Not a Football Post

2010 is starting here with blue sky, crisp blue shadows on the deep, crusty layer of snow. It’s above zero, one degree, but still above and from the backyard trees there’s no wind. A great day for strenuous outdoor activity if you’re properly protected from the cold. For someone other than me that is. It also might be a great day to read a book, by the fireplace, with hot chocolate. Or watch football. What is the average time per American male spent watching football on New Year’s Day? The volume of chips consumed? Gallons of beer? Gallons of beer spilled in celebration or anger? Level of profanity spewed at coaches, refs, players and opponents? I won’t be contributing to those numbers, I may have to turn in my guy card. So be it.

Great party last night, at one of those houses designed by an architect for themselves. Classic Mid-Century Modern, a really nice pad with a big open living room that perfectly served the purpose of musical venue for the evening. Another great feature, obscured now of course, is no lawn mowing. The small front yard is all planted in garden and the back is full of massive hardwoods, so it’s natural forest floor.

We were treated to really excellent music in the form of a jam, lead by the host and some great local musicians. I’m always amazed by the way these folks, without rehearsal, will briefly talk over the structure of a song, “Three chords in A, it starts on the five and the there’s a bridge in D,” and everyone will have it after one verse. Great songs, great singers and great players. I was sweating bullets that I would be asked to sit in, it would be like me trying to step in at point guard for the Wolves. It worked out well though, after almost everyone left, Clay our host and Dan, the guitarist and bass player for Yodel a Go Go, and I did a few basic three chord songs and I was able to pretty much follow along by watching Clay’s hands. Lot’s of fun.

At one point during a break they were playing a CD by some local artist, I missed the name, and Clay said, “When I listen to this and realize how good it is and know that it’s not a big hit, what chance do I have.” This prompted a discussion about how many great musicians there are that are working day jobs, or barely eking out a living playing. It amazes me how hard these folks work for their art, with such little compensation. And these folks seem to be working a labor of love, preserving a style of music that they love, rootsy country and rockabilly. Which is good for me because I love that music too.

Someone once said to me that if I thought art was a tough gig, think about music. True that.

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