by Katy Bourne
Well, here it is the New Year again. It seems I should have some inspiring personal missive or perhaps a bold, optimistic profundity to share. But the truth is people: I got nothing. Oh sure, I’m plenty excited for the January 20th inauguration. Even though the election was back in November, I still grapple to find the words to express how it feels to be alive during such an unprecedented moment in history. Trust me, it’s big stuff for me….for all of us. However in regards to 2009 overall, I don’t have much commentary, personal, political or otherwise.
But I’m here and you’re here, so I feel like I should come up with something. So, I am going to make a short but heartfelt plea to encourage you to make 2009 the Year of Live Music in our community.
Yes, times are hard, and there’s plenty to be gloomy about, especially on the economic front. This is precisely why, however, that we need live music.
Music is a living, breathing, burning entity. It is bigger than the cosmos but affects us on a cellular level. It is the tried and true magic that lifts us up and energizes us. It is the enduring comfort that reaches down to our most desolate places. It is everything in between.
Throughout all of history with wars and economic downturns, as well as men landing on the moon and people dancing in the streets, music has been there in one fashion or another. No matter what we or our ancestors have been through, we have always had a sound track. Musicians have always been around to shoot us to the heavens, funk us to the low down, swing us into delirium and soothe our wounded hearts. Musicians are the constant of history, and music is the one sure thing.
So I propose that we make this the Year of Live Music. I’m standing on my chair (OK, home alone at my desk….You can’t see me, but still…conjure up an image.) and asking you to commit to going out and supporting live music, whenever or wherever you can.
Drop into shows. Support restaurants and cafes that have live music. Better yet, ask your local noodle shack or pizza joint to start booking bands and musicians.
If you’re a musician, go out and hear your friends play. If you’re driving home from work, drop into your neighborhood coffee shop and throw a buck or two into the hat of the guy playing acoustic guitar. If you’re low on cash, there are plenty of places to catch music for free. If you have some bread, then squirrel a few bucks away to spend on a cover charge or two.
Think of this, for one month of basic cable, you could catch two or three really great live jazz performances. Make music part of your New Year’s resolution effort and reward yourself for putting down that donut with two or three (or five or ten or nineteen) nights a month out listening to music. Take your friends. Invite your mom. Get up your nerve and finally ask that special someone out on a date. Ride your bike. Hop on a bus. Saddle up a donkey. Carpool with your neighbors. Just go out and listen to live music! It’s not just about keeping musicians working, although that’s very important. It’s about keeping our collective selves alive, engaged and energized. It’s about making the place we live hip and wonderful.
Yes, things suck right now, but they don’t have to suck as badly. Live music can make the difference. So how about it? “2009-The Year of Live Music”. C’mon, let’s do it, people! As the Ellington tune so eloquently put it, “It don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that swing.”