Thursday, October 16, 2014

More thoughts on when a hero or mentor dies . . .

I shared in an earlier blog about the recent deaths of some of my music heroes,  and the recent death of my long-time music mentor.

I asked the question, "what next?"

Many years are spent by many people as they learn the music craft by watching, listening (and often copying) other singers and musicians.

If you know anything about Gordon Lightfoot, and how he strums the rhythm for most songs, and you hear my main rhythm style, you will probably notice a similarity.  I did not know this until someone pointed it out to me recently. They were right.

In my recent banjo playing, I find that I have been trying to play claw hammer style like Pete Seeger.

When I play native american flute, I find that I listen to N. Carlos Nakai, and try to play like he does.

I don't really have a favorite harmonica player . . . but I do like to listen to folks who play the old folk style harmonica.

It has been said that imitation is the best form of flattery.   I would agree with this.

Now, back to my question . . . when heroes and mentors die, what next?

For me, the "next" part is finally finding and acknowledging myself within all the music I play and sing.   It's finally time to not try and sound like John Denver, or Pete Seeger, Jim Newton or Joe Laughlin.

It's time to play like Rick Mang plays.  It's time to sing like Rick Mang sings.  It's time to make the music for what is in my heart, and not to sound like someone else.

In truth, this means that I may have to stop performing for a period of time after I fulfill my commitments through the end of the year.  It will mean playing at home, or with close friends, and in the process thanking and letting go of heroes and mentors who are gone, and stepping out as a teacher myself.

It''s time to figure out what it sounds like to hear me play on the guitar or another instrument.  It's time to figure out what it sounds like when I sing.

This may seem or sound scary to some people.  I'm actually looking forward to taking a break of sorts, and doing some iPad recording, and doing some actual song writing instead of singing other peoples songs.

Yes, I am looking forward to this.  And I'm going to let it take as long as it needs to take.  This is a process, or journey, that I need to travel all the way from point A to point B.

My heroes and mentors are gone . . . now it's time to make MY music.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

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