“It’s always been a gift with me, hearing music the way I do. I don’t know where it comes from, it’s just there and I don’t question it.” ~ Miles Davis
We have discovered a new way to enjoy music. Attending local outdoor house concerts.
The rules are:
Make a reservation right away as only 30-35 spaces are available. You can choose to come by boat for the concert and then you’re not taking up a lawn chair space.
Show up on time. Bring food to share. BYOB if you so desire.
Turn off your cell phone. Turn off your cell phone. Turn off your cell phone or you’ll never be invited back.
Enjoy the twinkle of the lights strung on the trees. Sit back under the winter time Florida moonlit sky and listen to a story.
We have been to several concerts in the past month at two different homes. It is a great way to support independent musicians who are discouraged by the bar scene and just want to be listened to and respected for their art in a small, intimate venue. The quality of these musicians is what keeps us coming back. Besides, what musician wouldn’t want to be in Florida right now and their enthusiasm to perform is genuine.
For me, I particularly enjoy the “back story” the musician provides before he strums his guitar. What strikes me is the writing process the song writer goes through. Some keep journals where they write down a particular word, phrase, or story that inspires them. For some, their creativity flows better when they collaborate with fellow musicians. For most, it is drawn from life experiences and for others it comes from making oneself write daily. Sound familiar?
One of these musicians, Tom Prasada Rao, teaches songwriting workshops nationally and was the songwriting instructor at the University of Virginia’s “Young Writer’s Workshops from 2000 to 2007. That program was modeled after The University of Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop. It was there at UVA while creating the songwriting curriculum that Tom developed his craft. He uses writing prompts to guide his students. He also encourages them to come up with prompts of their own to put on a Share Board free for any participant to use… including the teacher.
One of the most entertaining songs we listened to one evening came from a classroom writing prompt:
“Your small child comes to you and wonders what those sounds are that come from Mommy and Daddy’s bedroom at night.”
The response was creative, imaginative and in good taste. I’ll leave you to wonder.
The host for this outdoor concert was Annie Wenz, an incredibly talented musician herself. She backed up Tom with percussion.
Most of the song writers/ musicians that come through this area are of the Trop/Rock Island (Jimmy Buffet) genre and others fall into blends of blues, folk, country and you name it. We have listened to John Frinzi, Hugo Duarte, Brent Burns, James “Sunny Jim” White and a couple from Austin, Thom Shepard and Coley McCabe.
One ambition they seem to have in common is that they are still trying to write the perfect song.
Tom Prasada- Rao said, “As I grow older I care less about the music business than I probably should. I care more about life as poetry, trying to play like there are no wrong notes anymore.”
I’ll leave you with some scenes and water views from two of the concerts. Click on any image to enlarge.