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Played My First Open Mic, Need Suggestions for More Songs


Gold Supporting Member
Howdy, TGP! Happy New Year!

After many months of prodding by a friend, I played my first open mic at a local bar and grill last night. It was a solo acoustic set, around 15 minutes. I hadn't played out like this in over 10 years, and despite being a touch nervous, I think I did okay. The crowd did react enthusiastically positive and the organizers want me back.

I played "Dead Flowers" by the Stones, "Peggy Sue" by Buddy Holly, "You're Still the One" by Shania Twain (a request by my wife), and then called my friend to the stage to play harmonica for me on "Knocking on Heaven's Door," which we did as sort of a mashup of the Dylan and GnR versions.

Here's the dilemma - I sort of shot the wad! These are most of the best songs I can play and sing solo on acoustic. I need a few, actually A LOT, of suggestions. What are some simple (three-four chords, major key) well-known acoustic songs that please the crowds? (There's no dancing or heavy cougar activity, so please don't suggest "Mustang Sally!" LOL)

Thanks in advance.
I know those feels! Its tough building a list with the right combination of our capabilities and what may or may not work. Here are some ideas, sort of a mish mash of songs I have done in the past:

John Prine .... we had fun with Thats the way the world goes round.
Wild World ... Cat Stevens
Sunshine go away
Stuck in the middle with you
Steal my kisses
Cover of the rolling stone
Me and Julio
Heart of Gold

Jim Croce has some possibilities although I never pulled it off. Beatles....John Denver....Ccr

Lots of options! Brain storming is fun :)


World’s Okayest Guitar Player
Gold Supporting Member
Handle With Care is a great song that is one of those "oh yeah" songs that really goes over well! The Traveling Wilbury's give you an endless supply of songs when you start looking into their solo carriers.
Put Pinball Wizard lyrics on top of or at the end of Folsom Prison Blues, another way to see if the crowd is paying attention.
Zeppelin's A Fool In The Rain is great broken down to just strumming C and G. Sing the melody line in between the verses. The bridge (at the whistle) is F > C > Am > G. I usually shorten it up some and come out of it by playing the melody lick on guitar and going back into the verse. On acoustic, its mellow enough to not have to sing as high as the recording.


Silver Supporting Member
I'm puzzled as to why you need more than four songs at an acoustic open mic.

Yer Blues

At an open mic I would just play what ever inspires you enough for you to actually sit down and learn it! Regardless of genre, technical ability, and everything else..... isn't one of the goals of playing music to get the audience to feel something on some level similar to the feeling you get from creating the music? Not sure how to describe it.... but it's only something music can do!

When the music hits you, you feel no pain.....


Is your friend with the harp going to be there again? Jonathan Edwards has some good harp + acoustic guitar songs on his album "Jonathan Edwards". "Shanty" is the best known and should go over very well:



Gold Supporting Member
Harry chapin - Circle


Pink Floyd - Mother

Beatles- I've Just seen a Face


Silver Supporting Member
the jeffrey gaines version of 'in your eyes' by peter gabriel

'Sweet Melissa' by the allman brothers - have your harmonica playing friend interlay some lines while you hold the chords down

'a good day for the blues' by storyville ... bonus if you play it capoed (5th fret) like grissom does to capture the subtle shimmer of the open chords ... arrange around the guitar solo or have the harp player lay one down
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Sounds like you've got it, OP. That's awesome your wife joined you. I tried to convince my wife to sing back up on two tunes for me and the answe was an unequivocal "no way!"

The Captain

Senior Member
Check out the PJ catalogue ( specifically the Benroya Hall acoustic show), including all their covers, and you will find a ton of grace suggestions - stuff like Thumbing MY Way, Betterman, IN Hiding, Wishlist, Immortality,

Throw Your Arms AROund ME - Hunters and Collectors
Wild Horses

Heaps of John Mayer songs translate well to acoustic too. Do Neon, and brains will explode. Do Daughters, for fun. It gets banged on endlessly, but it's a great song.

Lots of great acoustic White Stripes songs too, and lots of their stuff translates easily to acoustic. Check the Under Great Northern Lights DVD for all the acoustic side-shows JW did on that tour.

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