The last few nights I have been turning off the tube a little early and falling asleep with my headphones in. As usual the music I listen to jumps from artist to artist, but it all does the same trick in the dark, taking my worries of the day from my over active mind and off I fade into the black. Tonight, I saw a picture from a honky tonk sign in Luckenbach, Texas, with James McMurtry playing tonight and Billy Joe Shaver playing tomorrow night. Immediately, I did just like I have every other night this week, turned off the television and put on my head phones and let Mr. McMurtry roar. Instead of drifting off to sleep like the other nights this week, my mind went on a rampage, twisting and turning about the state of music today. With Lou Reed’s passing, Katie Perry being number one on the charts, and somehow thinking that this is all evident in my little city of Athens, Ga. Having been watching people here unwilling to pay a cover for live music with venues falling in stride, and “hickhop” videos becoming a mainstay of conversation, tonight this old rock n roll lover is having to dig deep to remember why I got into this business in the first place… Well, not really. My friend and musician, Grant Mitchell, put it straight the other day. He said “Erin, we do what we do because we love it.”
I have been writing about a few different subjects on a regular basis over the last few years. However, this concept of an open and honest commentary about the music around me has been in existence for less than a year. Since then, I have returned to the birthplace of my love for live music, and shortly after my arrival back in Athens, I teamed up with a couple of well-seasoned, highly talented, local musicians and started a booking agency. I am convinced that the music here and in nearby southern states, being created by small, mostly unknown independent musicians is as good as music has ever been. This was the driving force in my decision to jump further into what some folks might call the cesspool of the music business. What would happen to these wonderful songs, if they cannot ever make it around our great nation, bouncing from stage to stage, saving those souls warn from the stress of the human existence as they once saved me? They will get bypassed by a DJ with an I pad and a pocket full of opiates, and old dogs like me will have to find another way to spend our weekend nights and that won’t be good.
I have had James McMurtry on shuffle for an hour or so now and “No More Buffalo” has played a couple of times. It is to me a song about growing older, life’s adventures running out, and no more rock n roll as we know it. Well I am getting older, the adventures are still around but with a different face and rock n roll is alive and well. My friend was right; we do what we do because we love it. And as long as that love for that sweet music stays in my heart, I will fight the good fight to keep it alive. After all, I owe her so much more. Rock n roll has been the best girl I have ever known and I would be lost without her.
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