“May you live in interesting times…”
Over the past few days, this phrase has popped into my head a lot.
Supposedly, it’s an ancient curse. And, while it sounds more like a blessing than a malediction, the expression is ironic. “Uninteresting” times, after all, are peaceful. History’s “interesting” moments were where the troubles lay.
Whether we’ve been cursed or not, these are most definitely “interesting times” we’re living in. In the past few weeks, we’ve faced unprecedented upheaval on a global scale. Things we took for granted at the start of the year – stocked supermarket shelves and the freedom to congregate as we please – are no longer a given. “Social distancing” is now a fact of life and I’ve washed my hands so many times past weeks, you’d think I murdered a Scottish King…
Perhaps most troubling is that we don’t know how long this will last. Weeks? Months? Years? The future is uncertain.
As these strange days go on, though, there’s another statement that keeps ear worming around my brain.
“I pick up my guitar and play. Just like yesterday.”
Of course, we know who wrote that one...
I thank god for my guitar because right now, it’s a lifeline. As crazy as things are, those six strings remain constant. I’ve never been so grateful to fret chords, practice scales and make music. When I plug in my Les Paul, I can make enough noise to drown out all the uncertainty and all the bullshit. Things are changing at a rapid pace, but the guitar is still there. Just like yesterday.
And I know I’m not the only one. A ray of light in all of this has been hearing musician friends reconnecting with their instruments. My social media has been awash with new songs, covers and live streams these past few days and the outpouring of creativity has been heartening. Just the other day, for example, my Thalia colleague Michael G. Woodley shared an EP that he’s finished during shutdown. It’s awesome.
Yes, we might be socially distant, but we’re still all connected through our love of music. Even though we’re separated, every time we pick up our instruments, we’re playing together. Over the coming weeks, I’d encourage you to keep sharing those songs, those videos and those stories; to “Keep Talking,” as Pink Floyd once put it.
As always, the comments section is below. More, now than ever, we want to hear your thoughts, your stories and what you’re working on at the moment.
Music has been a fundamental aspect of human existence since the dawn of time. From the beating of tribal drums to the symphonies of Beethoven, music has been used to express the entire range of human emotions and experiences. Music has been so important throughout history, from the earliest known musical notation on a bone flute dated over 40,000 years ago to the modern-day digital age.
So, what do Keith Richards, Charlie Starr, Robert Johnson, Joni Mitchell, Rich Robinson and Lowell George all have in common? They all play differently, work in different genres, and are even generations apart... The common element is that they’ve tuned their guitars to Open G. This is one of the more common open tunings there are and provides a great starting point for those who want to experiment with something beyond standard tuning. It’s also fun for those who want to try and play slide guitar.
The Motown Sound. Everybody knows what it is. Even if you don’t know what it is, you’ve certainly heard it. You’ve heard it with Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, The Four Tops, Little Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Martha and the Vandellas, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, and The Jackson 5, among many, many others.