I’m switching gears tonight, and going to talk about an idea, a plan really, I’ve been knocking around for some time now. I don’t talk about it very much but really enjoy music. I don’t enjoy it to the extent that I can play it or write it. I don’t memorize random facts or debate the merits of one artist or another. And quite frankly, most people would probably turn an indifferent eye to what I listen to on any given day. Most remarkably, for someone who claims to like music, I rarely if ever go to concerts. I can probably count on two hands the number of concerts I’ve been to….I’ve seen Pink Floyd and attended the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concert back in the mid-90’s (both at Cleveland Municipal Stadium); that’s about as interesting as it gets when it comes to concerts I’ve been to.
But whenever I’m working, painting or driving I, like most of you, will do so listing to music. Writing is about the only thing I won’t do to music; for whatever reason my brain doesn’t multi-task that way. Sometimes when I’m down…for like days in a row…I’ll realize: I haven’t really listened to music in a while. With the press of the arrow button on my music player I am cheered up, inspired or transported by music. Sometimes music makes me even more depressed or reflective. Regardless music is important to a purposeful life realized.
I listen to a variety of music, but what I listen to over and over again usually involves great, meaningful song writing; relevant words accompanied by good music that say something about what it means to be human, with all the joy, love…mistakes, bumps and bruises. I suppose I don’t think about it too much and certainly am not a musical scholar, so I make no claim to know if what I like is or isn’t of value. All I know is what I like.
Here’s my idea, and what I’m doing about it. Like, half the singers I listen to on any given day are dead. Plus all the ones that aren’t touring anymore. And none of us are getting any younger. Couple that with the fact that we can go at any time. So if you’re gonna do something there’s no time like the present I say. In my mind I started to compile a list of singer-songwriters or musicians that I’d like to see before they kick it or I do. These are artists that if we heard on the news they moved on we know the world we be a lot worse place than it was the day before. I call it my “Before We’re Dead Tour“. So far most of the artist’s on my list are solo acts. There just aren’t that many bands that get me excited enough to see them in person. Maybe it’s the solo artists who are more connected to the music and lyrics, or at least resonate with me. I don’t know, that’s a reflection for another day. Your list may vary.
Without further ado, here is what I’ve come up with for 2014.
Artist: John Prine
Why: For years I just had ‘Illegal Smile‘ bouncing around on my MP3 player, then I discovered ‘Paradise‘ which is about as beautiful, and sad, song as you’re likely to hear. Recently I’ve been listening to his folk songs on Pandora and discovering a whole new slew of great songs.
Prognosis: John was sick in 1998 and isn’t feeling too well again according to his site, we shouldn’t tempt fate. Best we try to see him in 2014.
Status: Pretty good. We have tickets to see John in concert May 17th at the Ohio Theater in Cleveland. Will be a nice night, close enough to our anniversary to count that as our night out. May even go to dinner. The wife has never even heard of him by the way. We’ll see what she thinks.
Arist: Jimmy Buffett
Why: Um, he’s Jimmy Buffett and we’ve never been one of his concerts before. Often, especially on the way to Florida, you can hear the Jimmy Buffett station on the satellite radio in the RAV4 when we’re driving around. I can rattle off about a dozen Buffett tunes that I think are phenomenal from a lyrical standpoint (and the music is good too). And no they’re not the ones you’re thinking of.
Prognosis: Jimmy still tours every year as far as I can tell. He’s old but not like Rolling Stones old….right? As long as he doesn’t fall off stage he should be on the road for many years to come.
Status: Margaritaville.com doesn’t have 2014 tour dates listed yet. We’ll shoot for Cleveland if he comes here….maybe he’ll be just down the road at Blossom and we’ll sit on the lawn. No I won’t wear a grass skirt.
Artist: Willie Nelson
Why: Willie is a living legend. When he stops singing the world will be a worse off in my opinion. His songs run the range from rowdy and fun, to tear jerking. They are threads in the fabric of America. He’s written approximately 148,000 songs by my estimation.
Prognosis: I think Willie is about 157 years old. That being said, he will probably outlive me. Just in case, we should go see him in ’14.
Status: Unknown. His website lists tour dates, but nothing close to Ohio until August. And of those August shows, the one in Indiana isn’t listed on the venue site yet. I’ll have to keep checking or plan on taking a road trip.
Artist: Gordon Lightfoot
Why: While all I’ve really ever listened to is his two disc greatest hits album, there isn’t really an average song in the lot. Each one tells a story, like only Gordon can. He’s the folk pride and joy of Canada for good reason. Like many singer songwriters, I suspect seeing him in person makes for a memorable evening.
Prognosis: Gordon, like Willie, is up there in years. Even if he wasn’t, a visit to one of his shows is long overdue for this writer.
Status: Well, if i get a passport, we can probably catch Gordon on his Spring Canada tour. This is probably our only option. If we wait til Fall he’s still in Canada, but the western half. The real intriguing date is his traditional tour ending four show set at Massey Hall in Toronto.
Well those are the four I’ve got my sights set on for this year. In addition to these I just thought of Neil Young, and Kris Kristofferson. Neither had tour dates listed that are attainable in 2014. Neil only lists dates through January and Kris is in Australia all year.
Ultimately what I’m getting at is you can’t keep saying “next year“. Sometimes you just got to go out there and do what you’ve been thinking about; even if it pops in your head. Or is some random endeavor you’ve been noodling on for a week, year or lifetime. I say “go for it”. Not everything has to be earth shattering or remarkable to anyone other than you. I’ve been trying to practice what I preach, one random thing at a time….for example I took an impromptu photography lesson last week; this on top of my jewelry making class earlier this year. I learned I’m not that into jewelry making, by the way.
I don’t need to do it all, but I guess before I go I want to hear, smell, taste, feel, see and do a lot of things. Brass rings and daydreamers. Maybe it’s selfish. Maybe I’m trying to fill some self-perceived void or deficiency. I don’t know. I’m a lot different person than I was even just a year ago. Life has a funny way of shaping us over time. There needs to be purpose to it all I suspect. At least for me there does.
If I’m lucky, when I’m old and grey I’ll still be able to go on stage… my stage wherever that may be…even if it’s just a music filled studio or bee danced apple orchard..I’ll be able to get on stage like these old timers and love what I’m doing.
Who do you want to see in concert? What do you want to do? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.