play alone-- three times a year I get together with an old high school friend and play Dobro to mostly what would be called folk songs.
I was nervous! My minimum objective was to find the place and walk in with my guitar. If I only did that, it would be a baby step in the right direction. My other objectives were not to cry and not to throw up.
These folks were good! It turned into a group of about 4 fiddlers, 2 banjos, 2 mandolins, a stand up bass, and a couple of guitars--oh yeah, and a Dobro player, me!
Not only did I meet all my objectives, I actually got my Dobro out and played along. Bluegrass jams are an interesting dynamic. There is a real culture of inclusion. Every player is given an opportunity to solo. Sometimes when I got the nod, I could only shake my head and say "I got nothing." But then there were the times when the lead banjo guy or the guy on bass would say, "Take it, Dobro," that I had something and jumped in.
They called me "Dobro!" A sixty-one year old man should not get giddy, but I gotta tell you, I'm still flying over that!
Playing bluegrass in a group that big, what with its driving rhythms and full sound, had a very physical sensation. It reminded me of when I would go sailing in a brisk wind. There is an awesome sensation of being moved by something that is both soft and powerful at the same time. Air pushing a boat at adrenaline-provoking speed--vibrating strings carrying you in a current of harmonious sound.
I will never be the same.