I was on sabbatical at the time, a music sabbatical; so when I got home I fleshed it out and added it to the repertoire of tunes I took into the studio for the project I was working on called Let Go. I'd wanted a piano song in the mix, so fellow producer Doug Davis and I made our way to Mitch Easter's studio to lay down the piano track.
Fast forward a couple of years. My musical forays led me into a band, Mediocre Bad Guys, as keyboardist and backing vocals. Originally pegged as a Jack Johnson cover band (thus the name), we eventually branched out into other covers and later started working on originals. But we were particular about our originals, because lead singer Les Slate and his solid smooth vocals drove our mojo in a way we weren't willing to deviate from. Any original tunes had to be tailored to him.
I can't remember if I mentioned it or if fellow bandmate Jerry did, but one way or another we found ourselves at a rehearsal playing through The Dance - albeit a half-step lower and in a quite different style from the piano-based track off my album. We sped it up and let the guitars sit in the driver's seat. Changing the essence of a song in such dramatic fashion doesn't always work. But here, it absolutely did. The Second Dance became a regular part of our live repertoire and found its way onto our debut album. It was my only contribution to the project, and I was more than okay with that.
My move from Mount Airy coincided with a pretty steep decline in music gigs. Charlotte's music scene is already saturated with area musicians, and most places have a rotation they're comfortable with and therefore are less inclined to take a chance on some new guy who cut his teeth in the Mayberry music scene. I find myself holding a guitar between the microphone and Bose tower here and there - a neighborhood pool gig, a winery. Mostly at FABO, a quaint little coffee bar on the south side of town.
So when I do play, since I don't always know if there's another gig in my future, I try to play The Dance. As a general rule I tend to shy away from originals; most places like these tend to be more cover-friendly. People want to hear songs they know. But I make an exception for The Dance, like I did last night. It's kind of a Third Dance, to be honest. Not a slow piano tune. Not the up-tempo full band version, either. Something in between.
And they don't realize it, but they're part of the dance with me. They've always been. They're on the plane out of Austin with the woman and the baby. They're in the recording studio with Mitch Easter and his killer piano. They're at a Bad Guys rehearsal for a first run-through. And they're with me in that moment, a moment that won't ever exist again, sacred ground.
Like the song's bridge says: Everyone's a part of us.