Who can truly explain the experience that playing music has on the body and soul? Neuroscientists can speak of synaptic firings, chemical changes and the heightened activation of neurotransmitters. Biologists can speak of the effect that attuning the body to harmonized wavelengths and syncopated rhythms have, physically, on the body. We can break it down into a thousand things when one is blowing a horn, riffing on a stringed instrument, beating on a drum, or simply singing one’s guts out. But the synthesis of all that into the magic of musical creation, and the complex high that arises from the physical act of making music…we can describe it, we can dig it, we can dissect it, but we cannot truly explain it. And those who claim they can, well perhaps they’re just not playing hard enough.
However you slice it, the creation of music ranks, in my humble opinion, as one of the greatest achievements of the human experiment, and in contemporary culture it is one of the most important non-material commodities we have the pleasure of producing and consuming. And to make music for a living, well son I reckon that’s gotta be just about the best damn job on the planet.
But it’s not an easy time in history to be a professional musician. The same technology that has made music cheaper and easier to record, promote, and distribute has also made music a virtually free commodity. These days musicians rely on sponsorships, publishing, touring, merchandising, and even crowd-funding to finance their creative ambitions. A lucky few make it into the echelons of A&R deals, radio hits, arena tours, and Grammy awards; but the vast majority labor to survive in much more stripped-down and financially precarious operations. Many are sole-proprietor business operations; others have managers and lawyers and independent record labels to move them along. But whatever their situation, the drive is the same. For every single artist portrayed here, music is their life. And we on the other side of the speakers are richer for it.
This series represents a variety of work I have done over the years with musicians, most of them based in Music City USA, Nashville, TN. Though NashVegas is and always has been a town dominated by the behemoth of the country music industry, a vibrant independent scene simmers just below the surface, and the town is quickly becoming the epicenter for a new style of American music, rootsy but modern, soulful but shimmering with technological color. It’s an exciting time to be here.
I have very recently moved to Nashville full-time, so what you see here are just sketches of what I hope will become a larger, deeper, and more cohesive body of work. But I’m off to a good start I think. I’m having fun anyway, and that don’t count for nothin’, son.