Karaoke at Rustic Cafe in East Lyme (CT Examiner/Werth)

Karaoke and “Superior” Fried Chicken at Rustic Cafe in East Lyme

EAST LYME — “Myth number one — you have to have the ability to sing,” explained Eric Foster of Old Lyme. “No, you have to make it appear you know how to sing.”

The wood-paneled room of East Lyme’s roadside Rustic Cafe was loud with conversation — regulars at the bar, high-tops and cafe tables filled with people eating and drinking. Foster and four friends, joined by two CT Examiner staff, had arrived early for the karaoke, which on Friday begins sometime after 9 p.m.

“The room needs to be loud and you need to be with friends, at least three to five people,” said Foster who claimed to have hundreds of songs in his repertoire. “And they have to be emotionally supportive of your effort,” he added.

Rustic Cafe’s menu offered burgers, fried chicken — which two members of the group judged superior — fish, sandwiches, chicken wings and a variety of fries.

Foster was first in the queue.

“John Mayer’s ‘Waiting on the World to Change,’” said Foster. “It deals with politics and rules of the existing system. It’s a song about anger and frustration.”

Foster said it was important to know the lyrics and to sing with feeling.

“You have to bring passion as well as expression in your voice. The entertainment comes from your moves. It helps to be a good dancer and you should match your gestures to the meaning of the song,” he said, demonstrating a fist clench that was key to the song “Waiting.”

Julia Werth and husband, Dillon McManus, sang duets, of “Summer Nights” and “Africa,” the latter accompanied by a friend.

Cate Hewitt sang backup to Foster’s “Waiting,” along with two friends.

“It’s one of those activities that takes you out of yourself. It’s not whether you can sing or the crowd likes you, it’s whether you discovered a side of yourself,” said Foster. “Step out of your own skin, it’s a transformative experience.”

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