Here we are in week number three of Now Not Playing with at least another several weeks ahead of closed venues, social distancing and no way to see live music like the way we used to within the parameters established by those in the know. So with the lack of music made by those in the actual room with us, let's see what goodies we can find in the virtual room online.
First, I would like to encourage any of you who have anything around the house you could use to make music on to take it up and play it however you can. If it's a common folk weapon such as a guitar, banjo, hand drum, harmonica or ukulele, or perhaps that packed away flute, trumpet, trombone, clarinet or other band instrument from your high school days, now could be a good time to see what happens when you create your own music. If you need some help, there are plenty of lessons on the web and you can choose instructors from all over the globe or online teachers based here in town. So go play, please.
While fiddling around on Facebook, I noticed that Troy Roark, a founding member of Mr. Opporknockity, along with Doug Gholson (and Troy is also the drummer in Suburban Mystics), posted titles of a bunch of music-related movies and shows he had been watching during "the Pause." His list included documentaries, live concerts and combinations of both that sparked quite an online conversation about what musicians and music followers recommend, dislike and really enjoy in that field. Along with those actual published works on the major streaming networks, YouTube has tons of live clips and full concerts, privately recorded and otherwise, of nearly any music act you can think of, from the biggest names in the business to ones you'll wish you'd never heard of after a brief listen.
And on top of all that, every minute of every day someone is going on Facebook Live with a show (I did three last week) or hosting a concert on Twitch, StageIt, Periscope, Instagram Live, YouTubeLive or another platform. And it's not just the guy next door, even though many of them are live streaming now. Songwriter and blues great Keb' Mo' does a song a day on his Facebook page from his living room and calls it Mo' at Home. Americana queen Amanda Shires hosts I So Lounging at 5 p.m. daily and it appears her hubby, Jason Isbell, drops in when he can. On a whim I checked out Paul McCartney, but so far Sir Paul is not doing any concerts from his home.
And for Now Playing Online, I'm disappointed we don't have more local artists doing shows, or if they are, I don't understand why they aren't using our special IT online calendar for online events. I see that Silas Tag Tockey is back this week for his daily show (2 p.m.) and Avery Kern is doing another Friday show (7 p.m.), as will Theresa O'Hare and I (8 p.m.). Honestly, I am having a blast broadcasting from our living room, connecting with fans, friends and family all over the country, all while reaching many more listeners than I ever could on a regular night at a bar in town. Of course, I miss interacting with an in-person audience and the indescribable energy that comes from the gathering of humans to experience live music, but until those times return, let's listen to music through our devices or use our instruments at home to make our own, all while we keep safe and take care.