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Monday, May 30, 2011

On Being Musically Cool


I wish!  The miracle of Photoshop places me in
very cool bluegrass company
 Let's face it, I'm musically uncool. I'm the guy the snarky comics make fun of on Comedy Central. I listen to Enya, Irish music and Bluegrass.  I have bought children's albums after all my kids were grown up. I play banjo - outside, when everyone is out shopping.

There is some music I don't appreciate. There's a character named Beefus on the Banjo Hangout website (where I'm a long-standing member), who plays an electric banjo in some sort of really bizarre grunge style. Beefus is, as the inimitable Robert Earl Keen so eloquently put it, "taking bluegrass where bluegrass has never gone before."

I don't much think Beefus cares whether the rest of us go with him or not.. Frankly, there's not enough peyote in New Mexico to get me to follow the boy (not that I don't appreciate his joie de vivre ).

People tend to marginalize bluegrass music, despite evidence of widespread appreciation for the music - just check out how many bluegrass festivals take place in this country every year. One would think, if one believed the recording industry, that bluegrass music is a marginal musical genre like polka music and klezmer. But, I believe that an appreciation of bluegrass is under-reported by those who secretly like it, but do not wish to be made fun of by their cool friends. The music of Yanni, Enya and Kenny G suffers the same problem.

Thank goodness we can buy and download Mp3's from the Internet in the privacy of our own homes. Bluegrass is sort of like musical porn. Everybody's got some, but no one wants to admit it except those who don't care what anyone thinks.

Me, I've decided to publicly display my collection of bluegrass, Irish and folk music alongside my animated children's film collection. (Admit it, you watched "How to Train Your Dragon" without any children in the room and you laughed). Einstein believed space was curved. So, my strategy is to become so completely uncool that I lap round the universe and become cool again.

So far I'm still pretty uncool as far as my kids are concerned. I think it's farther 'round the universe than I originally thought.

Tom King
(c) 2011

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