Ask my fingertips. The evidence is all there.
I think I have played more music in the last 8 weeks than I have in the last 5 years. Steel string guitars don’t lie to your fingertips… especially 2-3 hours at a time. (Sometimes four.) But besides that, I’m puzzled. Why now? Why suddenly the flash flood of gigs?
My wife reckons it’s because I’ve always been ahead of my time and now the world has finally caught up. (I, in my meagre capacity, lol.) My kids have a far more indulgent observation: they say it’s because [they] “love music and so [I] should always be playing music”. (Except when I need to watch How To Train Your Dragon… because #priorities.)
But as I posted on Instagram, I feel as though something is different.
I’ve noticed something. It’s the audiences I play to. They range in age. From 4 to 74. And they all seem intrigued in what I do. That says less about me as an artist and more about the time we’re in. I feel like there’s a shift in the emotional, musical and spiritual landscape of this information age. People – young and old – want music and messages that are authentic.
This is why the timeless hits of the enlightenment era still hold – 60s, 70s and 80s anti-establishment hits that say NO to various sorts of discrimination – but more importantly, YES to those eternal values like love, peace, consideration for others… and a deep sense of eternal longing. I’ve seen it vividly across generations for the past 3 months. People want real music with real lyrics and real meaning.
I have a dream. Practically, it’s built around the art and music I create – so it’s working towards an idea that expresses some of these sentiments.
But more importantly, it’s inherently built into the idea that healthy families make for a healthy world.
That doesn’t sound very rock ‘n roll… but I’m putting it out there that it’s going to catch on. Something in our world today is different.
I was playing a gig the other Saturday and a 14-year-old came up to me and asked me if I knew the song “West Virginia”… (he meant John Denver’s Country Roads) and I thought to myself, “It all goes full circle quicker than you think!”
The idea that a 14-year-old (and his mates who dared him to come up to me) are now into 70s music isn’t altogether surprising. Fashions and hits and trends circulate through the decades fairly regularly.
But family? This is novel for here and now. His parents were singing along NEXT TO him and his mates! Parents and kids hanging out together!
This is going to be the new trend. Toddlers as well as teenagers rocking out with their parents. Conversing over important ideas and values. Sharing music and meals together. Road trips with music from shared experiences that initiate conversations.
This is my utopia. Communication about the stuff that really matters in this life. Husbands and wives. Fathers and sons. Mothers and daughters. Brothers and sisters. And all the combinations therein. A new trend is coming.