I am a self-professed music freak! It’s what got me into this business of music photography and reviewing concerts. Music has been a huge part of my life since I was a kid.
I made several attempts to play various instruments from drums to the violin in elementary school, but I couldn’t stick with the lessons & practice it takes to become a musician. Instead I became an audiophile and my little box record player and AM transistor radio became my best friends. My first 45 RPM record was the Beatles, “A Hard Day’s Night” which was given to me at the age of 5 and I was totally hooked! Being from the baby boomer era, music and the ways to listen to it has changed drastically since my record player days.
As a teenager, music was everything in my world ranging from Aerosmith to Sly Stone to The Carpenters! Hours spent in my room listening to 45’s and vinyl albums and the top pop hits on my AM radio earphone. As time went by, there came underground FM radio, 8-Track tapes, cassette tapes and CD’s. Various musicians, singers and bands were added to my collection as the music scene and my tastes changed. Music got me through good times, bad times, new loves, breakups, job losses and many life experiences. The 80’s introduced MTV and music videos which became an obsession. Music brought the world together with massive concerts with “Live Aid” to help the people in Africa and “Farm Aid” assisting the American farmer.
In the 90’s, the internet came along and a whole new world of music opened with websites for fans of your favorite musicians. The places where you could meet other fans and talk music in chat rooms with people in Seattle or London. As the Net grew, local musicians had sites like ReverbNation to introduce themselves to the world. People were recording original music on Soundcloud. Remember Napster? YouTube brought us music videos and has continued to grow with homegrown videos, Vevo and is today a go-to video site for music.
Now in our current modern world, we have our devices! I-Phones, Androids, I-Pads, laptops and Smart TV’s. More ways to get the music we need! I won’t even go into the ways we have music in our vehicles, you know! There are music apps galore – Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Amazon Music, your fav tunes downloaded to your device. Bluetooth speakers of all sizes will boost your volume, wireless headphones for anywhere and Alexa plays your fav song or tells you the year your favorite singer was born. Back to the Internet, now there is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok among others, where people record live videos. There are so many ways to get your fav music.
Music is bringing the world together through the Internet and is more important than ever in our current worldwide health crisis. Concert tours have been postponed or cancelled and local bars have been closed, now music addicts need to find other outlets to get their fix. Luckily for us, both national and local musicians are missing their audiences and want to play and entertain us. Live Facebook or Instagram music streams are popping up from every music genre. On the celebrity front, John Legend, Keith Urban, Sheila E., and country superstars, Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood, are just some of the artists that have done live mini concerts online. If you missed them, they are still available for viewing on their Facebook or Instagram accounts. Netflix offers many diverse music documentaries like “Woodstock” or Lady Gaga’s “Five Foot Two” to chose from. For those who are into the singing competition shows, both “American Idol” and “The Voice” are still early into their TV seasons. YouTube and Vimeo offer tons of concerts and music videos to binge on. It’s not just professionals either, everyday people are using music to cope. In Italy, they are singing together out their apartment windows while sheltering in place. Chicagoans took note and paid tribute out their windows with Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer”. Two doctors from the Mayo Clinic performed an incredibly beautiful version of John Lennon’s “Imagine” that has gone viral. Students from the Berklee School of Music have created a great video version of “What the World Needs is Love”. Music is an entity that keeps us holding on during unknown times.
On our own local music scene, Suncoast musicians are struggling, with restaurants and bars being closed, they are out of work. Most local artists work gig-to-gig and it is their full-time job. Many of them have recorded music for sale on their websites. If you have a favorite, help them by buying some music during these hard times. Some of the well-known musicians around the Tampa Bay area who have done live streams are Greg Billings and Dana Lawrence of “Kettle of Fish”. For the rockers, guitarist Gary Schutt is streaming every night Mon – Fri at 9:00 p.m. on his FB page GarySchuttMusic. Our own Sarasota songstress Twinkle (pictured on top picture) and her band Rock Soul Radio will be livestreaming a free concert this Friday night March 27th at 8 pm on both Facebook and YouTube.
Music will continue to bring us hope through life’s journey and is a constant that will be here when the crisis is over and it is time to celebrate! In the meantime music aficionados, there is plenty of music to give you peace and comfort during this time! Thank you to all the musicians for sharing your gifts!
Photos from Vicky Sullivan / The Sarasota Post