Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Inspirations don't come very easily

Other people's vacations make me smile, especially when their experience is so different from mine. Some people have the ability to enjoy the simplest things in life. I do admit I have a tendency to be difficult at times. Life's short. Might as well enjoy as it goes.

Nothing interesting to report except this is a busy time of the year when my Mom and my aunt visit and my brother's graduation is today and tomorrow. Al Gore is the keynote speaker. I'm interested in hearing what he has to say. Friday we're flying to New Hampshire to attend my cousin's graduation and I'll reunite with my high school buddy Yu Lui, a genius in his own right.

It's funny how the harshest critics of your stuff have actually not heard your stuff. I've been reading Miles Davis' autobiography and he proclaims he hates the critics. Critics were especially harsh on him in the beginning because he was young and came from a wealthy family. He says while critics hated what he was doing at the time, fellow musicians gave him the kudos. It's true. Miles proposes that they should make fellow musicians the critics. If a heavyweight musician does not mind playing with you or ask you to sit in all the time or call you for gigs, you know you're doing the right thing. The ones who post nasty things on bulletin board or send you nasty, vicious e-mail, you can be confident that they have never been to your gigs or heard you because you have never seen them before. They only heard it through the grapevine and specialized in name-dropping.

I've heard so many praises about the Nighthawks from people who have never gone to a Nighthawks show. I'm not berating the Nighthawks; they are a very good band. But you can't make that assumption until you have actually heard them live or on CD. I hate name-dropping. Clarence may not be a household name but he deserves more credit than he is given. Paul from Groove Authority says, "This band is some of the realest blues I've heard, and I've been everywhere in the country and listened to a lot of blues." Mary Shaver, after playing the Elise Martin Crosby fundraiser gig, said to me, "You can hold your own as one of DC's best harmonica players." Thanks, Mary.

I treasure these opinions because these are fellow musicians who have heard me play and played with me and they have the first-hand account of what really happens. Last Saturday, we played Toulouse and the band never sounded better. Borrowing Jeff's phrase, if you haven't seen this band, you're a dumb loser.

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