Craig Cummings Music

Day #1 – Singer Songwriter Cape May Conference


Good Morning From Chilly Cape May NJ!
Sandy and I arrived in town about 1:30 after an effortless drive north. Checked in at the conference after a great Tex-Mex lunch at Geckos, dropped in on a presentation by Paula Savastano on the good, the bad, and the ugly of the music profession (imagine covering that in one hour!), and then proceeded on the see the keynote speaker of the day, Tracey Grammar.

Tracey is a well-known folk singer who performs the songs of her ex-partner (in more ways than one), Dave Carter, tells great stories, and lights up the room with her presence, her voice, and her gift for flawlessly delivering a song. During the keynote, she mixed storytelling with song, allowing the attendees a chance to understand how she survives and thrives as a folk musician. She communicated the necessity of making music with a warmth and easiness that belies the constant challenges faced by indie musicians of all types.

During the question and answer period she shared the following insights:
When asked about the constant rejection that musicians face, she replied simply, “I have an audience. I find them and they find me.” It reminded me to stay true to what I do and pay attention to who pays attention.

Another musician asked her how she remembers the words to the countless songs she performs. Tracey explained that her technique for remembering words was making them into a movie in her head. As long as the movie is playing the words come along. “When you can’t see the movie,” she revealed, “It’s time to put it (the song) aside and come back to it some other time.” As someone who deals with the challenges of remembering words, I appreciate how difficult that can be…and I think I’ll try that technique.

In the evening, Tracey performed a set Dave Carter’s songs and ended with the one song of her own that she performs for live audiences. Her delivery was sure and sweet. Most songs were preceded with a story that led the listener to a deeper understanding of what they were about to hear. A performance like this is instinctive. There are plenty of things you can learn to do well as a musician, and there are some things you either have or you don’t. Tracey delivered.

Day #2 is coming up shortly as I emerge from the hotel room. I’ll be checking out some presenters and then listening a bit to today’s keynote, Ellis Paul. I’ll be performing tonight at 7:30 pm at Lucky Bones Grille, on Jew Jersey Rt.109. Stop by and see me. I’ll try to keep the lessons I learned yesterday in mind.

Peace and a Cold Beer.


Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: