I had the pleasure of sitting in while Loudguitars was interviewing Robben Ford at the Kitchener Blues Festival last month. It was a fascinating interview for many reasons, and I got to thinking.
There have been several very successful musicians with whom I’ve been fortunate enough to sit, who have talked about an “opening up” – that moment when they realized that they did not have to hold any “musical prejudices”, that they could play whatever came to them without having to comply with their own preconceived limits about style or genre.
I’ve heard it described as being so liberating, and many of these musicians who opted to shed the rules and boundaries that they, themselves had self-imposed, spoke of incredible growth and inspirations that flowed afterwards. Musical “Eureka” moments!!!
All because they let go.
They let go of what was safe and comfortable. They let go of what they knew, and ventured tentatively into the musical fog. They made mistakes, tripped and stumbled. Their egos took a beating. It’s much easier to be the big fish in a small pond than the other way around! Then, as the fog cleared, they found themselves standing atop a peak from which they could see, hear, understand & feel a whole new world of music.
Through this transformation, not only did they become far more versatile players, with more career options than before, but ironically, most also became more flexible as people, detached from the egos that had previously dictated every note.
Since I’m a firm believer that we are drawn to the music that vibrates most harmoniously with the frequencies of our own energies – I completely understand being drawn to one kind of music over another.
While I’m being honest, I have to say that if ever I were to be at the proverbial crossroads – you can bet your sweet ass I’d have a sixties Les Paul custom, slung way low, and I’d request a combination of all the Joe Perry laid-back coolness, with the Satriani melodies, the Andy James technical precision and the holy grail of tone that would make all the rock producers weep…..
Because I like rock….all kinds of rock.
But I hereby promise, if I should ever find myself at that crossroads and come away with the ability to play guitar, that I will at least make an attempt to play every style of music ever invented! Even with the awesome miracle of procuring some musical talent, I would still not want to miss that incredible experience of “opening up” that I’ve heard described by a few great players of our time.
(And yes, that even includes Country & Western music, which I’m often suspicious fans like for the sole purpose of exacting some kind of passive-aggressive revenge on their families.)
So, if you already can play. Why not explore something new? You’ll always come back to what you love, and perhaps, like a good fusion meal, you might be able to introduce some exotic new flavours and enticing combinations.
Perhaps the musical pallet can also acquire new tastes.
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