Way back in February, I stumbled upon a Facebook post from another local musician, about a wonderful place that he was playing: The Murphy Inn, located in Saint Clair.
Last night, we experienced the inn for ourselves, in all its hometown glory.
Arriving early, we still had no idea what to expect form this hidden gem, so far off the beaten path.
Located in St. Clair, Michigan, near the river, and away from all of the hustle and bustle that wears down mortals in the real world.
Stepping through those vintage white doors was akin to taking a trip back in time to a location and era that is now forever lost.
Carl and I surveyed the layout as soon as we walked in the doors. Rather than bringing our gear inside and setting up, we decided to sit at the bar and soak up some of the abundant ambiance.
Telling no one who we were, and or why we were there, we ordered a couple beers and engaged in some idle chatter, while sizing up the venue and its’ quant inhabitants.
Playing bars, restaurants and lounges for more than forty years, has trained us to gather intel very quickly. Here, everyone was friendly. We got that right away.
There were two, happy, hardworking ladies behind the bar; each of them offering a friendly smile and interesting anecdote. They were sizing us up as well, and after a couple sly questions, one gal announced that we were the entertainment for the night.
Sharp, pretty sharp.
Hmmmmm . . . we were the entertainers for the night.
Since we had been “outed”, we felt that it was time to set up and get our sound squared away for the show.
It was an old room, and one that had played host to many a band, artist or musician. Those walls have absorbed lots of notes over the years, and probably has seen its share of craziness.
No craziness tonight.
Tonight would be fairly low key, as the rain and cool temps, along with the past holiday have put a small blanket on anything really crazy.
That’s ok. We didn’t really wish to be thrown out of the inn on our first night.
We began the night with a quiet little Jimmy Buffett song about a storm coming. We thought that appropriate, with the hurricane impending on the coast. More songs about rain and storms followed. Sensitively, or course. And, no, we did not do the Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald.
Our set was pretty straight forward. Just getting to know the room and people; and letting them know what we were capable of.
After the set finished and we had a moment to take a breather, we thought that we would check in at the bar and make sure that we weren’t being shown the door straight way.
Everything was fine. The gals liked us, the manager liked us, and the ladies that where visiting from Florida liked us as well.
Two of them were owner and proprietor of a busy little place near Clearwater. As they exited after listening to our first set, they let us know that we could stop by for a week and entertain any time. We might just take them up on that!
After chatting with the regulars at Murphy’s, we were ready to assault them with our second set of music. A little more country, a little more Island and a few more oldies seemed just the right recipe to fit the mood.
I have said this many times: that it is the people that we play for. It is the people that make everything we do worthwhile, and that sentiment was never more earnest than on a night like this.
Everyone that we talked to enjoyed our music. Everyone that we talked with had smiles and stories and quaint little suggestions and questions.
They wanted to know who we were, where we were from and why we traveled way up there to play.
It made for a very interesting evening. Some people couldn’t even believe how old we were. Imagine that?
(Spoiler alert . . . OLD!)
Since the crowd was getting more friendly, and warming up to us, “outsiders”, there were suddenly many requests to entertain.
We did what we could. There were now many to play, and we were running out of time.
Sometime during our last set, one of the ladies in the crowd joined us for a song. With a little prodding, she took over the mic, and wowed the crowd with the classic country tune, The Rose.
Sometimes Carl and I enjoy the occasional artist sharing their talents with us, even more than the patrons. This was one of those times.
Out time at the Inn flew past. Before we knew it, it was time to pack everything up and load it for the next gig.
The friendly staff bid good-bye, and hoped that we would be back soon to sing more of our music. So did we.
It was a very interesting night, and one that we would remember for years.
We learned a lot that night. How wonderful it can be to find ourselves out in the country on a Thursday night. at an Inn by a river. A place that beckons the tired and weary to “Come in!”, “Make yourselves at home.” “Eat, listen and relax.”
Life can be exhausting. However, there are timeless places that provide refuge and relaxation. Even, at times, much needed entertainment.