Wood ‘n’ Lips Open Mic finds new home at Hooleys Public House in Rancho San Diego

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For several years, fans of Wood ‘n Lips Open Mic would flock to the Kaffee Meister in Santee. But at last year’s end, the coffee house along with many other establishments in the county, lowered the curtain on singers because the coffeehouse could not afford the expense of purchasing licenses to play copyrighted music in public.

As much as people do enjoy listening to original music by local performers, every crowd loves to sing along with popular tunes.

Woods’ search for a new home of Wood ‘n’ Lips is not a new ordeal. Since its formation in 2001, the Open Mic has had to make several changes in their location. Though Woods gets weary in his search for a new locale, he does not give up.

“We’re not like some open mics where people come in once to play and you’ll never see them again,” he said.

The very first Wood ‘n’ Lips Open Mic—named for Woods’ last name and the name of the other original organizer—came together during the week of September 11, 2001.

“The opportunity for people to sing turned out to be a very healing thing,” Woods said. “We are a family of friends.”

It has never failed to amaze and please Woods that a steady stream of people have continued over the years to make the Thursday night gatherings a regular calendar item. In fact, because so many people have asked to perform, the sign-up sheet and designation of performance times became a necessity.

“We actually are a good venue for the amateur to come play in front of friendly people,” he said.

Truth is, the performers support and encourage each other. They are indeed a family of friends.

It looks like there’s a chance for that to be happening again. Wood ‘n Lips reconvened for the first time in half a year at the Hooleys Public House in Rancho San Diego on May 2. A good crowd came to listen and perform.

“Thank you all for your patience and for your being here tonight—and for ordering food from the restaurant,” said Tim Woods, who is the founder of Wood ‘n Lips Open Mic. “I do hope this is a keeper.”

“It’s we who want to thank you, Tim, for doing all the hard work of finding a place. And thanks go to your assistant Greg Gross, too,” said Daniel Clifford, one of the performers. He played his guitar and performed a song he had written, called “Who Needs Love Anyway?” The audience picked up on it fairly quickly and sang along with him.

Another performer, Bob Michaels, engaged everyone in singing along with him, “Spooky” by Classics IV. The spectators dined on shepherd’s pie and other Irish specialties and sang along with hearts fully engaged.

Tom Shadduck got everyone laughing and eventually singing along with the chorus of Billy Currington’s “Like My Dog.”

After Shadduck’s fifteen-minute slot of time, Karina Benish got up and did a very entertaining rendition of “The Sick Note,” an Irish tune one might compare to the old American favorite, “Ninety-Nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall.”

When it was Ray Poe’s turn, Woods and Gross joined him in playing the guitar and singing. “Me and Bobby McGee” was one of the evening’s favorite sing-along tunes.

It was a good evening for performers and spectators alike. New performers are always encouraged to join in. Sign-ups for performances start at 5:30 p.m. and then names are drawn out of a hat to determine the line-up of performers.

Wood ‘n’ Lips Open Mic has received a thumbs-up from Hooleys for its regular Thursday night appearance. But on one of the Thursday evenings this month, the open mic will be meeting at the Hooleys in Grossmont Center.

For now, Hooleys is the place to be for Wood ‘n’ Lips Open Mic. The best way to find out the latest news is the venue’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheWoodnLipsOpenMic.