Thursday, October 24, 2013


Wow! It’s not unusual to have a weekend in our area where there are a lot of choices to be made when you are picking your music, however, this weekend is unusually tough. This time of year we are almost overloaded with things to do on these blustery fall weekends; Pumpkin pickin’, apple pickin’, car shows, train rides, nature walks, craft fairs, and music, music, music.
These are my ‘picks’ for the weekend, but if you look around, there are many other options out there. Obviously, I can’t make all of these (sorry friends), but you might be able to fill my seat at one or two. So, in chronological order:

Tonight (Thursday), if you are in, or headed to Brooklyn, Casey Driessen is appearing at House of Love Concerts in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn (NOT Red Hook in Dutchess County). Show Starts at 7:00pm. Check his FB page for details.

Also tonight, The Saturday Night Bluegrass Boys will be appearing at the Harmony Café, 51 Mill Hill Rd., Woodstock. Show starts at 8:30pm (Woodstock time). No cover (tip jar). Look for some early arrivals to town for the big show this weekend to show up at the club. Bill Keith is working on the road, so Eric Weisberg should be filling in for him tonight. If you come, find me and say ‘hi’.

Friday night (lots of options here) Amy Helm will be hosting “Fridays at the Barn” at Levon Helm Studios. ‘Music of Fleetwood Mac” is on the bill this week. Tickets are $35.00. Details at

Also Friday: Two Dollar Goat will be playing at the very intimate Hopped Up Café in High Falls, music starts . Great contemporary high energy Bluegrass. If you haven’t seen these guys, you should. No cover (feed the tip jar). Details can be found on FaceBook at either Two Dollar Goat page or the Hopped Up Café. Good food and brew, for sure.

Lastly on Friday, Tanager will be playing at the New York School of Music in Walden, NY. I don’t have any details on cost, but the music starts at 7:30. I am hearing a lot of good things about Tanager and am really looking forward to seeing them soon.

Saturday starts out with the Woodstock Invitational Luthiers Showcase at the Bearsville Theater. You can get a lot of the details from my earlier post, found here (or just scroll down). There is also a “Sampler Concert” at 8pm on Saturday night, 8pm at the Woodstock Playhouse, featuring many performers from the show. Get all the details on the Show website. Also, consider the After-Show party at the Colony Café on Sunday night at 8PM. You KNOW there is gonna be some killer music there for sure.

Furthermore, on Saturday night, Mikael Horowitz and Gilles Malkine will be presenting their own brand of wondrously cerebral humor in musical and other forms at the Woodstock Artist’s Association at 28 Tinker St. in Woodstock. Show begins at 7pm with a paltry $12.00 fee at the door.  I can tell you truly that I won’t miss this one, it’s been on my list for a couple of months now. I can’t wait to see what they pull out of the hat, but no matter what they chose, I know I will laugh and enjoy.

So there you have my suggestions. No reason to go to work on Monday feeling down when you have all this fuel to shoot you through next week with a big grin on your face. The only question, how are you going to choose?

Keep The Beat,

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Just recently (October 2013) the New York Banjo Summit Tour 2013 came to a close. As expected, the tour was a great success, selling out many of the venues it appeared in during it's 13 day run. The tour consisted of banjo Masters Eric Weisberg, Bill Keith, Tony Trischka, Bela Fleck, Noam Pickelny, Richie Stearns, and Abigail Washburn. The all star backing band consisted of Russ Barenberg (Guitar), Corey DiMario (Bass), Jesse Cobb (Mandolin), and Casey Driessen (Fiddle). In addition they were joined by various special guests along the tour such as Darol Anger and Matt Glaser. It was, as anticipated, an epic tour.
 I mentioned in an earlier post  here that I was extremely disappointed to miss this event. As much as I would travel great distances to see these folks play, I also was looking forward to seeing Casey play with this group, especially after his work up at Grey Fox this past summer. I was so excited when his participation was announced because Casey is one of my top 3 favorite fiddlers. A master of his instrument he has found new and exciting ways to create music with it and blending in new technologies, he creates pieces in a manner that I have never heard or seen before. Casey is also a very fine gentleman and I have had the chance to chat with him briefly after a few Flecktones concerts. One of the hardest working musicians you will ever find, Casey is always on the go and into something. Then there is that chop he has. If you have never seen what Casey can do with his chop, then you have a huge hole in your musical experience.
 A lesser known attribute Casey carries is his photography. As Casey travels around, he collects photos of varying subjects showing points of view that many of us would have missed. I like his stuff and his 'perspectives'.
This brings me to the point of this post. What is a fiddler who is trapped on a tour bus for 2 weeks with a bunch of banjo players going to do to keep his sanity? Well, apparently, if your name is Casey Driessen, you pull out your camera and take advantage of the situation by documenting a few of the most classic banjo jokes you can think of, using the cream of the crop in northeast banjo players as your subjects. These photos were published by Casey on Face Book as part of the tour promo's and having a little fun while 'keeping the public informed' of the tour's progress. Some of the photos have grown legs and are showing up all over while others are being missed. I even missed one myself and I was looking for them each day. With Casey's gracious permission, here is probably my favorite of the series:
For the actual joke this is based on, well, you will need to go to Casey's page to get the answer, I am not going to spill the beans here, but I will say that this is one which I instantly 'got'. If you don't, then we know you are not a banjo player, but we know that not everyone is., or understands the malady's that affect the average banjoist.

