Spend your whole life trying
Ride that train, free your heart
It’s midnight up in Harlem
~ Midnight in Harlem, Tedeschi-Trucks Band
Two different friends turned me on to two separate treats over the weekend; one musical and the other political. Leave it to yours truly to connect them to each other!
My buddy Ron sent me this wonderful live Derek Trucks/Susan Tedeschi track, Midnight in Harlem. Trucks and Tedeschi, both virtuoso blues guitarists, also happen to be husband and wife.
My friend Lisa sent me this fabulous Ask Andrew W.K. piece from the Village Voice responding to a liberal democrat progressive son’s frustration with his super right-wing conservative dad.
The connection I made between the two is as follows. Both musical track and political piece are all about relationship! Bands are like families when you stop and think about it. The relationship between Derek, Susan and their band has a huge impact in more ways than one on the music they make…just as the relationship between the liberal son and the right-wing father will determine the quality of the music they make together as family. My guess is, from reading the son, that their music could be a little harsh on the ears.
So the first thing I’d like you to do is sit back, listen and watch as the Tedeschi-Trucks Band demonstrate how sweet it can be when relationship is strong, healthy, loving and respectful. I’ll sit back and watch the joy come over your face as the magic unfolds…
…OK, now the Ask Andrew piece to feel the difference when these qualities are absent. I know one was easier to listen to than the other was to read, but there is valuable grist in them thar mills my friends so thank you for bearing with me! Here’s what I see, as a musician, on the Tedeschi-Trucks stage…
First of all there is a recognized leader on the stage who is totally respected and “followed”. Next, every musician has a different voice which is equally appreciated and respected. Imagine what that stage would look, feel and sound like if the bass player resented the keyboard player for playing different notes…or if the drummer felt the need to overpower Derek’s guitar. What we see and feel in this video is the wonderful result that follows when we season world class talent with leadership, love and respect! We find genuine happiness here!
Now, when I read the liberal son’s letter to Andrew I am struck by the lack of love and respect. There appears to be no “recognized” leader…in fact, there appears to be no recognition at all. There is no harmony…there is no happiness…there is no music in this picture at all! Very sad and sadder still when you think about how many American families are suffering the exact same fate for the exact same reasons and depriving themselves of the music they could be making together!
I loved Andrew’s response! You can almost picture him as a conductor with no attachment to any particular instrument…he loves and respects them all. He realizes the importance of every voice! I can actually see Andrew directing the liberal son to the Tedeschi-Trucks stage to glimpse the formula that will save and enrich his own family experience. He is actually prescribing for the liberal/conservative family what the musician family has understood and accepted for generations!
How in the world do we reclaim what the American family had for so many generations and seems to be losing more of each and every day? I think the most obvious question that needs to be answered first is where our sons and daughters are getting their cues? The venomous anger in the son was fed to him by someone outside the family. All of a sudden people who have different thoughts and opinions, play different notes in different keys become “assholes”! Why if I didn’t know any better I’d say the family music well has been intentionally poisoned! But who would do such a thing…for what purpose?
I’d say Andrew has given us some wonderful sheet music…so what now? Well there is only one way to get back to Carnegie Hall that I’m aware of. We need to practice! 🙂