The People Make It Great

Delicious lamb chops served up at Bonterra Blu restaurant in Clyde
Maybe I should have used that as the title for our current radio series. Oh well, can’t change it now. I love music that doesn’t just gloss over the surface level of emotion. Take for instance, love. There are plenty of artists and bands that have become well-known, sold millions of albums, and become very successful without ever having much depth to their art. You can think of 3 of these types of artists off the top of your head. You can probably also name 10 artists without thinking that engage your mind and heart and ears in a way that no one else does. That’s the power of great music.

Speaking of which. If you’d like to hear some great songs that go Beyond The Surface and really engage something in you, Listen to The Appetizer RIGHT HERE. And come back to the Listen Now link each week for another fresh episode.

All of this is not my attempt at conveying that great music has to involve deep subject matter or feelings. That’s not true at all. It’s like conversations, not everything has to dive into the deep end every time you speak with someone. But great music captures something in us that hits a nerve and we connect with it.

I spent this past weekend at the Clyde Festival At The Lake, it’s an annual event that features bands from the Abilene Regional area and other Texas artists. Two days and several bands were the highlight. Add to that getting to meet tons of people, enjoy some excellent food and great venders. Some of the bands played Texas country, a style of music admittedly I’m not very familiar with. But I talked with a lot of people who shared their favorite artists and songs in that style, and I feel like I know a bit more.

One thing I took notice of was, aside from stage presence, what it was that drew me into the music that was being performed. It wasn’t necessarily some deep, passionate lyric that made me listen closer. It was the engagement of the song with the ear and the mind of the person listening. I think that’s true for all music. It explains why some people are drawn to some artists and not to others that different people are drawn to. It explains why some even famous artists create missed feelings from music fans. If you are drawn in good; if not then that speaks for itself.

The 7 Stories Band entertains attendees at Clyde’s Festival at the Lake
The musical side of things draws me in, just to be honest. From this concert event over the weekend, my favorite band was The 7 Stories. On stage they were magnificent, seven individuals with incredible musical talent that, when their powers combined, created a two hour feast of musical flavor that everyone within earshot dined on with thanks. Featuring the amazing voice of Appetizer artist Twyla Foreman and the piano skills of fellow Appetizer artist Gordon Cotton, their covers and overall performance was one of the most memorable concert experiences I’ve had. Attendees were talking about their set all day the following afternoon. The prowess of the instruments and voices was too intoxicating to not be glued to. It was really powerful stuff.

The Dean Brothers opened at noon on Saturday at Clyde Lake
All the bands who performed did a stellar job. I also loved The Dean Brothers, three bros who combined an alternative rock sound with some instrumentation beyond their years and a stellar stage presence. Not to mention doing some great covers including Green Day’s Longview, the Toadies, and some other 90s Alt/Rock tunes. The Buck Nelson Band was great too, Tanner Stickland and Ranch Hand were some younger guys that helped me grasp more of the Texas country sound, as well as some of the big tunes from that genre. Jaron Bell had a solid set and the local legend Dave Hobbs with band electrified the stage Saturday night with some amazing guitar work from Mr. Hobbs, along with a special guest performance by Kirk House. The night closed with headlining artist Bo McDowell, a living legend originally from the Clyde area. He and his band wrapped up a tremendous evening of great music and community engagement.

Sometimes it’s the group involvement that makes a musical platter really powerful. I think that the live concert, and especially a music festival or a community event with music, creates an opportunity to get enchanted by the sounds and flavors of music so much more than simply hearing the songs on your stereo or iPod. It’s powerful. It’s deep. It’s more than surface level. And it makes you want to return to the table for more.

Let me know what music and artists really connect with you. What engages your ears to listen more closely? And if you’ve attended a concert recently and was blown away by what you heard, please share it here.

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Host of the syndicated radio program The Appetizer heard on public radio across Texas and online from our Listen Now link; enjoys conversations, music, food, art, storytelling, and people. Connect with me. Would love to hear from you.

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