Singing in the Street for a Change   Leave a comment

This past week I was invited to sing at three community action events.

My competence and confidence in my messaging and musicianship came of age following the protests of the 60’s-70’s.  That shift was more than adequately staffed by the likes of Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, Dave Van Ronk, and my personal muse, Phil Ochs.

While I did learn many of their songs…and played them on the road and in various communities in which I lived, it wasn’t part of the movement.  It was  music sharing with like-minded folks.  The war was over and until we could find other distractions, it was our comfort food.  It reminded us we were still not marching anymore and veterans of the movement.

When I did begin performing my own music, it was for entertainment value.  I salted the repertoire with some of the mellow songs of the 60’s writers along with the requisite Woody Guthrie material, but that was, again, to affirm my street creds as a 60’s guy…with 60’s values.  I was carrying on the tradition of my heroes.

During my extended hiatus during the 80’s, 90’s, and beyond, I occasionally dabbled in writing topical songs…which were usually sung and disposed of as is the fate of such compositions.  As some of them were actually …good…not bad…I found myself becoming more immersed in the genre.

When I finally did my first open mic in decades, the song I performed was “Rush is a Four-Letter Word.”  It was well-received.  When I attended my first Ancient Victorys at Tacoma’s Antique Sandwich Company, I did “Rush” along with “I Wish Woody Guthrie Were Here Today.”  They established me as a humorist and topical folkie in this world of excellent eclectic and acoustic music.  It was a label I was not entirely uncomfortable with.  It reaffirmed my dormant 60’s sensibilities…with an added bonus.  When I followed one of these tunes with something serious and mournful, it added a remarkable juxtaposition that the audience was not prepared for. I still like to do that.

Fellow corporatesexual, Angela Vogel-Person-Inc.- Ltd.-LLC assisting me in singing “I’m Gonna Marry G.E.”

But it was still for entertainment purposes…audience acceptance.  As were my two cd’s.  It was only later when I followed my instincts and began organizing benefits for various progressive causes and disaster relief, that I realized entertainment was only the means to the end.  My music, like that of my predecessors, needed to be part of something more.  It had to be transformational.  So the events became more political and high profile, culminating in last week’s Occupy events.  It felt like home.

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Posted July 26, 2012 by garykanter in Uncategorized

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