 So we wanted to preserve these in so far as is possible in a place where they could be enjoyed and found easily. I believe these will circulate for years in various forms and I wanted to make sure that Casey retained credit for the creativity shown in these. I contacted Casey with this proposal, and coincidentally, he had been thinking the same thing.  Casey has graciously added these to his website for us all to enjoy. So if you got to Casey Driessen's page found here, you will be able to view the whole series.
 The photos themselves take the form of a riddle in that the observer must ascertain from the scene what the classic banjo joke is. For fun, he has posted the questions and answers at the BOTTOM of the page so that you can work out the tougher ones for yourself before checking the answers. If you are not a banjo person you will probably find these challenging. Unfortunately for me, I guessed most of them in a few seconds, but a couple kept me going for minutes on end.When you are done, check out the other stuff he has waiting under the tabs along the top of his page. There is a lot to see, read, and hear, and it's all good stuff.
 Thank You Casey. I hope you had as much fun on the tour as those who came to see the show.
Keep The Beat,

Monday, October 21, 2013


If you have ever seen Victor Wooten play, nothing I will say here should be new to you. OK, the anecdote I relate below will be new, but not much else. I am guessing that not everybody has seen the man do his thing and if I can do a little bit to help new folks discover him, well then I am all over that. I am putting up 2 videos here, they are connected but note that I am putting up PART TWO first, because that is the one I really want you to see, Part One is just below it. If you have time to watch them both, I suggest you watch them in order, but if you are in a hurry, just watch the first one.
 The tune being played here is Sinister Minister by the Flecktones. It is a brilliant collaborative piece that I have seen performed several times. Somewhere in the middle, the band leaves the stage except for Vic and his brother, Futureman (Roy Wooten) on percussion. Vic lets it go in a killer solo which is never the same. Watch the point at aroun 2:47 when Vic has a string break and how he deals with it. I'll pick it back up below the videos.
Part TWO

Part ONE
 OK, so you've seen the string break and how Vic worked through it. When I first saw this video 3 years ago I had thought that when he broke the string he stopped and had hi "OH Sh__T!" moment, then worked through it. The next time I saw him after I saw this, I forgot to ask him about it. Then I watched the video several more times, amazed at how he pulled the whole thing off. When I saw him again I HAD to ask him about it, because by that time I just had to know what went through his head and how he recovered.
 So in the fall of 2011 I got my chance and I asked him. He smiled that big grin he has and he said "You know, a LOT of people ask me about that video. I have never seen it, but I'll have to find it and watch it. I remember the gig, but I just don't remember breaking a string. It happens to me all the time, you just work through it. It was no big deal." I still find his answer a bit amazing, but that is the essence of Vic.
If you don't know much about Vic, go check out his web site and do some exploring there. Look at his music camps and the place he has created, Wooten Woods. There are also lots of other videos on you tube for you to enjoy. If I had to means I would be at one of his camps in a heartbeat, and I don't even own a bass.
 All that will tell you something about his music, but it won't tell you a lot about the man. Vic is a natural musician who believes with the right type of instruction, anybody can make music. His philosophy is that it all works together, nature, music, and humanity. I can tell you that you will never meet a nicer gentleman. He is an author, composer, teacher, and performer. I could never get across how neat his approach his music is, so here is another video that is very much worth your time.
Check it out:
Vic and I are not close buddies, he barely knows me (I was actually shocked that the second time we talked, he remembered me and our prior conversation). But I can say that what I get out of music is greatly enhanced by having met and spent a little bit of time talking to him. Vic is also a huge Bill Keith fan, and hey, you know a guy has good musical taste when he is a Bill Keith fan. Truthfully, Bill and Vic share a very similar philosophy and that's why I like them both so very much. In fact, one of the pieces of advice that Vic gave me was almost identical to what Bill has told me several times "You can't play a 'bad note', you can play a wrong note, but if you follow it with the correct notes, that wrong note just became the 'right note'." You might want to get to know Vic a little better, he has a lot to share. As Vic says "You can't hold a groove if you ain't got no pockets".
Keep the Beat,

