Saturday, September 17, 2011

When's the last time you downloaded an old track of Sinatra on Itunes?  Any chance your ipod or giant stash of burned cds in your car have any Elvis jams on them?  If you're anything like the majority of our generation, you probably couldn't be bothered to listen to anything that wasn't created by a computer.  In a world where hip hop, techno and teeny bopper-pop rules the radio, I find it impossible to forget where all this music started; where it all began.  Do you really think Eminem would even exist if it weren't for the revolutionary visions of icons like Bobby Darin or Johnny Cash?  

Albert Einstein was convinced that in so many words, music was the key to the universe.  I seriously doubt he was bangin' out to The Black Eyed Peas when he shared this wonderful thought. Fortunately though, there are still old school guys out there keeping our society grounded.  Michael Buble put a spell on our planet's ears with his mesmerizing voice.  But we all know he didn't become famous singing his originals right?  Absolutely not.  He was discovered on Star Search singing "Mack The Knife" by Bobby Darin.  And now, all of his 'hit' albums are strictly remakes of 50 year old tunes made famous by the likes of, Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy, Bobby, Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole.  Don't get me wrong, he's got a couple decent originals like "Home", "Lost" and "Everything".

So many people ask me, "why are you so dead-set on singing old Jazz standards?"  My response: "That kind of music requires talent."  No synthesizers or computers were altering any vocal techniques back then. Those were just pure, beautiful, well-trained, voices.  Now, T-Pain, Chris Brown and Timbaland have got people fooled.  We're obsessed with these 'fake voices'.  I can appreciate that our tastes change and our cultures evolve.  But how far can music continue to evolve until no human beings are required at all?  Not even a guitar or a drummer would be needed if we only chose to listen to Trance, House, Dubstep or Techno.  I love playing The House Of Blues because every band is made up of raw talent with bloody fingers and sweaty brows.  Hoarse vocals and shaky knees.  Am I looking to get famous? Not at all.  My vision of success is simply being able to work steadily and travel, doing what I love;  performing live.  Performing music where people can hear and understand every lyric I'm swoonin' their way.  

I am embarrassed to admit this; but I did watch the final (and ONLY the final) episode of America's Got Talent.  (I'm extremely anti-reality TV).  The four finalists included three large groups and one solo guy.  This one guy against a bunch of large groups and teams.  What was his talent, you ask?  He was a crooner!  He sings old tunes in the old style of Frank and the Rat Pack.  The winner ended up being that gentleman from West Virginia.  At one point he was homeless and washing cars, now he's a million dollars richer and will have a show in Vegas.  At first, I can't lie, I was totally jealous.  I hate reality TV and for this guy to make it big singing the stuff I sing, off of a whim on a TV show, when I've been at this for years made me a tad sour.  But then I realized something.  There's still hope. Hope for our generation.  This lone, homely, humble, shy, man was able to capture the entire audience of America singing the exact same tunes I belt out every week.  Do I want to be rich and famous? No.  Truthfully, I would settle for having my bills paid, paycheck to paycheck and traveling the world playing lounges til I'm dead.  I'll never retire.  But I'll tell you one thing: you think it's easier to get work as a musician singing the same poppy crap the radio's over-play every day?  Or to go after a piece of the Buble pie?  Not a lot of competition there; and I like those odds.  Now get off your damn computer and go listen to some real music.  I know you've got a favorite Elvis Presley song...everybody does.  



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