We lost a lot of good ones this year. Great musicians from all genres of music. To their fans, they were important because of how their work reverberated with what we were each going through at the time. Listening to their music reminds us of where we were and are at. Watching their lives allowed us to live vicariously through their accomplishments. We are made aware of the possibilities by any great art.
For those of us in the music business, some were friends and colleagues. We may have shared a meal or even the stage. We may have travelled together or known those folks at a deeper level, beyond the stage and the media hype. Beyond the music.
More importantly, these folks were family members; Mothers and Fathers, Sons and Daughters, Brothers and Sisters. Those who actually knew these people are suffering their losses at a different and likely a deeper level.
The recent ‘death count’ phenomenon that is happening on Facebook and through social media seems to forget that. It’s become weird. And I have been as guilty of taking part as anyone. Who can be first to post about the death of someone they didn’t even know? I guess by presenting their music to the public and by stepping on stage a Performer kind of signs up for this stuff. We end up belonging to the Public.
Or do we?
I hope to take the lessons and inspiration from these folks, musical or otherwise, and honour their memory by doing so. A number of these great artists were here before the ‘cut and paste’ mentality of the music world had integrated every corner of the industry.
I think of someone like Guy Clark, who followed his own path as a writer and performer even while the industry was trying to turn him into a Country music star. So many of his lyrics are quotable for the little life lessons they hold. They speak simple truths and he was a master at doing that. Beautiful simple things.
Always Trust Your Cape…
Looks Like Its Old Friends After All…
I cried for every lesser thing…for whisky, pain and beauty… but he deserved a better tear and I was not quite ready…
I have seen the David, I’ve seen the Mona Lisa too and I have heard Doc Watson play Columbus Stockade Blues…
Ain’t nothing in the world that I like better than bacon and lettuce and homegrown tomatoes…
(insert your favourite Guy Clark line here)
He would even hold off on releasing an album if he thought the music didn’t represent him properly and lost a couple of record deals by doing so. Very inspiring behaviour. He was real. His music and words will live on, no question.
The lesson I learned this year from all this?
I guess it’s to try to continue to hold on to Integrity in my work. It’s not something we talk about much in the music world these days. Everyone is striving to survive what we have been left with after the technological upheaval that brought us the internet and the digital world. The music and the craftsmanship of the music seems to have taken second place to the industry and technology in many cases.
Supreme manipulation through the media has entered all phases of our lives. And that is not only reflected in how music is presented to people but sadly in how our young artists are brought up as well.
New Years resolutions? I’m going to spend my time in the future trying to keep Integrity where it belongs as an Artist and a supporter of Artists. It’s about the music and the message first. I think that’s why the losses this year seem so huge to us as a group. We are quickly losing the examples of integrity and artistry we all signed on for. We need to step up!
I am looking forward to this process and to continuing my work with like minded individuals.
Happy New Year to you all. May you be with friends and family and may you honour those who have moved beyond. May your Music and your work keep you sane and lend a hand to others!