Friday, October 18, 2013


Next weekend (October 26-27) is the Annual running of the Woodstock Invitational Luthiers Showcase. What may sound to some like a presumptuous hoity-toity name for a small event in a small music centric town is, in all honesty, a very apt and accurate name.
While it did begin, just 5 years ago as a humble and small event catering to a very specific audience, each year it grows further and more decidedly into a ‘destination event’ for many of the industry elite, while at the same time providing a platform for very local and regional artisans and maker of the finest stringed instruments.
There is a very fine article in this week’s Woodstock Times, written by my friend Brian Hollander and featuring my other friend, and the founder of the event, Baker Rorick. Baker’s photo even adorns the front page of the paper (much to his chagrin, but I think it's a great photo). The article, can be found here.
 Each year the event is better attended by both those who come to display and demonstrate their fine instruments, as well as those who come to ogle and try them. There is a fine lineup of top level musicians who come to play these instruments in small and intimate settings that grows and is varied every year. My observation is that some of the playing to be heard behind the tables and out in the aisles of the show floor is just as good or even better than what can be heard on stage. It’s all a matter of being in the right place at the right time.
To be sure, the bulk of the instruments on display are not at all what you might find in Guitar Center or any other music shop. These are all handmade custom instruments, many garnering prices well out of my range by a factor of 10. So why, you ask, would I want to go and look at a bunch of stuff I could never afford? Well the truth is, most of these instruments are works of art and a joy to behold. In addition, in many cases, if you ask nicely, the builders may actually let you sit down and try them out. Playing an instrument of such high quality brings its own reward, and it is nice to dream a little bit, isn’t it? Besides, it’s not all super huge price tags. There are a few things to be had by those of us who don’t come in with a pocket full of cash.
 Then there is the music. These are intimate venues where a large part of the audience are players and those on stage are certainly putting their best foot forward for such a knowledgeable audience. Some magic can be anticipated at any point in the weekend. The are several events scheduled at other locations to handle larger crowds, check the schedule. Here is one of my favorite videos from a few years back at this show. It's a tease, becaue it ends too soon, but you will certainly get the idea:

 There are plenty of videos to watch on the Show's website (see below).
 One of the things I enjoy at this show is crowd watching because you never know who might be shuffling up the aisle behind you. Just putting together the location with the local population can bring out some folks you may not be used to running into. Keep your eyes and ears open when you go and you might meet some neat folks.
Several workshops are available through the course of the weekend by very talented and well known players. Even if you are not the type of player that can grasp what a top flight performer would share, you are bound to learn some things that will help you along.
All in all, this event is one that often gets overlooked by many because they are not in the market for a high priced instrument. I urge you to reconsider that point of view. Each time I go, I learn something of value, I meet new people that I like, and I have a great time. No I have never bought, or contracted for an instrument, but I always had a good time and supported a local event that brings in a great deal of money to the town.
I spoke to Baker briefly last night and one of his concerns going forward is that the demand for space by vendors is increasing at a rate that may outstrip the available space (which is at capacity). Baker started this as a community event to help the shop owners in town and increase visitors from outside the area. Keeping it to a manageable size appears to be his biggest challenge going forward. The last thing he wants is to be forced to find a bigger place outside of town.
So come on down and check it out, but before you do, go to the website and check out the schedule which can be found here. Also, don’t forget to read that article in the Woodstock Times.
Oh yeah, and if you see Baker, tell him I sent you.
Keep the Beat,

Friday, October 11, 2013


And it didn't even Hurt...
 I was watching this video form the current New York Banjo Tour of the gig that occurred last night (10/9/13) in Cambridge, MA. A friend of mine was there and told me it was pretty unreal, like really REALLY good! I had wanted to catch a gig on this tour in the worst way, having caught it last year at The Egg in Albany, and knowing how special and rare it is to get such an opportunity. The sad truth is that there was just no money in the budget to make the drive over to Massachusetts, and still buy a ticket. I felt like a little kid who only got a pair of underwear and socks for Christmas. If I had something to sell to raise the money, I would have, but it just wasn't to be, but I digress in my misery here.  So, I can't catch the tour, but sometimes you get lucky and can find little pieces of video on YouTube that tease you with what you missed. So I watched this Video:

