Saturday, October 24, 2009

Music Therapy

Here in Minnesota, this was the week that many of us dusted off the light therapy boxes, made adjustments to our anti-depressants, and/or started doing whatever we feel we need to do to ward off the onset of S.A.D. It was cold, rainy, and dark. It's the beginning of a long season of dark and cold, so we're trying to prepare ourselves. After such a week, it was nothing less than nourishment for the soul to be at The Pines CD release show last night.

There's something particularly life-affirming to go into a warm, intimate venue on a cold, rainy night and experience an acoustic ensemble play a gorgeous set at the top of their game. The Cedar's original and masterful sound engineer, Chris Frymire, helped create the masterpiece, dialing in the perfect balance of instruments and vocals to complete the experience. A fixed-camera video of a sky-plains scene where the clouds moved almost imperceptibly for the duration of the set on our new full-sized screen behind the stage really enhanced the ambiance.The band played their entire new CD, Tremolo, and it's a great one.

Sitting there in the dark with 400 people focused exclusively on music got me thinking about how live concerts have become the singular way that most people now experience music at such a level of focus and intensity. The days of sitting in a living room with or without friends, quietly and exclusively listening to music, appear to be behind us. Much has written about the demise of the album, usually focused on how iTunes and downloading has brought emphasis strongly back to single tracks. But more than the method of consumption, it's been the increased portability of music as data files which has truly altered our relationship with it.

As a direct result of that portability, recorded music now mostly accompanies other activities. We listen as we work, drive, walk, or while doing something else in the living room (for those of us who still have a "stereo" in the living room... as more and more folks just listen to music on their computers).

So, it appears that live concerts are where folks are most willing to tune out the rest of the world and focus exclusively on music. That reality puts even greater responsibility on a "listening room" like The Cedar to present as much that is worthy of undivided attention as possible. It's a responsibility we proudly accept... and I think the coming weeks of shows may be among the best line-up in our 20 year history.

This coming week we have two "sleeper" shows. The first, as mentioned by the Angel of Rock, with Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, paired with the Portland Cello Project, could really be special:

The other consists of a trio of teenage siblings from Tupelo, Mississippi who play the blues in a manner that belies their brief years. Well, almost teenagers... the sister, Taya, on drums, is only 10! Check out the Homemade Jamz Blues Band (and notice their homemade instruments- from auto parts!):

Come chase away those seasonal demons and let the healing properties of music feed your soul!

No comments: