Tonight I went to see Jeffrey Gaines play. Jeffrey had a moderate hit in the early 90's with "Hero in Me", but has since moved from label to label to off-label to independent label. I've seen him play about 8 times in the past few years, and he never ceases to renew my love for music. He's just one of those people who just lights up the room with energy from the first note. But he also frustrates the hell out of me, and it's not because he's good.. well it sort of is. Let me explain.
As you may have figured out, I like doing a lot of different things artistically. I don't claim to do them all well, but I try. But when I see someone else who just blows me out of the water it usually frustrates the hell out of me. A sort of "God! If I did this my whole life I'd never be half as good as that guy" vibe comes over me and I usually go take a nap for a few hours.
But not with music. Amazing musicians always make me smile. I may shake my head in disbelief at super slick chord change or melody, but it's always a good emotion. I guess that shows that I have a special connection with music so that the art takes precedence over the artist.
What really frustrates me is that he's not more popular. Sure, he's got a following and makes a living, but with all the yahoo's out there who really aren't good, isn't there room for one who is? A guy named David Ryan Harris opened up for him, and he was amazing too, add him to the list as well. David just got off tour after playing guitar for John Mayer, who's a serious guitarist in his own right so just imagine how good this guy was.
I know there is always some mediocrity in popular art, and I know it doesn't last. I think I even wrote a 365 about it a while back. I also know that 3 companies owning every radio station in America can't be good either.
Back when Hall & Oats started in the 70's their first albums didn't do very well, but Atlantic records decided that they deserved another shot. Nowadays the record company puts out a single onto the radio in certain markets to decide if they even want to release the single let alone the whole album. The whole thing has been analyzed and forecasted, and market researched to death. Art has become a commodity, and wrongfully so.
So I guess the point is to suggest that you take a listen to Jeffrey, and David, and Colin Hay, and Aztec Two-Step, and Michael Penn, and Gonzalo Silva. Maybe you won't like their music at all, but maybe it'll light you up from the very first note.
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