Now this is a not so well done video, with flaky audio and a terrible camera angle, but that's where I had my epiphany.
 It didn't matter.
 I KNOW most of the folks on stage, and I know their playing styles, and I know their individual mastery. THAT's when it dawned on me why I am so engrossed in the music that currently holds my soul, it is THE PEOPLE who play it.
 I can think of no other music in my life where I have had access to the people who make it, as that which I enjoy now. Take the video in question here. The first part has Bela Fleck and Tony Trischka doing their 'Banjo for four hands' with some added players coming in. Noam Pikelny provides some percussion and (I think) tail piece picking, Bill Keith comes in and does the 'Flint Hill Special' tuner lick, Richie Stearns does the 'under the bridge' deal with the spatula drum sticks. I know all these guys and enjoy their sense of humor and creativity. I have talked to Tony numerous times after gigs about anything from family stuff, to upcoming projects and his new music. Same with Richie, and Noam I have met in upstate campsite at festivals as well as on street corners in Brooklyn. Bela. likewise has been very kind when I have spoken to him after all of his gigs I have seen. The second, and final tune in this tape shows the whole Band coming up with Eric Weisberg joining the crew and Jesse Cobb, Russ Barneberg, Casey Driessen, Matt Glaser, and Darol Anger. (I didn't see Abby up there, but she might have been.) I have met all of these guys. Some briefly, some many many times. I can hear the music and know who is taking a break, and even though I can't see it in the video, I know there is a huge smile on Darol's face and I know that Casey is tearing it up and having a blast.
 The thing is they are ALL really nice people, and if you talk to them about music and ask questions, even dumb newbie questions, they will take time and answer them. They are ALWAYS encouraging and supportive. They are really nice people who love what they do and they like to share the joy. I once helped Tony pack up after a gig so I could talk to him and I helped him carry his gear out. He had a handful of tabbed music that he had written out that morning for the gig, and he handed it to me and said, "Here, you're  a player, try this stuff. I've got it memorized now." At another gig, I had a copy of a book he had written and I asked if he would sign it, which he did, out there in the parking lot, in the dark. I was shocked when I looked at it the next morning, somehow, in the darkness, he had done a whole picture thingy within his signature. What a nice thing to do when he didn't 'have to'.
 So I learned tonight that it's not just the music, sure that is a big part of it, but it is the people that make it so very dear to me.
Keep The Beat,


