Music is still the answer. That’s what I keep coming back to, it’s what I do after all, but it’s also been my way of life for as long as I can remember. The world feels more fractured than ever, there are so many issues plaguing us that it’s become a tsunami of grief and confusion every day. The news inflates our hysteria and distracts us from our humanity. At a time when I think we don’t know ourselves anymore and in a time when we can’t seem to find human connection, music is still the answer.
So I’ve resolved to double down on writing and gigs and do my small part in this community. We are going full steam ahead to Muscle Shoals and Memphis in December of this year to make my new album. It’s an album I’ve been trying to make for 4 years. But now I’ve really got to get on with it. I’ll be asking for your help as we no longer have record labels to be our patrons. It’s all come down to the artists and the people. Truthfully its always been just about us. It’s a bullshit free system. It’s not gonna make any of us rich, but maybe that keeps us all honest. At the least it will keep the music pure. Unadulterated by board room meetings and the dreaded “demographic marketing” of the 90’s and on through the demise of the record men.
There’s something new around the corner. I’m gonna be 40 in December so I have no illusions about my role in this. I’m trying to protect the traditions that I was taught by the older generation of musicians who taught me, I still believe they did it right. At most times it has been like protecting a tiny candle in a raging hurricane, sometimes with one hand tied behind my back. I still have hope that there’s a young generation coming up that’s going to pick up the flame we have been trying to protect and storm the palace with blazing torches.
Meanwhile, I’ve seen a million schemes come and go and the real music is still here. The blues, rock and roll, soul, jazz, country...they are all just names. Genre was invented by guys who needed to divide us so they could sell their product in a less complicated way, cause marketing people NEVER want to actually market anything. That would require actual work and sacrifice. Funny that creating music requires so much time and sacrifice but when it came to selling it most people did not seem to care enough.
But the truth is that we are complicated and all the music is one. There is no genre, great music is great music. The language of the soul. That means that music should always remind us that we are one. It’s the definitive sound of our human struggle, and specifically our countries struggle. We should be proud that we have turned so much suffering and misunderstanding into something beautiful and timeless for the whole world to marvel at for all time.
My generation has always lived in the shadow of the 1960’s. It was the definitive time in our countries cultural and artistic renaissance. Mainly the music. We had the musical Da Vinci’s, and Picasso’s come to life all at once while our country burned itself down in the background. The standard was raised so high. Genre’s all blended together from that period. It was a movement. We need another one. And by we, I mean the whole music community. Then maybe we can try to create some valid soundtracks for all this confusion. Something to lead us all back into the light. Together we can at least try to find a way. In the meantime, in the words of the great Patti Smith (and with thanks to Patterson Hood for sharing this quote) “Love each other, Motherfuckers!”