Most people who know me well know how important a part of my life music is. My iPod is stocked with music from all genres. I dabble (and I mean, dabble) in playing guitar. I love checking out performances of up-and-coming or lesser known artists often more than a chart-topping singer in a huge arena.
I recently went to see five performers at this amazing little club in Cambridge, MA – Club Passim. I love seeing shows here – it reminds me of those underground Italian jazz clubs you see in movies. Although the club is literally “underground” — you have to go downstairs from the street to enter, it is quite well known in Boston and elsewhere. Still, being there makes you feel like you discovered a secret little jewel.
What’s even greater is that this cultural center, as it is known, is a non-profit organization that’s been around for more than 40 years. Its mission is dedicated to the “cultivation and preservation of folk music.” One of the great things they offer is a music and arts series for kids to make up for the programs that have been ripped from our school systems. Oh, and yes, they do accept donations (hint, hint, wink, wink). You may make your tax-deductible contribution here.
But I digress. My motivation for going to this show was to see Lori McKenna (again!). She is this incredibly talented singer/songwriter from a small town in Massachusetts. Her voice is unique and lovely, and her lyrics are captivating. She has such a great rapport with her audience, I can never tire of seeing her. This show was her annual “cover songs” night, and she was joined by Mark Erelli (whom I also love) and Jake Armerding (first time seeing him – lots of fun). Much to my delight, there were two additional special guests I had never heard of, but am now quite impressed by – Jabe Beyer and Erin McKeown. Jabe Beyer is one of those singers who has such an incredible instrument that is his voice – he opens his mouth and this strong, sultry voice falls out with, what appears to be, such ease.
The evening felt like the lot of us (the audience) were sitting in someone’s living room listening to a jam session with five amazing musicians. My group and I were seated at a table up front, off to the side of the stage; basically right next to the musicians. Being that close, I could see the joy in their faces as they sung songs written by some of their biggest influences. I could see the light in their eyes as they dove deep into the art that they love with dear friends by their sides. With all five of them seated in a line, I could see each of their feet simultaneously begin to tap as one musician started his or her song. I could see the awe and pride in Erin McKeown’s face as Mark Erelli surprised her with a cover of one of her songs.
Everyone has something that affects them the way music affects me. It just often gets lost in our fast-paced world. I encourage you to remind yourself of yours and make time for it today. Yes, today. Right now. Even if it is just jotting a note to remind yourself of what it is. O.K. Stop reading now and do it. Really. Why are you still reading? I’ve got to go dust off my guitar…