I began taking 5 string banjo lessons in August of 2011. My teacher, who I lovingly call my Sensei, is, by many accounts, one of the best players in the world. He even has a style of playing that is named for him. How a sloven heathen beginner such as myself came to have such a distinguished gentleman of the banjo as a teacher, is, in itself, a long and somewhat humorous story, but I will save that for another time. For now, let me just say that I felt not only privileged and honored to have such an opportunity, I was downright scared to death. Turns out my Sensei puts on his pants just like I do (so to speak), and he is a down to earth guy with no airs and a fair amount of self-depreciating humor which put me at ease pretty quickly. I will admit that the first time I went over for a lesson and sat in his kitchen, I kept saying to myself "I can't believe I am sitting in ____ _____'s kitchen. I'm sitting in ___ _____'s CHAIR! This is SO COOL!" Yeah, I was a blithering idiot (but it was REALLY COOL!)
 How my Sensei could take on a musical mess like me I still do not understand, but he was (is) SO patient and worked very hard at finding out what I wanted from music and what I wanted to learn and then worked up lessons that would build up to that point. He was the polar opposite of the first teacher I had 30 years ago that shut me off from any hope of learning to play. We would get together sporadically. He would set me up with some stuff to work on and I would practice every day. Some weekend days I might get in 4 or more hours a day, and I made it a point to do at least an hour a night during the week. I really really tried. Some stuff took, some didn't, but I never gave up because I was having fun. He made it fun by laying things out and working in a direction he asked me to choose. During our lessons he taught me a lot about how music is made and heard and why it is laid out the way it is. He didn't just talk about the banjo, he talked about music and he gave me so much information that I had to record it and listen back to it for weeks to get a good part of it. My '1 hour lessons' would often go two or more hours with all the little stories, anecdotes, and supporting information that made it so much more interesting and valuable than a simple lesson. I always left his house with a smile of wonderment and confusion, even when I didn't do as well as I had hoped which was, and continues to be a frequent condition.
 Over a period of a year and a half I had perhaps 5 or 6 lessons. I maintained my practice regimen throughout. However, I had come to realize that this banjo thing was a bit too complicated for a simple newbie like me with no inherent skill. 3 picks on the right hand and four fingers on the left all trying to work together at the same time, controlled supposedly, by my little brain. I know what you're thinking, but no, I didn't quit. I was still enjoying the work or play of learning, just not making any real progress. So I began messing around with this mandolin I had bought as a diversion. I found that working with one pick instead of 3 was a lot easier and I began to think that perhaps if I worked on the mandolin some, I might be able to learn those concepts a bit faster and concentrate on my left hand work. let my fingers get better at fretting the strings, understand my way around the finger board a bit better, and THEN I could go back to the banjo with something useful to allow me to focus on that right hand. It seemed like a plan.
 However, I knew I would be a disappointment to my Sensei, after all the work he had put into me. None the less, we had become friends and I am always honest with my friends. I told him what I was doing, and at first I believe he thought I was going to mess with the Mandolin in addition to the Banjo. He offered to give me a mando lesson, but he was shocked when I showed up in his yard with just the mando and no banjo. So I explained my plan to him and I could see his disappointment, but he pressed on and showed me the in's and out's of the mando and got me going, even loaned me some VHS tapes. I worked and worked and worked. The progress was MUCH faster, but I had made a critical mistake. With finger picks, you only pick in one direction, up with the finger picks and down with the thumb pick. Using a flat pick, I developed the habit of only UP-picking...everything. I had taught myself 2 or 3 tunes, and there was one in particular, which he had helped the composer write and had recorded on several albums that I wanted to try to play with him. (As is typical with the way I think I chose Opus 57 By David Grisman, which David plays at a blistering speed, NOT what you would call a beginner tune.) I worked my ass off on that tune for 8 months to get it up to something of a reasonable speed. I could, and will never be able to play it at full speed, but it was reasonable. So I sat in his kitchen and started to warm up on that tune. He took one look and said "whoa, hang on just a sec, now you've got a problem there that we have to fix before it becomes a real habit. You are holding yourself back and you have to learn how to cross-pick, alternating up and down." He then took up my other mando and demonstrated, then gave me some practice exercises to work on. There was more to the lesson, but at this point I can't really recall the details. I was pretty shot down. I had worked SO hard to get that speed up. Ironically, if I had done it correctly, It would have been a bit easier and my speed would have been even faster. I was crestfallen, but I did what he said and started the excruciating process of undoing what I had taught my brain and re-learning the correct way. It took 3 weeks before I could play that tune at a creeping, learning speed again, but then in the following weeks the speed came back and then some. I still, once in a while catch myself hitting a string twice from the same direction, but not often, and the progress continues. The speed is better than it ever was and now I am working on maintaining control, tone, tempo, and consistency at speed. It's just those few little details I need to nail down, that's all. Obviously I learn slow, but I learn. I could learn a lot faster if it wasn't for the damned learning curve!
Keep the Beat (and keep practicing),
Bill Keith, Eric Weisberg, and Marc Horowitz

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Just a quick blurb to draw your attention to the top bar where I have added another page listing some of my favorite musicians and groups. I'll add more as time goes on and my recall improves, but for now, it's a start. A lot of folks ask me who I like or who I listen to, and my memory for names is not as good as it used to be. This might help.
Keep The Beat,
4 of my favorites in one photo, that was quite a night!

