I love music. To plagiarize myself from an email earlier this month…
Music is a strange little thing. For some reason people in the industry think music has something to do with fashion and flash. They think music has to be promoted and protected and packaged. But real music is art, and art is human experience and emotion distilled down till it’s just short of abstract; it’s the nectar of what makes us alive. It makes us think and feel and move. Sometimes if it’s really good, it makes us forget to breathe and remember to live. There’s not enough music on the radio.
I love local bands. Most gigs they don’t break even, some they don’t even get paid for at all. They play because they love what they do, and they love being heard. Sure they’d love to make it big; anyone who doesn’t harbor dreams of a life in the limelight or at least getting some recognition for doing what you love to do… well, these people have no clue how to dream. But local bands have a deeper love than just the dream of becoming famous, they love music.
The right place and the right time enjoy running into each other on my watch more often than I deserve, and this is especially true with music. I found out about Trout Fishing in America, Toad the Wet Sprocket (who, by the way, has been reincarnated slightly in Lapdog, Glen is still pursuing a solo career), and Cowboy Mouth very early in their careers. And I’ve been listening to unknown bands like Bonepony and The Muckrakers for years now. I stumble across good music all the time.
Good music tells a story. Not necessarily through the lyrics, but when an artist pours their life into their music, their story reaches out and touches you. Good music is personal, it’s intimate, and it’s real. And like any story, the story teller must become vulnerable, and expose very private parts of their life and themselves.
Good story tellers are even harder to find than good music. But recently, as luck would have it, I found two great story tellers at once, quite by accident. I’ve been listening to Gruene with Envy for some time now, and at least a year ago, they were already playing Run Away by Blake Powers. Eventually they were playing System and Little Man. His band had a regular gig at the time in Austin, but on Sunday nights, so I was never able to make a show. Then one day, almost by accident I checked his show dates to find that he was playing at a local bar that same night.
The show was fun, even if it was cut short by the weather. The band is much better live than on internet radio, and we made a surprising discovery. Blake’s cousin, Fallon Franklin, was not his backup singer, she just happened to sing backup on some of his songs. She is a fantastic artist in her own right; I’d rave about her lyrics if she didn’t have such an amazing voice. She could make even trite and simple songs sound like epic ballads.
Both Blake and Fallon sing with a sincerity and intensity that is hard to come by these days, even in a local band; their stage presence is not an act. They are not performing their songs, they’re relating their lives. Honest stories, in honest music.
Listen to Blake Powers and Fallon Franklin. Go to one of their shows. And if you get a chance to see them, make sure you take an extra $20. I guarantee the only way you’ll leave the concert without buying both cds is if you already own them. Although, judging by how often my friends have “borrowed” their cds, even that might not be true.
Will they make it? Will they wind up on the charts? I am sure that whatever their dreams might be, they have every chance of finding them. But don’t listen to them because you think one day they might be famous. Listen to them because they make good music, and they make it now.
And while I’m on the topic, check out Texas Troubadours and if you have a Live365 account, give their station a listen. I’m not going to claim that all Texas country is good music, but there’s a much higher concentration of good music listed on that website than on the pop charts.
Posted with : Bare with Me