I’ve been doing some discouraging reading about COVID and singing gatherings. We’ll talk about that later. But one of the many strange silver linings of this shutdown time has been the Friday night open mics I’ve been running by Zoom. We’ve been sharing some great tunes and good laughs, and I’ve made some new friends I can’t wait to meet in real life.
I haven’t been playing a lot of music. That’s the truth. I think about music all the time and I’m still passionate and active in encouraging people to make music – to learn instruments and sing and write. Keep up the good work, Friends! But I have been playing at the Wednesday jams and the Friday open mics and I’m thankful for that.
The last couple of weeks for open mic I’ve been digging through my old binders. Stuff that I played a lot maybe in my university days or in my 20s. Original material I’d totally forgotten about, and great cover tunes that I haven’t put my own voice to in a very long time. It’s been a treat.
Last week the open mic revolved around movie music. That’s a broad category – but it got me thinking about soundtracks. All these songs I’ve been digging up from years ago, put next to the songs I’ve been playing more recently make up my own soundtrack. The music of my life. Some of it I love because of the music itself and some of it means a lot because of the memory or the moment it’s attached to. Some of it would overlap with your own soundtrack and some of it is unique to me.
I encourage you right now, if you’re stuck for motivation or inspiration, look back to ten years, fifteen, twenty or more years ago and think about the songs that influenced you. Then Google them and get out your ukulele or guitar and play your own versions. (then come share them at Friday open mic).
Stay strong, Friends. The reading I’m doing indicates that it might be a long time before we can safely sing together in real space again – singing in community is officially a “high-risk activity” – but with the right precautions in place, we may soon be able to socially-distance-gather and play for each other one at a time. But we are still in this together and congregating around music is still medicine, therapy and life-giving. Whether that’s in person or on the screen, I encourage you to come out when you’re able.
In the meantime, here is one of my soundtrack songs. It’s not so much a song I love for the music itself (although I do so LOVE Eric Bibb – a major contributor to my soundtrack) but it popped up in my head when I was doing something particularly challenging and it got me through.
“Keep on when your mind says quit – dream on ’til you find you’re living it”. Shine on.