This really should be the Golden Age of Music. Recorded music is so easily available. Nearly any commercial recording is available online as a stream or a download from your favorite music source (now if we can only figure out how the musicians and content creators get paid for it). I have several hundred full albums from my favorite artists available on my iPhone, and I could stream what I don’t have. No, these lossy versions don’t sound as good as the original source, but they sure sound a metric crap-ton better than the cassettes of old … provided you’re not listening to them on crappy earbuds.
There have been significant advances in live sound as well. Line array PA technology (used correctly) has gone a long way to ensuring all seats in a venue get as close to the same sound as possible. Digital mixers with total recall and incredible effects and EQ on every channel help keep sound consistent night after night, venue after venue. I use smaller versions of the line array and a digital mixer even on my gigs down here, and they make a real difference in my sound.
Because no one makes money on recorded music anymore, concert ticket prices have soared. Even so, there’s still nothing better than live music. It touches the heart and soothes the soul in ways that hardly anything else can. Locally, we are blessed with a lot of really good musical talent, and most of us can be seen and heard for free (or the cost of dinner and drinks at most).
And we’re fortunate to have some great artists and bands still touring. Just within this past year, we’ve seen Bonnie Raitt and Marc Cohn, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, and the Doobie Brothers. Still upcoming this year: Jackson Browne, Aussie Pink Floyd, Sting, and Mary Chapin Carpenter and Shawn Colvin. We did have tickets for Gordon Lightfoot, but sadly…
And we are lucky to have as many quality acts touring as we do, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic. Industry pros were wondering how long it would take to rebuild the live music infrastructure necessary for the big tours. Thankfully, live music is back with a vengeance. And no one is taking their jobs for granted anymore.
There are some downsides. Even with all the hassles of venues, ticket fees, parking, crappy small seats, and crowds, being in the performance — in the middle of the creation of live music — more than makes up for any inconvenience. Great music transcends almost all else; it lifts the soul and takes you on a journey to wonderful places. Watching an artist or band on stage is so inspirational. It gives me fuel to keep doing what I do. And it’s the most amazing totally legal high. There are also some really great concert venues in South Florida, and it’s a joy experiencing a concert at one of these.
I realize that not everyone experiences music the way I do. And I’m really sorry about that. Some of our best musicians, composers, writers and philosophers have explained it far better than I can, so I’ll let them do it.
“Music is the universal language of mankind.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“Music is a language that doesn’t speak in particular words. It speaks in emotions, and if it’s in the bones, it’s in the bones.” – Keith Richards
“Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.” – Leonard Bernstein
“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” – Aldous Huxley
“Music is probably the only real magic I have encountered in my life. There’s not some trick involved with it. It’s pure and it’s real. It moves, it heals, it communicates and does all these incredible things.” – Tom Petty
“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” – Bob Marley