Monday, October 7, 2013


Music has always been a big part of my life. Now before you read too much into that, let me tell you what it doesn't mean. It doesn't mean I grew up in a home filled with musicians, or even music. No one in my family played an instrument, except perhaps my sister, who picked up the guitar after she went off to college during the Great Folk Scare of the 60's. But my Sister, and her guitar, never really returned home, so that had nothing to do with my musical experiences. Her input came many years later.
 No, my relationship with music came in the popular form, what was on the radio and what my friends were listening to in those days. Moody Blues, Jethro Tull, YES!, The Loving Spoonful, Chicago, Bob Dylan, and also those of the Folk ilk, like The Kingston Trio, The Smother's Brothers, The Mommas and the Poppas, and what was not yet known as Americana. There was a lot of 'stuff' in there including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and all those groups that came along with them. Later there was The Band, Orleans, and those types of sounds. Somewhere around the time I was around 19 years old, I was out in Colorado and heard the name 'Willie Nelson' for the first time and when I got home I checked him out. That led to Bob Wills, Asleep at the Wheel, Patsy Kline, and later something called Bluegrass. Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, Lester Flatt, and some guy they called Doc Watson. I had no real access to live music in those days growing up in an area where anything live, outside of a bar, was pretty pricy and disconnected from any real association with true life. Big stadium gigs with travel and parking issues which were not my bag. I never was one for the big crowds. In other words, it was pretty sterile to my sensibilities. It was 'entertainment', and I felt no real connection to the performers, or even the music, except to say that it was 'cool' or that it 'sucked'.
 But I can tell you, that Scruggs guy, he had some pretty catchy stuff with that 5 string banjo. Eventually, I went out and bought his book "Earl Scruggs and the 5 String Banjo". It looked like something I might be able to mess with, so I rented a banjo. A very cheap, Bakelite open back job that sounded terrible, but it was the only one available to rent on all of Long Island.. I tried working from the book which was good, but I needed somebody to help me understand what it should look and sound like. I found an instructor (also, the only one I could find) and paid him $50 a lesson (one per week). I won't go into details, but he was terrible. Here, 30 years later, I know I should have cut it off after the first lesson, but he milked me for a few months before I gave up. Somewhere in there I had bought a better resonator banjo which I still have. I will finish this part of the story at another time, you have enough for now. The point I was aiming at was that I worked my way up on the music appreciation ladder pretty much on my own and it grew over the years. I demonstrated to myself, as well as anyone in earshot, that I had no skill at creating music. Got that? OK, lets move on....
 There were points during my learning curve that I thought, 'Boy, these guys that make this music have it made. They play the music they love and get paid, lots of money, to do it. That has to be an easy and fun life. Not a care in the world do they have. Life is fun for them."
 Fast forward about 30 years. Now I am in a place where I know some of the very folks who made that music back in the 60's and 70's and beyond,  that shaped my mind. I am not, by any means, close friends with these folks in most cases, but I know a few and have had the chance to hang out a little and chat. Mostly, I am smart enough now to shut up and listen when they speak. If I am really quiet and unobtrusive, they ignore me and open up freely. When that happens, I get to hear conversation about their real lives, some of their day to day worries, some of the bumps in the road they have endured in the years gone by, or even last week. After a few such nights spent listening, and more than a few nights watching, I begin to learn that there is a bit more to this music business than the fun part.
 I have done a lot of menial and distasteful jobs in my life. In many of those jobs I have had to work damned hard all day, only to come home, get cleaned up, eat dinner, go to bed, and do it all again the next day. Day after day, month after month, year after year. No change, same deal every day, and your boss is almost always a jerk, or worse. That’s my perspective on ‘earning a living’.
 These days, putting together in my mind what a musician's life is like, it is not far from that. Playing all night, loading the gear back up, driving to the next gig, getting some sleep, sound check in the afternoon after setting up. Playing all night, packing up, and doing it all over again. Covering many thousands of miles every year to pay the rent and buy food. Being home for short periods and knowing you are not making any money when you do that. Having no health insurance or retirement plan, and yet people are constantly asking you to play for free to support this charity or that group, etc. On top of all this, you have to put in years of study and practice before you can even learn if you are good enough to make the cut and get your first jobs.
 As hard as I have worked in my life, I don't know if I could work that hard. I used to think they had it 'made'. But now I think they made what they have, and they fight every day and with every gig to keep it.
  These days I don’t think of musicians as having it easy and enjoying a care free life of fun and travel. In fact, I view their profession as one the hardest jobs to attain and maintain success (i.e. buying food and paying the rent) that one could chose. Anybody that can make their living from their music impresses the hell out of me. Maybe you have never thought about it, but maybe you will now. And if you do, maybe you will throw a couple of extra bucks in the tip jar the next time you hear some live music or see a street musician. Maybe you will take a moment after a gig and tell the musician how their music impressed you. That is, after all, just one reason they do it. They need you as much as you need them. Perhaps more. Theirs is not a profession for the weak at heart, the soft of mind, or of weak commitment. Their profession is a never ending pursuit of the barely obtainable. I have yet to meet a real musician who doesn't love the music with all their fiber. No, they  may not love the performing and certainly not the travel, although some do, but the music they can make, and the others they can play with to create new sounds, now that is why they do it. The rest of us are just lucky enough to get to hear it now and then.
 Think about that. You might just get a little more out of the music.
 Keep the beat,