Friday, September 19, 2008

Rock On

It was a busy Thursday night at a neighbourhood pub. C.C. and I were there to listen to his son, T., perform with his band. Neither of us wanted to be out late. We both had had busy days and early mornings to contend with.

"I'm on at 9," T. told his father.

What is it with the creative world? Size 10 is the old 8. 9pm the new 10?

In the end, it didn't matter what time he played. He was fantastic.
To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself, incredible and inconceivable. Aaron Copland
To not have been there last night would have been incredible and inconceivable. No matter what time he played.

There were four acts. A young woman. Powerful voice. Smooth acoustic guitar. She covered Sarah McLaughlin and Joni Mitchell with her unique raspy voice.

The next band were, as C.C. described them, Oldtimers. Good, solid perfermers. The drummer was spectacular. Hard life on the road written on his face. Blond and white hair curled over his shoulders, cascading down his back. Red muscle shirt. Tattooed arms. Rocker turned 50. Their base guitarist and vocalist was a woman. Tiny. Petite. Raspy voice. She embraced her instrument and let it rip. When it was time for T. to set-up, she helped plug in, balance, re-wire the sound. Comfortable. Versatile. She knew her way around the stage.

And then T. played. Young. Exuberant. Energetic. His band of four blazed their way across the sound waves, rocking the joint with T.s original pieces. Harsh. Edgy. Jazz and rock blended on rhythms of punk. Lyrics that bit into your soul. Ripped your mind.

For his last piece, T. invited an older man from the audience to come up and play the sax with them. Generational gaps disappeared as his sax bridged the notes with rounded ease. A third guitarist joined them. He too was from another generation. The music didn't care. Neither did the audience.

Beside me, a woman rolled her shoulders, bobbed her head in time to the music. She leaned over towards me and asked. "Do you play?"

"No," I replied. I pointed to C.C. "We're here to listen to his son."

Her eyes and face lit up. "Which one is he?"

"T." I replied. "The one with the fedora."

"He's fantastic!" She listened to the music for a moment and then turned back to me. "I'm the drummer in the next band. The saxophonist's my husband. He's been playing all his life. I just started a year and a half ago. Love it," she yelled above the sounds of a base guitar twanging the last notes.

She was probably in her forties. As she got up to seat herself behind the drum kit she smiled and said. "I can't meet their drummer's act. He's good."

I smiled back at her and reassured her. "Your best is good enough. You'll be awesome!"

She thanked me and moved to the stage to join her husband. The third guitarist who joined in T.s band with the saxophonist was T.s base guitarist's teacher. When T and his band sat down, he too stayed on stage and got ready for the fourth and final act of the night.

They were mostly in their forties, maybe nudging up to 50. They rocked the house. Cover pieces only. Nothing original, but their style was a blend of jazz and blues. Syncopation. Familiar pieces. Buffalo Springfield. Bob Dylan. James Brown.

The music didn't care what age anyone was. The music simply was.

Plato said, "Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul."

Last night, I grudgingly went to listen to T. play. It was late. I was tired.

The music searched out my soul. Awoke my spirit and renewed me with the sounds of creativity come alive in the night. Generational gaps disappeared as everyone got closer to the essence of the human condition.

Music knows no barriers. It bridges the ages with its insistence that we come alive and listen. That we awaken to the beat of our soul's desire to be creative in whatever our human condition.

The question is: Where are you in your human condition? Are you listening to the sounds of silence begging you to slip back into slumber as you ignore the music of the world awakening around you? Or, are you feeling the notes of possibility searching your soul in morning's song? Are you awakening to the call of your spirit's dance willing you to 'rock on'?

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