Just got back from the Blues Jam. Early night tonight.
I was thinking of a friend of mine who’s a musician. He lives in a constant dilemma.
You see, he wants to play his own, original music for others, but they don’t show up to hear his music. They show up to hear the old familiar tunes, the ones they know and can sing along with.
He knows exactly how to bring in the crowds- he can play the cover songs like ringin’ a bell, as they say. He can drive the traffic if he wants to.
Here’s his dilemma: Does he ignore his own music, his passion, and cater to the crowds? Does he play his own songs for whoever drops by, and hope that one day the crowds come to him? Does he stop playing in public altogether?
Or does he continue to play covers, strategically inserting an original of his own now and then once the audience is in the house, so that they have to listen (much like throwing green leaves on a fire once it’s started, hoping it will be hot enough that they will ignite)?
If you gotta play at garden parties, I wish you a lotta luck
But if memories were all I sang, I’d rather drive a truck
But it’s all right now, I’ve learned my lesson well
You see, you can’t please everyone, so you got to please yourself
(Ricky Nelson, “Garden Party”, 1972)