Wednesday, June 01, 2016

I Am Not a Musician

I am not a musician.

I do not ‘jam.’ I perform. When I am on stage I am an actor playing a musician. That is how I get the message across.

My goal is to communicate. Music is one more tool to be used in achieving that end. This is not to say I don’t like or understand music. I love to write music, listen to music. I have a firm grasp of theory, more than many of the musicians I know. That is not a boast; I simply need to understand the nuts and bolts of something to fully appreciate it.

But I have never learned to play much better than is absolutely necessary. I am not one to pursue virtuosity. Nothing wrong with it, if one has the time and interest, but it would be a detour for me, a turning aside from my road.

Yes, I can do rudimentary finger picking on my guitar, I can play some lead if necessary (though it has to be the blues!), I know quite a few chords. That latter is handy if one does not have nimble fingers — throw in a sequence of jazz chords and it sounds like you know what you are doing. I have noted some rather well-known song writers doing exactly that. That D6 to A13 is handy...or go Pete Townshend and do a lot of sustained chords.

Anyway, I probably will continue to get out more and play. I don’t particularly enjoy playing music, you understand. It is work, just like writing or painting. A means to an end.

I also recognize that it is the best way to be seen and that translates into more interest in my other endeavors. It can lead to more book sales. That is one reason I have started including some of the songs I wrote for the ‘Donzalo’s Destiny’ series in my repertoire. Nothing like saying, “This is a song from one of my novels,” before launching into it. And it probably makes the song more interesting to my audience, too.

Missed getting anywhere last weekend. The Florida Folk Festival just didn’t fit with my logistics or my budget. And I doubt that I shall be getting to Nashville this summer either. But, hey, that means I can afford to go other places, right?

Going to try to get down to Roberts Hall in Lynn Haven this coming Sunday, when Bing Futch performs. And maybe a few weeks later again for Promenade Action — those youngsters and others like them were the best part of Willfest this past spring. I get pretty tired of the same old bluegrassy ‘Americana’ acts. Time for new blood and new music.

And then in mid-July, Mean Mary will be there. I have to go for her, of course. And though I am not a musician, I will undoubtedly play.

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