Uncle Ted Lehmann wrote a recent post on social media and bluegrass I enjoyed. Here’s the link to his blog: www.tedlehmann.blogspot.com
It set me to thinking about why I write and why I love bluegrass music and the community that surrounds it. It’s because it gives me hope we can still think free. Perhaps I should say this is a dream or a prayer, but I hold it close with what last few betz cells I have not yet whitewashed by mainstream media pablum.
Don’t believe me? When gifted, honest vocalists have trouble making a living and multimillion dollars news is an awards show singer’s arrival to the gala in a giant egg; a kid whose pitch can’t be saved by ProTools, well, I won’t go on….
You see, bluegrass people are independent-minded to the point it hurts. Dedicated, talented singers and instrumentalists journey on in hopes the world will understand in spite of near five dollar diesel fuel and sleepless nights. They don’t do it for money, I assure you.
I remember when “managed care” came in years ago. I begged people not to sign on. Many said, “But they are gonna take care of us for free.”
Back then I told my nurses all that was gonna happen was instead of a county doc making 2.5 times a school teacher salary (which is obscene in and of itself I admit) there are gonna be business guys who make millions of dollars a year off these poor patient’s misfortunes and then buy expensive TV ads to tell them how lucky they are to be ripped off. I used to go home and cry over it. I was way too independent (OK, call me ornery or stubborn if you like) to buy the line. I am sad to say those concerns panned out. My nurses would tell you the accuracy of those long ago predictions borders on spooky.
Going back to bluegrass, I am not enough of an expert on the business end of the industry to make many accurate guesses as to what direction it might take. I hope social media can inject more money into the system but also hope that, unlike managed care, the money gets into the right hands. I don’t give a d@^! if some big biz record executive ever sees a fat bonus again, but if all my journeyman friends got to six figure salaries for a lifetime of study of their art and the kindness to share it with all of us despite the odds against them, then I’m all for it.
Maybe social media will help, but let’s all be careful and responsible with it. I’m gonna use it to empower true music in what small ways I can. I recall the old days of Indie at Medical Staff meetings. Regardless of the nature of the problem at hand he’d sit back, listen to the entire argument, then light a cigarette and say, “Gentleman (I regret there were no lady docs on the Staff back then) I don’t know exactly what’s wrong here, but it has something to do with money.” He was never wrong.
Y’all take care and play hard.
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