Fun Games to Play While Listening to Open Mic Singers/Songwriters

Mad and I went down to Coffee Underground last night to watch the open mic Acoustic Seen which goes on almost every week.  All and all I was really impressed by the quality of talent that showed.  I would say that everybody that played last night had some serious skills.  Still, beyond the entertainment of some well composed original music, I find it to play the “who influenced this musician” game whenever I am listening to open mic sessions.  Last night provided a little challenge but by the time we had left I had heard the unmistakable influences of Bob Dylan (whom I feel is unavoidable in almost any open mic setting), Neil Young (almost as unavoidable as Dylan), Jack Johnson, Bruce Springsteen, and even a little Roxy Music-ish sounding tunes.  While I am sure each individual musician can name a number of personal influences, there seem to be some styles and sounds that are just unquestionably tied to these well known artists, which have in turn permeated through our culture to play a central role in the creative efforts of others.

Is this a bad thing?

Certainly not.  As I said above, pretty much everybody I listened to last night had a whole lot of talent.  Creative influence, in all arts, seems almost unavoidable, this is not so much a matter or failure on individuals own creativity, but more a testament to the role that certain artists play within our culture.  It demonstrates the presence of “the masters” whose works will likely last on long after they have departed.  While we might all like for our creativity to be recognized on the level of pure lasting genius, that just isn’t terribly likely to happen.  This does not mean, by all means, that we should give up on our creative ambitions, only that we should learn to have a degree of humbleness and realism involved with our endeavors.

Anyway, musicians of Greenville, keep up the good work.  You’re all an enjoyable crowd.

~ by Nathaniel on July 30, 2009.

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