Saturday, February 29, 2020

Music with a view

It is said that a Jack Reacher novel is sold somewhere in the world every nine seconds. Acknowledging the adage that statistics lie and liars use statistics, the song "Wagon Wheel" is played somewhere in the world every eight seconds.

Wifey and I had the pleasure of hearing ten different versions of "Wagon Wheel" last week while otherwise enjoying a week-long vacation at St. Pete's Beach in sunny, crazy Florida.

We stayed at a hotel on the Gulf Coast called Beachcombers and it had everything we like. We'll be going back. Every afternoon they had a different singer outside on their beachside deck/outdoor restaurant/bar. Then each evening they had a band at the adjacent indoor bar.

So we heard a wide variety of musicians, which is right up our alley. Most of them played a version of "Wagon Wheel" with their own spin and varying degrees of success. Another popular one was "Ring of Fire." If I go a few weeks without hearing either, I'll be good.

A couple random thoughts:

* Rapid City musicians we hear regularly can more than hold their own with the Floridians.

* If you're going to do a set, be organized. Don't take 30 seconds of silence between songs while you fiddle with your iPad to get the next lyrics or chords ready. Know your list, hit it, keep the momentum going.

Musician Josh Morningstar tweeted a while back that musicians should take some pride in their work and should take the time to know the lyrics and music well enough so that they don't need iPads to read off of.

* Have some personality, especially when you are a solo act. Don't just get up there and play "Margaritaville" and Kenny Chesney songs with no rapport with the audience. They're supposed to be fun songs. It's supposed to be a fun job. Have fun. Not everybody is a lead singer or font man, but if you're going solo, guess what, you are. Bands can hide the grumpy ol' man behind the bass guitar. You can't hide.

* Bands. Do your sound checks quickly and do them once. You don't have to do them for five minutes every time you begin a new set. Nobody was up their messing with your mic or your drum set while you were out smoking your cig. Get at it. I've heard hundreds of bands of varying ability over the years and never once walked out saying "Boy that snare drum sure sounded out of tune."

While I sound like I'm complaining, I'm not. I loved it. But when you listen to a dozen bands or solo acts in a short amount of time you can't help to compare and contrast what works for some and not for others. FYI, the Greek band at the Greek Fest event we attended on a whim was the best Greek band I've ever heard.

Next week we're going to see someone who does everything right. Heading to Deadwood to hear Lyle Lovett and his Acoustic Group. Looking forward to it and will probably report back.

No comments:

Post a Comment