We went to a house concert last night, the Rio Rancho House Concert Series specifically, and we saw and heard a fantastic performer- excellent singer, accomplished songwriter, killer guitarist. We arrived worn out from a long day of work and left energized and excited because of the musical performance. So what’s the problem? The event was woefully under-attended.
I realize that as we come out of the pandemic, a contributing factor, no doubt, is that a lot of folks are approaching gatherings cautiously. However, there is a trend that’s been going on for a good deal longer than Covid and that is the waning of performance venues and other opportunities for Singer/Songwriters, driven, I’m afraid, by a diminishing interest on the part of the general public to attend AND listen to talented artists. I’m not talking about huge concert events at stadiums and arenas, those are a different beast. I’m talking about intimate events in smaller listening venues or people’s living rooms where you get to listen to and interact with incredibly talented human beings whom most people have never heard of.
Why is this a problem? Things change, technology drives our culture, we sink deeper into our devices. This makes it financially tough on the artists, no doubt, which has a direct impact on the desire and willingness of upcoming generations to pursue a career in music. A bigger problem though is that it’s killing the soul of the humans who make up our society. This type of music promotes connections, it fosters compassion and empathy, it preserves history, it encourages us to think and feel. It is good for your heart and soul. We need it desperately. You may not miss it until it’s gone, but you WILL miss it!
I’m on the “seasoned” end of the singer/songwriter spectrum (that’s a euphemism for “geezer”) so my personal stake is fairly limited. However, through my involvement with a number of wonderful organizations…International Western Music Association, Folk Alliance International (most especially the Southwest Regional Folk Alliance- SWRFA) and the Western Writers of America…I know quite a few incredibly talented young folks who are creating brilliant works of musical art, too many of which are going unnoticed. You can do something about this AND it will be good for you! Find out what listening venues are in your community and SUPPORT THEM! You will be fostering the next generation of artists, you will be supporting venues that are committed to preserving this form of artistic expression and most of all, you will be doing yourself a HUGE favor. You’ll feel better, I promise! These days, who doesn’t need that?! And by the way, the gentleman we heard last night was an amazing performer by the name of Kray Van Kirk. Check out his work, it’s outstanding.