Can music save your mortal soul?

I imagine, when this whole thing is over and the wicked pandemic witch is at last dead, someone will need to coax us all back into the glorious freedom of our lives.

I’d like to think musicians will be our Glindas, summoning us with their eloquent songs to “come out, come out wherever you are” and, knowing it’s safe to do so, we’ll emerge like munchkins so, so ready to dance and sing along.

I know I’ll be ready because it’s been a very long time since I sat still and let the magic of live music wash over me. I can’t wait to do it again. Even more than I am ready to hear them, though, the musicians are anxious to perform.

A few weeks before Christmas I turned the corner near my house and saw a man walking toward my front door.

“Weird,” I said to the little fellow in my passenger seat. “That man looks like Jon Wheelock.”

“Who is Jon Wheelock?” he asked.

“He’s a really good musician who used to play gigs all over the place in the before times,” I said. “He plays in a band called J-Council and Molly, Kathy, Keith, Grandma and I really love to listen to him.”

Well, it turns out the man who looked like Jon Wheelock actually was Jon Wheelock. He was delivering a T-shirt Molly had ordered for my Christmas present, which was an excellent choice on many levels. We can’t really support live music right now, but we can buy merch and download songs and even that little bit may help keep talented artists, who depend on touring for their income, solvent until they can get back on the road and do what we all love.

I don’t know how our creative people are making it through this year with so few opportunities to perform. I’ve seen some gallant efforts — virtual concerts, patreon subscriptions, house concerts in people’s backyards when the weather allows. But, if you depended on paying gigs for your income, and live performances for your soul, you might despair as the months of this pandemic dragged on.

That’s why I wear my musician T-shirts with such pride. I want them to know there are a lot of people like me, who understood the gift of free live music when we could simply stroll downtown and gorge on it, and are actively seeking ways to support it now.

As vaccines continue their wobbly rollout, I sense a light at the end of this tunnel, and I can’t wait to celebrate with a good old-fashioned live music concert.

In the meantime, here are some things we can do:

  1. Make a playlist of some of your favorite independent artists and share it. I’m always interested in learning about new music and I’ll gladly share my favorites as well.
  2. Download and stream music.
  3. Keep an eye on your favorite artists’ social media sites, offer come positive feedback and buy their merch.
  4. Consider making a donation directly to your favorite artist.

Don Mclean posed the question 50 years ago (Happy Anniversary American Pie!) and I believe we can answer with an emphatic Yes! Music can save our mortal souls.

Now it’s up to us to save the musicians.

Molly gave me this cool J-Council T-shirt for Christmas this year along with two others from Suitcase Junket and Wild Adriatic. I really appreciate all of the live music these talented groups have provided and I’m happy to support them until they can swing this way again.
I loved every Jon Wheelock concert I’ve ever attended.
Even this one, during which we were all swarmed by thousands of lake flies.
Remember when Mile of Music used to look like this and Wild Adriatic played like the rock stars they are?
I look forward to smaller, but even more significant live concert moments like this one as well, when Hillary Reynolds and her dad Ric finished their first set in the beautiful Lawrence Chapel during the inaurgural Mile of Music, and then pointed up in honor Hillary’s mother and my friend Trina.
Remember when Travis McNab played the drums on a napkin canister at the Queen Bee? Molly does.

2 thoughts on “Can music save your mortal soul?

  1. Listening to live music, especially in an outdoor setting is one of the things I miss most. Even walking past street musicians and stopping to share in their joy/grief/jubilation with other listeners. Music has the power to bring us together, and will. But you’re right about supporting the artists now (of all forms, actually) so they’ll be there for us then. Bring on the vaccines and dancing shoes!

    1. Yes! The unexpected music you hear as you walk past. I love it. I miss it. I will always be grateful for it.

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