American Howdown, acoustic bands and more..

Another common type of dance that we get asked for is the American barn dance band. The requests come as american country dancing, square dance;   square dances; square dancing;  barn dancing American hoedown and so on. 

We also sometimes get requests for line dancing bands. This is something that is really quite specialising needs lessons to make it successful and it’s something that we don’t cover. 

Another thing we get a lot of questions about is the first dance. If we are supplying a functional covers band, then normally this dance is played by the band and is chosen by the bride and groom from the bands standard repertoire. It’s the bride and groom want something that is not part of the band’s repertoire, some bands will earn specially for them, either free of charge or at some additional cost. Don’t assume that any band can or will perform any song. So if you have something that is a must for your wedding receptions first dance, state this when you make your booking. If the band are unable or unwilling to perform the song, or if they are wanting an additional fee which you are unwilling to pay, then we will of course refund your deposit if you do not wish to continue with the booking. But this has to be stated at the time of booking. Once the booking is made, and if the band cannot do your song, we can’t cancel the booking and refund your deposit. An alternative in such a situation is to play CD for the first dance. 

When the band that has been booked is a ceilidh band, a jazz band, or a barn dance band, then the weddings first dance needs to be something that is from that music genre, and not some piece of pop music that can’t possibly be played by such a band. If we get asked for something that is impossible we would suggest an alternative first dance and give the bride and groom some first dance ideas. If the first dance suggestions don’t appeal as wedding dances for them, we would suggest playing a track that they supply on a CD or an iPod, which can be played through the dance bands PA system. If they do this, then they can have anything a like for their wedding first dance, and there need be no restriction to their favourite wedding first dance ideas. 

Acoustic is a dangerous word. Many brides and grooms organisers of birthday parties misunderstands what this means in terms of a band, and make invalid assumptions. We asked for all sorts of things to do with acoustics such as an acoustic wedding band; acoustic wedding songs;           acoustic classical guitar;  acoustic bass;    acoustic songs for wedding, where in each case the word acoustic has a somewhat different meaning.           

When someone asks for acoustic wedding music, are they asking for a band that plays without amplification? This is what they would get if they hired a harpist or a string quartet for their wedding ceremony. They may be asking this in terms of Acoustic wedding bands for the evening wedding reception, probably playing music to dance to. Here they would be expecting the music to be played on instruments which were acoustic in the sense that they made sound of their own (i.e. they have some form of sandbox a resonator so that you don’t need any electronic amplification to be able to hear sound from the instrument, unlike an electric guitar, electric bass or electric piano, all of which make no sound unless they’re plugged in and have power on.)

But this doesn’t mean that in the situation of a raucous birthday party or a wild wedding reception, that they could play without amplification. The band would make sound, but not nearly enough sounds to be heard over the din of the revellers. They may be on to play totally acoustically, i.e. without amplification, in a concert situation where everybody is quietly sitting and listening, and appreciating the music. This is hardly likely to be the case at a party, whether it’s a fiftieth birthday party or a wedding celebration.

A similar situation pertains when someone asks for an acoustic guitarist to play at their dinner or corporate event. An acoustic guitar doesn’t make a lot of sound. It’s enough sound in the concert situation, as described above, where people are quietly listening, but what is your real life situation. If this is a small dinner party in a small room of a historic building, where people are chatting in a civilised fashion, then indeed the guitar could be played totally acoustically, without amplification. But if it is a military banquet in the officer’s mess, these are typically quite raucous affairs, and you would never hear the guitarist unless they used amplification.

So the higher has to be aware of these things when they ask for classical or acoustic guitar;     acoustic guitarist for wedding; search for acoustic bands for hire or acoustic guitarist for hire.

Something that does puzzle me though, and I’m not sure that I have a real understanding of what people are looking for, is when we get requests for acoustic singers for hire or wedding acoustic songs. What is the person really looking for? Probably the only situation that irish music;      a singer will perform without amplification is when it singing in a church, which will invariably have a good acoustic, what a civil wedding ceremony in a relatively sensibly sized room. They would normally be performing classical music in an operatic style voice. Acoustic scene doesn’t work for folk singers, in part because most venues are too noisy for the folk singer who typically does not have an operatic style of voice, which is modified to produce high volume and projection. They would normally have quite a limited volume, but would have a voice that was high in character. Similar priced jazz singers. Although some jazz vocalists do have strong voices (though most don’t), loud operatic star projection cannot be used, as this changes the quality of the sound and doesn’t give the rich mellowness that is a characteristic of most jazz styles. When it comes to functional covers bands, the term of acoustic singer is totally irrelevant. The microphone and the PA system, and often high volume PA system, is an inherent characteristic of the genre.