This weekend I sat in with Piper Road, a legendary bluegrass/swing band I’ve joined occasionally for many years. These guys are so transcendent on strings that I stick to percussion, banging and scratching rhythms in the background to whatever they’re playing. So it was to the band’s great surprise– and nobody more than myself– that after a scorching tune called, “Lucky’s Reel,” audience members started bellowing, “More triangle!” These were not my friends– who are accustomed to shilling my onstage forays– but total strangers. But my troops were more than happy to join the crusade, and before long the walls of Madison’s Harmony Bar reverberated with, “MORE TRIANGLE!!” Even in a fluky city like Madison, that must have piqued the curiosity of passers-by.
I felt gratified, if a bit sheepish after five other fine musicians had just played their guts out. It was vaguely reminiscent of the famous, “More cowbell!” Saturday Night Live skit spoofing Blue Oyster Cult, except I wisely opted not to press the moment with the band and risk impalement on my own dinger–so to speak. Still, it has me re-evaluating my songwriting focus. Perhaps a Joni Mitchell update: “I’ve looked at life from three sides now…” Maybe even a symphonic treatment– Concerto in B# (always a good triangle key) for Strings and Bent Iron. With any luck, “love triangle” will take on a whole new meaning before I’m through.