I didn't know what else to call this post. If it sounds like a mini rant it might be, but I don't seem to be able to understand or see whats happening.
I'm playing in a 4 piece format New country band,( we have a long history of old and classic but have upped the song list, Urban, Bentley, Aldean, Hayes etc). Its Bass,drums,Steel and Guitar. 3 vocals.
I've found myself, (guitar/vocals, I guess I do a majority of the singing but not overwhelmingly so), I find myself performing what ever song it is, with good energy, and in the moment it just feels like I'm fronting a loungeband. It seems that the rest of the guys are playing in time, key and tempo, but its just laying there like a fish. So I shake it off and realize that its "MY" performance and that if I don't bring the goods why should they, and I hit the vocal, notes, phrasing, guitar chops, fills, add some stage presence and expression for good measure and after another verse and chorus I find that I'm still the only one on the bandstand thats carrying any sand. So then I just ratchet back to chord,vocal,and fill mode, right at the energy level thats being offered, which is very unsatisfying.
The bassist is really pretty good. Hind of a stickler for tempos.(hes a dancer ) Experienced and knowledgable, skill and vocal chops with a good ear. The steel play I've known for almost 20 years and played with him for much of it. He's not a monster player but really competent on C6 and E9, sings lead while comping, and does consistant harmony. He reads his lyrics, even after many gigs. The bassist reads lyrics sometimes off an iPad setup. I have to memorize them because without my glasses I couldn't see the printing.
So My questions are:
1. Can you deliver your strongest performance when your reading a lyric sheet.
2. Can a song be energetic without having the tempo run away.
3. Is the era of pedal steel lost on todays guitar driven country?
I have my opinions on the answers but so many of us have been doing this live for so long I sometimes need feedback outside the band members. We're mostly 55+ in age, good health and dress reasonably appropriately though not matching, just to give you a picture. None of the members are butt nuggets, all good responsible easy to hangout guys. 1 beer a night. Hats are occasionaly worn.
Sorry for excessive length but this is important. In any event I feel better typing it out.