Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Guitar Man. . .

Who draws the crowd and plays so loud, baby it's the guitar man
Who's gonna steal the show, you know, baby, it's the guitar man

He can make you love, he can make you cry
He will bring you down, then he'll get you high
Somethin' keeps him goin' miles and miles a day
To find another place to play

There's something special about hearing live musicians, artists and bands play.  You fall in love with their EPs, singles and studio albums that you develop this compulsive need to see them live.  You marvel at their technical musicianship and artistry, wondering what pushes him to be at the top of his game, but mostly what drives him to find more places for him to share his music.  How far would you go to for your own obsessions, passions and desires?

Night after night who treats you right, baby it's the guitar man
Who's on the radio, you go listen to the guitar man
Then he comes to town and you see his face 
And you think you might like to take his place
Somethin' keeps him driftin' miles and miles away
Searchin' for the songs to play. . . 

An element of competition always rears its head amongst musicians.  You tend to compare technique and styles of playing, how they interpret the music in ways that you think you could do better (because nobody plays as good as you do anyway) but in the end you still marvel at how effortlessly the guitar man plays.  You wonder where the guitar man goes when he's playing on his guitar, because you can never hope to follow him when he bends those notes that way. . .

Then you listen to the music and you like to sing along
You want to get the meaning out of each and every song
Then you find yourself a message and some words
To call your own and take them home

I think this is probably my favourite section of the song because the music changes at this point and also because the sentiment behind the lyrics speak to me about what I think about when I write blog posts.  It's also a kind of metaphor for life really, you listen carefully, straining to hear the messages as clearly as possible so that you can claim them to comfort you on whatever journey you find yourself on.  I've been told that when I listen to live music that I tend to socialise more with the music - rather than with people.  This statement used to bother me, but I realise that I'm not willing to compromise who I am when I lose myself in the music. I lose myself willingly, with total abandon, with no concern for who's watching me in a live music venue.  I'm there for the music, not the people.

He can make you love, he can get you high
He will bring you down then he'll make you cry
Somethin' keeps him movin' but no one seems to know
What it is that makes him go

This speaks to me about the power of music, and the power that a musician has to bend his listeners to their will.  The phenomenal musicianship skills that a performer hones for his craft is only truly appreciated by the avid listeners who have followed their progress since they first appeared on the scene.  You don't need to question what makes an artist tick in this sense or try to understand why they can do the things they do - all you need to do is just appreciate and know that you are in the presence of giftedness and this is why you came to watch him play; to go through the range of emotions yourself in front of him, almost as if you've become the performer as he watches you. . .

Then the lights begin to flicker and the sound is getting dim
The voice begins to falter and the crowds are getting thin
But he never seems to notice, he's just got to find
Another place to play, anyway. . .  got to play, anyway. . .  got to play. . . 

Like the end of a great movie that you've just watched, you tend to stick around and listen and watch the musicians until they pack up their gear and overhear conversations about how they think they went and what gigs are coming up next.  Even when the crowd started to disperse and left the once-packed room, the guitar man continues to play, bearing in mind the search for his next venue.

Will you be there next time to watch the guitar man play . . .