so much music; so little time

Ever since I first began playing guitar, I have also been writing songs and instrumental pieces. I enjoy creating my own music, certainly; however, I also truly enjoy playing music that others have created. And, traditional folk music – such as celtic music – holds much joy.

And then, if I expand my musical scope only a little further, I see all that wonderful music from other centuries. I’ve spent a lot of time playing classical violin duets, for example, and I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed that as much as I have enjoyed being the lead singer in several rock bands.

So, the question all this variety stirs within me is, “isn’t there an audience that shares my love and joy of musical variety?” Certainly, the answer must be, “yes,” and I have spent, and continue to spend, my musical life pursuing and building that audience.

The tricky part is finding venues willing to be, for lack of a better word, experimental. Whenever I’m pitching a show to a new place, the question is always, “so, what kind of music do you play?”

Now I try to give a succinct, distinct answer: “Acoustic Celtic Folk-Rock.” That’s been my wee tagline for many, many years.

Lately, however, I’ve been experimenting with all sorts of musical bits at my live shows…celtic tunes…celtic songs…classic american folk songs (from the 60s and 70s)…classic rock songs…and of course, my own songs and instrumental pieces.

Someone could well ask, “what’s the unifying thread that runs through such a collection of musical pieces?” and also…”shouldn’t you limit the scope a bit more; you ask a lot of your audience?”

To the second two questions, I say “no” and “yes, that’s true.”

To the first question, I say, “me.”

For all musicians, one of the most important elements that they bring to any music is themselves. In my own performances, that manifests itself as “all in.” That is to say, I can’t only halfway get into the music. When it feels like that, I kind of have to stop. For me, music is nearly everything, and when I play – even when I rehearse – I’m all in; I’m playing every note with everything I can bring to it at that moment.

In a live show, with all the far-reaching threads I might follow, the unifying thread is “me” – my approach, my take, my performance, my “everything or go home” feeling about music. Each time is another chance to feel the music and it’s power flow through me – up from the soles of my shoes and flowing out of my voice and fingertips. In those moments, it’s what I’m living for – no doubt about it.

Which brings me back to the idea that WHAT music I’m playing or WHOSE music I’m playing it slightly less important to me than the fact that I’m PLAYING…yet again, one more time, doing my favourite thing.

And, as a collected world culture, we have so much music, and I have so little time.