Memphis is a musical town. I didn’t take advantage of that until the last few years. I didn’t even know how much I loved music until I started exploring some of the music venues in Memphis. I mean, I’m well aware of the role music plays in my life. All I have to do is hear a song from my high school years, and I’m transported back to that time. It’s pretty magical.
The first time I realized that live music really transported me to a different dimension was my first visit to a venue called Memphis House Concerts. This is actually my neighbor’s house. I literally walk 5 doors down on my street, and I’m on their front porch. Jimbo and Susan bring in some amazing talent to sing in their imperfect Midtown living room. Somewhere between 20-50 people show up once a month or so to hear artists from around the country. Light appetizers and Ghost River Beer are on tap for a beer donation. We all hang out in the kitchen and mingle with the artist(s). They have a suggested $20 donation that goes directly to the artist. It’s the best deal in town.
I love the connection between the audience, the musicians and the hosts. I’ve realized that music, for me, is about experiencing another person’s expression of themselves and the experience of the moment that can never happen again. It’s very intimate for me. I don’t use anything chemically to alter my mood anymore, but music totally changes the way I feel. I find myself transfixed watching and listening to an artist that really speaks to my soul. It blows me away.
I saw one of my favorite local musicians in a bar. I was stunned that most of the crowd was drinking and talking and basically not even listening to this fabulous music that was being played before them. Another favorite venue of mine is a coffeehouse in Midtown called Otherlands. I can also walk to Otherlands. Both of these places are smoke-free and the music ends at a decent hour. I know there are others like this in Memphis. If you know where they are, please invite me to join you.
The musicians that play at both of these places are mainly singer-songwriters. That’s what really gets me hooked. As a writer, I know that your words are the vehicle that your soul uses to speak. And, I imagine musicians have a double vehicle with the music they play as well. To experience someone telling their own story is such a powerful experience. I crave it. I am hooked by it. It’s definitely my drug of choice.
I believe we are wired for connection. Not everyone can or is willing to share themselves in an intimate way, but listening to live music up close and personal is a non-threatening way to accomplish it. When God created us, I believe He wanted us to connect at a soul level, and we were built to crave that connection. Music speaks to me. What speaks to you in this way?
Listen to one of my favorite singer-songwriters, Dan Montgomery, recorded at Otherlands:
My Favorite Color