What does the son do?
He turns away,
Goes outdoors to feed with wild
Things, lives among dens
And huts, eats distance and silence;
He grows long wings, enters the spiral, and ascends.
Talent and passion are not enough to guarantee success in the music business. It’s a hard truth but one faced by many hard working musicians on a daily basis. The machinery of the industry – the part that spills out money and fame – is calibrated to different parameters in the 21st century, where manufactured shock, passing fads, and homogenized commonality count for more than the music itself. Turn on MTV, CMT and VH1 and the blunt commerce of the product on display slaps one with a sting that’s hard to shake if one is a true lover and connoisseur of real music made by real musicians. However, if one looks away from the comic car-wreck mainstream there is amazing music being made by VERY hard working, highly skilled folks all over the place. Really, it’s blooming in your backyard – DI guarantees that if you make an effort to explore your local scene there are delights the likes of which you cannot currently imagine.
Case in point, the 2nd Annual Guitarmageddon Blues Ball which showcased some of the most talented, driven, downright gifted musicians in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. None of these folks are household names. None of them has a country house, a big sailing ship or even health insurance in many instances. But, you would be extremely hard pressed to find better players making better music just about anywhere today. Each shucks ‘n’ jives every single day to keep the bills paid and the dream rolling along, but put them in a studio or especially up on a stage in front of a few enthusiastic listeners and they glow. The joy of what they do – their abiding pleasure in their craft – shines out of them with a light that cannot be measured by any man-made device but warms us and sustains us in palpable ways. The Impound has known may of these musicians for the better part of a decade and it amazes us that they keep on keepin’ on in the face of the challenges to working musicians in modern times. Their courage and dedication to doing what they do for the right reasons is inspiring to us, and it should stoke the fires of anyone trying to build their own heart songs and public dreams.
Photographer John Margaretten – a blossoming kindred spirit to great talents like Jay Blakesberg and Danny Clinch – brings us a truly marvelous set of images from this night, including the opening sets from Huckle and the Sean Leahy Trio. The six-string knows no greater, more naked celebration than Guitarmageddon, who only gather a few times each year (next up for this self-described “soundtrack for the end of the world through wailing guitars” is High Sierra Music Festival in July), and the festivities are captured in a vibrant, equally joyful way by Margaretten here. It is a pleasure to share his work on DI.
We STRONGLY encourage you to get to know the work of Huckle, Leahy and the other participants in this performance/Cali scene. New Monsoon shredder Jeff Miller has a sweet, intimate solo record out you should delve into, and Tea Leaf Green‘s Josh Clark is always up to something interesting either as a blazing singer-guitarist in TLG and as a fine, under-appreciated artist/cartoonist. And Kiyoshi Foster, Four Year Bender, the varied projects of the Sean Leahy Trio’s rhythm team [Daria Johnson (drums) and Mark Calderon (bass)], and the other fine folks involved in this night are all doing their own voodoo regularly on sessions and in clubs. Explore what they do. Support it with your time, dollars and attention. In each instance, it is a good measure finer and more noursihing than what’s being shoveled at you by the mainstream.