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The End of the Road

SHOW #52: Around The Bend at Swallow Hill 12/13/12

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So this is it internet. I’ve pulled it off. 52 shows in a year. Less than a year technically. I started the last week of January and now here we are mid December and I’ve completed my goal. 52 shows in a year. To be honest I wasn’t quite sure I’d be able to pull it off at the beginning but apparently I went a little overboard and came in ahead of the game. Part of me wanted to make the 52 show something special, a huge celebration of the year as a whole. That just wasn’t in the cards though. I’d though about aiming at making it the Lumineers New Years eve show but that sold out too fast. I thought about making it Trampled By Turtles in mid January but that was too far away. So instead I did something I’d been meaning to do but never got around to. A simple, low key show at the cafe in Swallow Hill. It wasn’t a big blow out, it wasn’t phenomenal, but it was good and it reenforced something I’ve learned this year. There is a lot of good music out there, you just have to go out and listen. Eventually, probably next week or something, I’ll put together a bit of a retrospective post and look back at the year. For now though let me tell you about who I saw for show number 52.

Around The Bend

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It seems to me that there is a certain sort of uniqueness to songs written by song writers who aren’t famous. Specifically when those song writers get old. There are two troubles with fame in music. The first is that far too often it traps the artist into this place where they were when they first became famous. They have fans and an income, they are living the dream but in doing so they lose their passion and their music doesn’t grow it just kind of stays where it is. The second is that with fame often comes fortune, and with that comes a certain disconnect from society at large. A forty year old man who is a millionaire is bound to write different songs than a forty year old man who has a mortgage, and office job, and a family. As a result there is a certain amount of realism that comes from an unnotable person who is writing songs because they love writing songs that you just won’t get from someone who is writing songs to buy a new swimming pool.

The reason I bring all this up is because Around The Bend was just that, a collection of middle aged folks who have probably never been famous but they have continued to make music for the love of it. The result is a collection of songs that are achingly beautiful in the way that they capture the simple idea of growing older. Their music and lyrics come across as authentic because they are authentic. Not that that means that they were exceptional. They weren’t. They were good, just not great.

Throughout the entire show as I watched them play I couldn’t help but compare it to sitting around in my parent’s living room when my dad would play. Except that, really, my dad is better than them. Again they weren’t bad they were just missing something. Maybe it was a little polish that would come from more practice. Maybe it was the setting. I don’t really know for sure but there was something lacking.

Oddly from that critical point I’m going to turn back to a positive point. To the positive point of all of these shows. That being that there is a ton of good music out there. More than I ever expected there to be. Maybe I’m just a sucker for live music, because I know that not everyone would enjoy all of the bands I’ve seen as I did. Even these guys, though lacking something to put them over the top provided a lovely evening full of well written songs with a unique perspective. In a way I’m judging them against the bigger acts I’ve seen which maybe isn’t fair but despite what they lacked I didn’t regret the money I spent to see them. I got to hear songs I never would have heard otherwise. These guys aren’t on the verge of making it big, hell they might be on the cusp of retirement but because I went down and listened I heard what they had to say. I experienced their perspective and I’m richer for it. That’s the true joy, the true beauty of love music. It’s that moment shared, that solitary moment that never was before and never will be again. Sure the song will be played again but never just that way in just that place to just those people. It’s communal and beautiful. It’s music.

Oddly these guys have no website but they do have a video available so have a listen:

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