A Guitarist’s Nightmare 9- first concert

Summer 2012

That summer I settled into a routine of visits to therapy, therapy exercises at home, practicing, and playing. I wasn’t allowed to drive a car for quite a while and Ingrid had to drive me to gigs. The Albany Bistro in Decatur asked if I could play one and I agreed. They were willing to let me play a shorter set than usual if my pain got too bad, but I did my normal time. The wait staff even carried my gear out to the car. I wasn’t expecting that.

My first public concert was scheduled for City Lights and Stars Series on July 20th, three months since the accident, the Classical-Blues Cabaret with me, Ingrid on piano, blues guitarist Dave Gallaher, Ken Watters on flugelhorn, Emily Jones on guitar and mandolin, and Darrell Tibbs on percussion. It was a musical dream team, but I was apprehensive about how well I would do and worried that the mental and physical trauma would put me off my game. I was getting stronger every day, the swelling in my wrist had gone down to the point I could wear a watch again, but I was unsure of myself. Here’s a video I put up on YouTube:

It was good to be out again, and see friends. I went to have lunch at Lowe Mill, an arts complex in an old textile mill in Huntsville. We had lunch at Happy Tummy, got to catch up with people and show off my elbow scar. Dustin Timbrook, Lowe Mill’s social media guru, took a picture of it:

phil scar

As the concert approached we had rehearsals and I was feeling more myself. I gave tickets to my therapists and surgeon, and my plan was to publicly acknowledge them at the concert, let them take a bow.

I emailed the Huntsville Times arts reporter Paul Wallen about what I had been through and we did a phone interview. He did a great job and told my story accurately and sensitively. It was cool to have my x-ray in the paper.


(to view the article, copy and paste the linkĀ into your browser)


The concert went really well, I opened with a solo, the Prelude from Bach’s first Cello Suite. It was good to be back onstage, I did fine. Dr. Griffin was not able to attend but Jessica and Nicole were there. The piece I chose to dedicate to them was Leo Brouwer’s Una Dia en Noviembre. I alternated the melody with Ken, it’s really cool hearing it on both guitar and flugelhorn.. Ingrid played piano and tied it all together. Jessica and Nicole got up and took their bows, Nicole loved it but Jessica was a little freaked out by having to get up in front of the crowd. It was a great moment for me to get to acknowledge what these women meant to me and thank them for all of their hard work and skill.

After the show I got to visit with them and Nicole pointed out I was rubbing my wrist a lot. Yes, the left wrist was having issues. I hoped they would go away eventually.