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"monet-Ization" (&c.)...


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Sent off a column to Lorelei Loveridge for Performing Songwriters United Worldwide. “Monetization” was supposed to be the subject—and I couldn’t resist bringing up Claude Monet. (Yes, the impressionist painter.) He ended up being surprisingly apt: his paintings are thousands of little dots that seen from a distance, turn into landscapes. The “Monet-ization” lesson: Look at things differently.

A comparison is possible between the dinosaurs that control the music industry and us small-scale independents, who are like prehistoric voles scuttling about beneath the dinosaurs’ feet (and trying not to get crushed). Closer to the ground, we can see the dots; we can maybe even change the dots. The dinosaurs dominate the landscape, but all they can see is the Big Picture; they can’t change it, because they can’t see the dots. And therein, I think, is the opportunity for the little folks.

The tavern in Hebo is open again (new owners—it had been closed for something like ten years), and I have that locally famous song, the “Welcome to Hebo Waltz,” about the town that’s got no population, only a welcome sign; I can stop by and give ‘em a CD, make sure they know I’m a musician looking for work, and suggest they have live music in their tavern—perhaps a Welcome to Hebo Concert.

I attended the opening of the 2nd Street Public Market in Tillamook. Their stage is quite nice—it’d do for a band as well as solo acts—but I think solo, duo, or small-scale acts is probably what they need during the day, anyway, to not interfere with the shoppers. (The ideal time to have bands would be at night on the weekends.) So I need that solo EP. Copy for the Market, and another for Artspace, the Bay City café I drive past several times a week (I met the owner at the Market, though I didn’t tell her I was a musician). I can put the “Welcome to Hebo Waltz” on that, too, and make it do double duty.

I met a cello player, too; he’s Scottish, lives in Nehalem or one of those other places up north, and showed up with the Scottish potter whose work is on display (and for sale) this month at the Arts Center. He’s the only cello player I’ve met who hasn’t been scared off by being told I’ve written a bluegrass song (“Welcome to Hebo Waltz,” in fact) that has a cello part. He doesn’t drive—but I do, and the Tascam is portable. He has one of the most expressive faces I’ve ever run across, too—when he plays, he acts like he’s doing battle with the cello (he usually wins). It would be fun to film him, and use that as the video track for the song.

There was music all weekend, and it was all good. Friday at City Hall, I stuck primarily to traditional stuff, because Elsie (on accordion) was our only lead player; I made up for it Saturday, playing only my stuff at the Library. Four songs at the Arts Center’s open mike (they liked “The Dead Sweethearts Polka” best, I think)—plus two of the musicians I’d encouraged to come to the open mike did so. Sunday at the Forestry Center, I got to be the lead player. I probably do all right as long as there’s no one to compare me to.

I think next month I’ll be the one hosting the Arts Center’s open mike (July 10), so I’ll solicit a bunch of people I know; with almost a month to do promotion in, it may be possible to generate some traffic. This week, I have meetings Monday and Wednesday, a play to go to Tuesday, and music Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. How did I get so busy being unemployed? I also have more job applications pending than I can count, and have not been called for a single interview. Has the economy really not improved? Or is it me?

Joe

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