Feel weary and need some rest?
Good morning boys and girls. Today’s question comes from a No Depression community member from the great state of Illinois. They wrote in to ask this: “Is it me or has there been a bit more frequent edge to the ND comments in recent weeks?”
Well “Mr. Lincoln” (which is a much better Illinois pseudonym than say, Blagodevich), I would say that given the current state of things in this mad, mad, mad, mad world of ours, people all over have been on edge. It’s not just here in the No Depression community, because if you spend even a small amount of time watching the cable news channels or visiting websites such as Politico or Huffington Post or just checking your Twitter or Facebook streams, you’ll discover that everybody seems a bit weary and irritable these days. And who can blame them? It seems like everything is falling apart.
In our relatively small world of music, technology has become a much bigger news story than the people who make it. The song has taken a back seat to the delivery mechanism. Musicians and songwriters just want to work their craft, not spend time raising money for recording, being their own publicists and agents, worrying about how to pay their bills or if they can get time off from their real jobs so they can drive 350 miles on Saturday night for a house concert that will pay them $38 and all the tuna casserole they can eat.
And obviously that stress has spilled over to the fans. We’re tired. We just want to be able to listen to our music without the rhetoric of whether it should be a live performance, a physical piece of vinyl or a shiny disc, an mp3 file or a stream or even a video from You Tube. It shouldn’t matter whether it comes to us through the car radio or the internet, or if the record label is owned by Uncle Charley or Time-Warner. I mean, it does matter I suppose, but to the ultimate end user they shouldn’t need to worry about such things. But we all do.
Worry and concern…there’s a lot of that going around. Even in comedy there is stress. The strip above comes from a website called Curmudgeon Comics. Can you imagine that name? Whatever happened to the great escapism comics like Beetle Bailey, Dennis the Menace, Blondie or The Family Circle? If Readers Digest was still around today, they’d probably replace “Humor in Uniform” with “Angst in Iraq”, or instead of “Laughter is the Best Medicine” it might be called “Laughter Might Be the Best Medicine, But Your Policy Won’t Cover It Anymore”.
This morning, for the umpteenth time in the last few months, I went to see a doctor. (Do you know how long I’ve waited to use the word “umpteenth” in a blog? And don’t worry, it was all good news.) But before I got showered and dressed, I checked my email and Facebook page while nursing my second cup of coffee. I didn’t sleep a heck of a lot last night; probably a bit nervous about getting the results of a test but more to the point, who can sleep at a time like this? Have you seen the headlines today or did you watch the news last night? Its tough times out there folks, really tough.
So wasn’t it just like magic that somebody chose to drop a little pixie dust on me? Left me a very special present, not even knowing that I was in the midst of turmoil and needed something to lift me up? A sweet sound to my ears, something to keep me going and make me feel at least centered for the moment? Well, they did. And it was magic. Brought a big smile to my face. Made me feel less weary, less stressed, less concerned.
Two young women I’ve written about once before on this site. Ashlee Morton and Holly Diane Pulliam. ( I wish Holly would take my advice and start using the stage name Pull I. Am.) Struggling to see if they can make a career out of their passion and talents, while toiling at their day jobs and spending nights at open mics. They sang a song, put it up on You Tube and put it onto my Facebook wall.
Its the simplicity in this performance that brings it all back to square one. The song, the music, the artists. They are unsigned, unrecorded, barely known. You can’t stream this or buy it. Its just a song that says “I am weary, let me rest”. I think it was first recorded by the Cox Family and then Ralph Stanley, but I might be wrong and we can dither about that later.
And here’s the funny thing about this video…probably shot using a laptop before being uploaded. Look carefully in the bottom left hand corner. See what Ashlee is holding in her hands? It’s a cell phone, or probably a smart one. She needed it to check the lyrics, just in case. I guess technology isn’t all that bad if it gives us something as pure and simple as this.