Goodbye and Hello - November 14, 2011

"...don’t we owe it to local musicians to be conscientious listeners?"

“For were even paradise my prison, still I should long to leap the crystal walls”

John Dryden

“Santa Fe has the most amazing music scene! We need people to notice how amazing the music is here! I’m going to start a new____”

How many times do we have to hear this or some variation of this statement? Admittedly, this is something I have said in the past. Recently, I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking and having conversations with various musicians about the music produced in Santa Fe. My curiosity has pointed me to examine local music under its regional tethers.

I’ve come to few conclusions, but it seems that the things we allow ourselves to tolerate in local music, because of emotional attachments, have turned us into a community of bystanders; an unengaged audience unwilling to acknowledge musicians as creative individuals who have as much responsibility to deliver something moving, something new, something bigger than themselves as we do by responding to music intellectually and emotionally. If we want local music elevated to the status of the visual arts in Santa Fe, then we have to examine it more critically.

Ironically, we have lost our ability to appreciate local music as an artistic platform by this form of groupthink. To quote Jon Davis’ metaphor for writing poetry, “Everyone should play basketball. Why? Because it’s great…but not everyone can be like Mike.”

When we make unapologetic and over-generalized claims, where all local music is equal, we fail in our acknowledgment of those musicians whose genius may not reveal itself so easily.

I have decided to leave my show KBAC’s Live at El Farol and devote my time exclusively to writing music criticism, but more importantly, to educating myself further and explain—to you—how local music fits into a larger context, well beyond our crystal walls.

Although I am thankful for the opportunities that the show has afforded me, those of us who truly support local music should do so by listening more closely and relinquishing the idea…the concept first introduced by Alex De Vore…that all local music is amazing and worth supporting because it has the good fortune of being played in Santa Fe.

Supporting bands through your cover charge is one thing—and a very important thing—but don’t we owe it to local musicians to be conscientious listeners…isn’t that what its all about?

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