A Message from Mike

Shortleaf Band is “smoldering” 

Based on this past year it seems to be a valid word in regard to describing our band activity these days. 

Just a few short years ago we began teaming up with Dave Para and Cathy Barton to do some gigs, and it was such a musical delight to perform with them and to share time hanging out. 

Unfortunately we lost our friend and bandmate when Cathy passed with cancer last year. 

We called ourselves “Snorty Horse”…kind of a goofy name that showed we never took the name of a band too seriously. It was fun. 

We needed some time to heal after losing Cathy. Immersing ourselves into the music, and working mostly as a duet again became our focus. In addition, learning new music and filling up the weekends with gigs was a way to honor what she would have wanted us to do. 

That was short lived as we witnessed the introduction of the Corona Virus and it’s impact on the Entertainment Industry. The gigs stopped at St. Pat’s Day and fell like dominoes from then on. 

Performing as a business requires securing paying gigs in an effort to make more than you spend. Our motive has been to immerse ourselves and music endeavors to be as flexible as possible; to get as many gigs as possible with what we have to offer. Marketability that appeals to venues such as weddings, dances, historical festivals, house concerts, etc. 

These in turn require that the band become adaptable to perform a variety of music genres, including but not limited to Bluegrass, Old Time, Celtic, original songs and covers of other’s songs. We happen to love being flexible enough to perform a country rock song or a Scottish Strathspey. 

As a duet, myself and my partner Tenley Hansen, really never considered ourselves as part of an “industry” until that part of our lives shut down. The “Arts Industy”  has taken quite a hit! Small music performers such as us are small businesses that charge money in exchange for musical entertainment. They are Sole Proprietors, LLC’s and other forms of business that negotiate, correspond, make contracts, travel, pay for recordings, sell recordings, keep the books, buy equipment, take deductions, and pay taxes as would any other small business. 

Shortleaf Band is not doing much of that now, however, we are hopeful that the gigs will return bigger and better than ever. 

The Covid impact has not ruined our business. To the contrary we have enjoyed not traveling so much, and have spent more time learning and writing new music, and becoming better musicians. 

“Smoldering” describes us and our business in light of current circumstances over which we have little control. 

We are “smoldering”, not blazing away, but keeping the coals hot, waiting for some added fuel. 

Some of our peers have  embraced virtual gigs as a way to reach an audience and generate some additional income. We are learning more about this and have been updating some of our tech equipment to post some videos on-line. 

One of the many gift’s we received from Cathy, and others is one that has helped us heal and carry on following her loss, and the  Covid Crisis…. “Inspiration” 

To seek a frame of mind that will allow us to enjoy the endeavor, while reaching for new levels of competence is our goal.

Play that funky music, and absorb all of the good that it has to give! Keep plugging away, practice your craft, learn new music, become better! 

That’s us, Shortleaf Band. See you down the road! 

Michael Fraser


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