I’ve been reflecting on the fact that I have to keep challenging myself as a musician and thus challenge the listening audience. It is a fine balance because you don’t want to alienate anyone. But one has to grow and these days I feel as if I am heading into a new phase of my career.
What a luxury it has been for me to have a career spanning almost fifty years. It has enabled me to keep discovering what makes me tick as a musician and to be able to test my capabilities.
It could be very boring just walking on stage and playing the same thing every night.
I change every year…the guitars I use…the amps I use…some of the songs stay the same but every year there are also different ones in the set.
Where I am heading now is a challenge for me….it’s as if I have no say in it….the “muse” is leading me forwards. Somewhat metaphysical I know, but after all we are playing our instruments with soul.
I am fully aware of my age, of what I have accomplished in the past and how little time I may have ahead of me. The latter gives clarity and force to one’s plans.
To play for yourself and to others secondarily instead of the other way around is the mark of an artist as opposed to a musician who simply entertains. If in the process of playing for yourself you also entertain then that is the best of both worlds and, of course, can be a pathway to success. I heard Jimmy Smith say one night, “I play at you and not for you”.
I was part of a new generation of musicians who grew up in the 1960’s unschooled. We simply picked up instruments and learned to play them ourselves. But we were fully aware of the schooled musicians that preceded us and they were our inspiration.
The inspiration from my mentors and the great musicians that I listened to when I was a young teenager still carries me on.
All the best,
April, 1 2013