Today is the 6 year anniversary of the first contact between Nick & Paige. It was strange to be reminded of this momentous occasion by way of a standardized Facebook "you've been friends for 6 years" automated video, but, alas, that is where we first connected. That makes today, 3/22/17, our 6 year anniversary.
What better way to begin our blog than to tell the story of how we met. This is my side of the story.
I was working as the Lesson Program Manager at Avenue N Guitars in Chicago, having found a steady groove of teaching and grabbing the occasional gig here and there. My performance life was in a lull and I craved the stage once again.
Through Ave N I became friends with beloved Chicago musician Casey McDonough who now plays with NRBQ among many others. Casey was on a stretch of gigs JP and the Cats in South Padre Island, TX along with Paige, where they played for the snowbirds and danced the night away.
Though the gigs were fun and exciting, Paige had been yearning for her own project, steeped in explosive rock-and-roll, soulful blues ballads, and sexy grooves, so she started asking Casey about players.
"I'm looking for a young, blues-based guitar player. Do you know anybody?"
After a moment, . . "I've got the guy. I've got the guy."
Shortly after this conversation, I get a text from Casey saying that this singer he's been working with is looking for a young, blues-based guitar player. I was hungry for a project, but having lead my own bands for so long, I was hesitant to jump in with another singer. Little did I know this is where it all begins.
All I knew about Paige was that she was a blues singer (those who know me know I'm picky about my blues.) she was on American Idol (those who know it's not my favorite show,) and that she wanted her own band. Attempting to save my judgement for later, I agreed to meet up, but I wasn't particularly excited.
At this time I was swamped with lessons. Even though I wasn't playing a lot, I was busy, staying late after work squeeze extra clients in at the end of the day. We agreed to meet at the Avenue N where the owners of the store were gracious enough to let me run rehearsals from time to time.
When Paige walked through the door, the first thing I thought was, "Oh, great, she's cute too? There's NO way this is going to go well." This was a big lesson for me about making assumptions about strangers.
When finally sat down to play, I hadn't really worked out the songs completely, but I had a good enough sense of the tunes that I knew it would play out well . . . And it did!
We had a great time jamming on Susan Tedeschi, Bill Withers, Grace Potter, and the list goes on. It was a great jam session and a successful evening.
After the rehearsal we headed across the street to The Sourthern to grab some adult beverages and hang out. By this time, my neighborhood friends had joined in the casual hang, as would happen most nights in Wicker Park at that time. I watched my friends do their best to flirt with Paige, but it was no match for our discussions of Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, and Gillian Welch.
After a bit of chatting I sat back, looked at Paige and said:
"I think we're gonna be good friends"