Howdy Folks. I’m honored to share my thoughts on F.A.M.E. Goal #2. Education, specifically c. “Encourage musicians to expand and explore beyond their one genre or instrument.”
I was fortunate to have parents who listened to all kinds of music and tolerated my listening to rock ‘n’ roll and later, the blues, in the comfort of my home growing up. I was formally trained on the violin and later picked up the drums on my own. I borrowed a guitar for two years from a neighbor while I was still at home, and I bought my first guitar when I left and joined the Army. (I return the borrowed guitar) I was exposed to the British Music Invasion, with the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Dave Clark Five just to name a few. My folks also gave me a Country and Western (C&W) music greatest hits album in the mid sixties. On my own I started listening to folk music in the late 60’s along with what we now call Classic Rock.
What I found most interesting in listening to all this “new” music was a lot of it was “covered”--someone else’s song. And when I went to hear the original versions of rock ’n ’roll, Rockabilly, Blues, Rhythm and Blues (R&B), and Soul, I realized the interconnection of all of this music. In the 70’s, I listened to Folk, Progressive, Southern, Heavy Metal Rock; Fusion Jazz; along with the singer/song writers and later Funk, R&B and Soul. In the 80’s, it was New Wave, some Punk, and played electric guitar, sang pop, C&W and in the 90’s, Contemporary Christian and Gospel. All of these influences are part of what I write and perform now and are incorporated in my latest collaboration Celtic Faerie: A Contemporary Folk Musical.
I used to religiously listen to “A Prairie Home Companion,” who would have all manner of Americana music, from Bluegrass to Broadway, A cappella to Zydeco. On the radio now, when I listen to music, I Iisten to Contemporary Folk on WAMU 88.5 FM, Jazz on WPFW 89.3FM, and Classical music on WETA 90.9FM. I’ve been listening to the complete Jimi Hendrix catalog for the past year and in his short life I hear rock, heavy metal, fusion, funk, country, “freakish blues” and folk & progressive rock and he sang and played electric and acoustic 12 string guitars, drums, bass, comb, and harpsichord.
I have renewed my passion for percussion playing at the bi-weekly Jazz Jam here in Frederick and play along with all kinds of musicians from folk, rock, blues, country, and Bluegrass at our F.A.M.E showcases and Open Mics. I encourage you all to take the time and listen to something different than what you are accustomed to as a life-long students of music. Go to places in your community that play live jazz, blues, folk, R&B, country, bluegrass, Celtic, funk rap, Hip Hop world music or whatever. Talk to your fellow musicians about what it is they do and how they do it. I guarantee you’ll find a connection, expand your musical horizons and gain a greater appreciation for their musicianship regardless of genre.
Tomy, One “M” Wright Man on the Line Music, BMI F.A.M.E & SAW Boards of Directors