by Shannon Halford, PML Web Designer
I’ve come to the conclusion that music is the most important manmade force in human history. I dare you to disagree with me.
After being raised by a jazz musician and playing piano and bass most of my life, almost everything I do must have a soundtrack (as I write this it happens to be the creative-juice-inducing-funk of Vulfpeck).
Surely you are a music lover as well. And you know that music makes life beautiful. But have you ever taken the time to think about all the ways music affects your life? Or how it impacts everyone on the planet in one way or another (everyone with a soul, at least)?
It is such a huge part of my life that I never really thought to step back, look at this miracle we call “music” from the outside and truly acknowledge the different spectrums of impact it has on the world.
That is, until I agreed to design this website and contribute to this blog.
Support local music. Your favorite band was once a local artist (playing to five people at a dive bar).
As you’ve likely noticed by now, Peoria Music Live is all about promoting the music scene in and around the Peoria Metro area. We all want to better ourselves and our community, and a solid live music scene is one of the best ways to strengthen our local culture and the hardworking local businesses who foster this culture.
To build this scene we need to get off the couch and out to the shows. Doing so collectively will give venues a reason to offer more shows…eventually creating a scene that demands more venues...and lead to an exponential increase in the demand for talent. It's a chain of events that we can make happen if we make an effort to go to more shows (and invite all our friends).
Supporting your local music scene means you are helping it grow. It’s a responsibility Peoria Music Live is embracing whole-heartedly, and we hope you will be a part of it.
Netflix can wait. Go live.
We love our records, but live music is where memories are made and lives are changed. Whether the performing artist is local or international, established or brand-new, a live performance is the most authentic and personal way to experience their music.
Nothing is overproduced, remixed, or perfected. Tunes are not played to a studio or a collection of producers slash engineers slash music biz folk. The songs are played for (and with) the audience, which is often a nice mix of friends, fans and first-timers who might just fall in love with that music by the end of the night and listen to those songs for decades.
Live music is alive. Everything you see and hear is real.
Some of my best friends were strangers until we became festival neighbors during an afternoon set at a music festival and shared food, drinks and music for hours. We then ended up playing music and having a great time over late-night campfires. This is a pretty common story when you start spending a lot of time at music festivals and learn how to talk to strangers.
Why? Because music brings together likeminded people who immediately feel connected because of their shared taste. They respect one another and have things to talk about, even before the introductions.
“Last time we saw St. Paul & The Broken Bones the sound was a little off. This time they sound incredible.”
“Is that the same bassist as last tour?”
Grateful Dead and Phish tours are perfect examples of an underground culture that needed a place to connect and finally found it, tenfold.
Music is a force that connects people on multiple levels, often in the most magical ways.
It connects you to the stranger a few feet away who mouths the lyrics with a smile as you belt out that rockin' Wood Brothers tune at the top of your lungs.
It connects you to the five people who fist-bump you after you assertively shush the rude drunk people who won’t silence their loud gossip during a beautiful ballad (as the musician pours his heart and soul).
And it connects you to your 3-year-old daughter, who is magically mesmerized by her first Infamous Stringdusters concert under a Colorado night sky, in a moment you know you will never forget: the time you watched her fall in love with music for the first time.
This is a no-brainer. Piano jazz makes a date night at a nice restaurant even more relaxing and enjoyable. Mozart calms the mind and enhances focus and memory power (ask science).
For me, ultimate relaxation is Miles Davis and cabernet when I make my favorite Thai red curry dish. It's my Zen Garden Pandora station for yoga practice and bubble baths. It's Van Morrison on a beautiful fall morning that’s just warm enough to allow for open windows and rustling leaf solos.
And it's Iron and Wine. Anywhere. Any time. Just push play.
Music comforts and heals.
This is something neither poetry nor instrumentals can accomplish alone, but when the perfect words are enhanced by the perfect melodies, something powerful happens. Something that warms the soul and brings chills in a way nothing else on earth ever has and never will.
It happens when you play that Avett Brothers song on repeat after losing your beloved grandmother.
It's all those break-up songs that got you through losing that someone who you thought was The One.
In 3-5 minutes, the best songs can make those suffering from severe depression, victims of hate or prejudice, or anyone having a really bad day realize that they are not alone. I bet this Macklemore song has been played billions of times in the last year or so.
Whether you write a song to get through a tough time or to pay tribute to a loved one, blast some Rage to get out your frustration or head to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival for the vacation of a lifetime, music can bandage some pretty deep cuts.
There's a reason that stellar workout playlist makes such a huge difference while you train for a marathon. It's the tempo, the words, the bass, the drums...it's everything. Check out my favorite workout song below.
Need to motivate yourself to get off the couch and head out to Ladies' Night (or to the gym)? Put on some Parliament Funkadelic.
Music has also motivated some pretty incredible movements, thanks to artists like Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Grateful Dead, and so many more. Music is a catalyst that turns thoughts and feelings into reality.
Another "duh" but it must be acknowledged.
Ani DiFranco inspires strength, action, and kindness. Chris Wood inspires amateur bassists to take it to the next level. Diana Krall inspires shy little girls to get on stage, play and sing. Bob Marley inspires people to embrace love and peace. The examples could go on and on and on.
The brain wears out and certainly loses things with age, but the memories and feelings that can come alive when “that one song” comes on will never fade for as long as the recording exists. You may have lost your grandfather, but it’s amazing how clearly Neil Young’s Alabama coming on your Pandora can reignite the memory of him putting that Harvest cassette into the tape player of his rusty blue pickup decades ago. Just listening to that song can bring back detailed memories from the time he introduced you to Neil Young at 5am the morning of your first fishing trip…and the incredible sunrise you watched together in silence on that tiny fishing boat on the lake.
Last but not least: Music unites.
Music is a place where humanity is at its best and is most alive. No judgment. No language barriers. No biases. Want some proof? Check out the amazing work The Bluegrass Ambassadors are doing all over the world.