Music Gone to the Dogs

On Sunday night the George Maurer Trio had another gig at Crossings Gallery & Gift Shop in Zumbrota, MN. We love it there, it's part concert space, part classroom, part art space, part cool stuff store, all housed inside one of the (former) libraries that Andrew Carnegie built between 1883 and 1929. The Zumbrota Carnegie Library was built in 1906 and has the distinction of being the smallest of them all.

Each time we play there we see a lot of the same faces, and some new ones, too. The audiences are enthusiastic and surprisingly not jaded, when you look at some of the other acts who have performed there: Prudence Johnson, John Gorka, Dean Magraw, Michael Johnson and others.

Marie, the owner, used to have a part Chow Chow named Biscuit who would roam the audience during performances, and maybe even make her way to the stage now and again. Biscuit died not too long ago and has been replaced by Odie, an old yellow lab mix that she got from an animal rescue group. Odie is as friendly as Biscuit ever was, and like his predecessor, roams the audience looking for a scratch or a pet. And Odie likes to bark.

Each time the audience applauded, Odie would bark. The louder and more boisterous the applause, the louder and more boisterous the bark. It became a joke from stage as we would bark back at the dog.

When we do trio gigs, we generally close with the old standard Caldonia, which features the lyric:

Caldonia, Caldonia, what makes your big head so hard?

Which I changed to:

Odie, Odie, bark bark bark bark bark bark bark!

During the scat solo, I just started barking, trying to match Odie's pitch and rhythm. Odie obligingly barked back. I started "trading fours" with him, I'd bark, he'd bark back, it was almost like we had rehearsed it somehow. The audience went crazy, laughing, smiling, clapping... it was an amazing moment!

After the concert I gave him a good scratching.

A lot of different people asked if I had planned that, which I hadn't, it just came to me on the spur of the moment. Oh, how I wish I had said that the dog and I had talked it over beforehand!


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