I recently received an email from a reader that said, “When I read your column I feel completely lost. Who are these people? What are their sounds?”
And I know where you’re at, thinking wise. Maybe feeling a bit beyond the fence, somewhere just out of earshot of that sweet tasting, blood burning music you been reading about … but never seen live.
Not a problem. There are ways to remedy this.
First things first: Do you own a car? Good, then hit the road. Don’t worry about the cats, the kids, the nine hours of sleep you require or the lack of flat backs in your pocket. Just focus on where you want to marinate in the music for a few hours.
Do you like the Lakes Region? The White Mountains? The grizzled streets of Manchester? Maybe your tastes lean toward them border towns where the metal bands bring the shine. These are all viable options, all teeming with great musicians and all kinds of sounds.
So, what are you thinking? Do you wish to see men play a jawbone, a fiddle, a relic banjo and learn about the Civil War at the same time? You can do that. “The Hardtacks” might be playing at any given library or music hall from Laconia to Salem.
Let’s punch them up on Google. Click Hardtacks. Click Calendar. Bang. Write it down, set the clock and bingo, you’re ready to be entranced, enlightened and engaged.
OK, you want to pass on the jawbone. It’s an acquired taste, sure.
But you love the blues and how it makes your coffee taste and how fun driving is with B.B. at your side, but you really want to see the blues performed live, pinched faces, thick knuckles and all.
Thankfully, you won’t have to go far. Again, hit Google, punch in Arthur James, Delanie Pickering or Baza Blues from New Hampshire and off you go. That cup of coffee will come back hard into your face once Mr. James gets to ripping on his pink guitar. Delanie? Yup, buckle up, sister. One whiff off her golden pipes and you will figure out her sound real quick.
Not much into the bar scene you say? OK, well, you’re not alone. I once was a lone wolf, too, scared of my own shadow, convinced my social skills had gone to rot.
Still, my shadow and pride were pulling at me from side-to-side. Then I looked around and said to myself, “Get up, haus, and get out of yourself. Ain‘t no one gonna bite ya.”
You asked, “Who are these people?” Well, you won’t find them in Good Housekeeping or on FOX News or moonlighting on Game of Thrones. You’ll find these influential, multi-talented, swagger-soaked musicians in all corners of the state, armed to the teeth with gear and passion.
They’re teachers, cameramen, mom’s, craftsmen, grandfathers, farmers, businessmen and vagabonds doing the work that makes our hearts beat to perfection and our heads swim with hope.
They’ve put years (sometimes decades) of practice into their art, daily exercises of the body and mind, and they do it all, as Townes Van Zandt sang, “for the sake of the song.”
That’s who they are.
But in the end, my dear, it’s all on you. Don’t expect the music to come knocking on your front door. It’s out there, blazing a vicious path these days all across the Granite State.
But the music isn’t going to chase you.
You must chase the music.
Rob Azevedo from Manchester is the host of Granite State of Mind on 95.3 FM WMNH Fridays at 6 p.m. and Thursday at 7 p.m. on WKXL 103.9 FM. He also hosts a monthly series at New England College in Concord which features live performances by artists from around New Hampshire.