They Sit at the Bar and Put Bread in My Jar and Say Man What Are You Doin’ Here…
Greetings to all you fine folk from Justin Morris’ Lake Charles and of places beyond! Welcome back to another issue of my random musical and artistic musings that is, admittedly starting off in a slightly different voice for now, my 34th edition. Though this issue is going to be skewing to a slightly more limited audience, I assure you, my normal rantings and ravings are sure to be back soon. This time, I’m talking specifically to the musicians and artists of all persuasions that happen to be tuning in. Who knows? Maybe there’s a take-away in this for the rest of you as well…
I was recently talking to a musical friend that was struggling with the balance of popularity and acceptance and what a local fan base/audience will or will not get behind, and the pursuit of artistic integrity and independence. Through a lot of anger and sheer frustration, I heard him talking about being compared to and contrasted against other acts that are a fundamentally different style of music, but due to the nature of the number of music fans we have in our small area, all wind up splitting the same audience and attention that working acts need to thrive and grow.
I can intimately understand the aggravation of innovative, original songwriters and performers that find themselves competing against not only acts of other genres but even against “DJ” or karaoke nights as far as pulling in a crowd. Even losing traction against a cover band when you are not just writing, but collectively working and crafting these songs for months in the rehearsal space just to be outdone on the same night, sometimes exponentially, against a literal or proverbial jukebox of someone else’s songs is, without a doubt, an arguable grievance.
This takes nothing away from the hard work, talent and time that said cover bands or D’s put into their craft. These are commendable and often impressive and highly entertaining shows, but selling existing hits to a crowd while entertaining is a great bit easier than introducing new music and trying to garner enough support to try and turn it into something more than just “another local band’s original song. I think this represents an interesting dichotomy that is the music business: Artistry vs. Industry.
The struggle for relevance in any artistic environment is tireless and everlasting. Creating art that stands out amongst the masses and above your peers enough to put you in a position to develop your act above and beyond “the occasional bar gig” is not an easy task. It takes vision, commitment and a healthy bit of tenacity to see that realized. A passionate artist has the creativity and tenacity to hold that artistic vision through to completion, no matter what.
Van Gogh is a great example. Despite public scorn and hardly any professional success during his lifetime, he stayed true to what his creative vision was and it landed him in the history books as, quite possibly, the greatest painter the world has ever known. Pure art for art’s sake at, maybe, its most profound.
But the rub for Van Gogh is that his success and place in history would not be fully realized until long after his death. It’s certainly charming to think about going down in history, but if it delivers a life of hardship and poverty, then we are left to wonder just what the practical value is in the heart of deep artistic creation. It is here that the industry side of this equation comes into play. Every artist would love to go down in the record books, but every single one of them would like to not put themselves in the poorhouse trying to do so.
A pureness of vision can be a powerful thing, an artist has to first know specifically what that vision is. If it is about making money, then fully understand the dynamic of making great art that is as profitable as can be and be willing to do what it takes to make that happen. If your vision is pure and unbridled artistry then, by all means, “art” your happy little face off. Stay true to that vision and don’t compromise, no matter what.
The goal for most is as much a balance of the two that they can muster and that, sadly, is the hardest of all the options. The best advice that I can give would be to clearly and succinctly spell out both your financial and artistic goals for yourself in your craft. Fully understand how to optimize both and then objectively look at what trade-offs you are willing to make to achieve that balance. It’s not a “balance” you will always find, but knowing that you will have to make these difficult choices will only make that eventuality that much easier. It’ll never be perfect, so make it the best you can while you can.
Something Is Happening Here…
And now that all that business is out of the way let us move on to what IS HAPPENING in the Lake City in the days to come.
Friday, June 17
The Guess Who, Golden Nugget Lake Charles
Before “American Woman” was Lenny Kravitz, it was 100 percent The Guess Who. The Canadian rockers behind hits such as this, “These Eyes,” “No Time” and “No Sugar Tonight” are en route to The Golden Nugget Lake Charles. After nearly 50 years, these songs remain a part of our lives and still have a power and relevance today as they did in the late ‘60s and early ‘70’s. Friday, June 17 is the night and I hope to SEE YOU ALL AT THAT SHOW!
Saturday, June 18
Bring It Home Music Festival, Lake Charles Civic Center
June 18 will welcome the newest and most anticipated festival, the inaugural edition of the Bring It Home Fest. The area’s newest affair will kick off with a party on Friday night for ticketholders and on Saturday, the Civic Center becomes ground zero for a day of music and fun featuring NOLA’s Tank and The Bangas, Marc Broussard, Gil Landry (Formerly of Old Crow and the Medicine Show) and local reggae favorites Ashes of Babylon along with numerous other local acts participating in the Battle of the Bands that is currently underway. For more information and for presale, standard and VIP tickets, log on to http://bringithomefest.com. This fest holds a lot of promise and I hope to see you all there! If I wasn’t clear, GO SEE THIS SHOW!
There’s Still A Lot of Faith, Warmth and Trust When We Keep On Keeping On…
C’est tout mes amis et famille! Thank you all once again for checking us out and do remember to send any questions, comments, queries and suggestions to JMLC@justinmorrisentertainment.com. I always love to hear from you!
Until next time… I’ll see YOU at the show!