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Letter From The Publisher

Letter From The Publisher

As the effect the virus had around the world may not have been taken seriously enough at first, we all came to realize this would have far reaching consequences as the death toll rose and adjustments like we have never seen before began to happen in our daily lives. The live music industry is simply one sector of society to suffer but it is the sector that SFL Music Magazine and we all share together; it is the communal music experience.

I think back to innocent times of the 60’s when 500,000 people from a generation that expressed itself and communicated with each other through music shared a muddy field for three days, elbow to elbow, sharing the food and drink, the music, and the love. When resources got scarce we would take a bite of an apple or peach and pass it on, a swig of a water jug and do the same. We huddled together to shelter from the rain and sleep together in the cold of night while the music kept us warm and secure. Those of us who were there felt the passion of the musicians who sang of freedom, protested a war, made their mark on a generation, and connected with the crowd each in their own way. The connection was exemplified when Stephen Stills felt comfortable enough to open up as he looked out at a crowd larger than anyone had played for before and uttered the immortal words, “we’re scared shitless”.

I think of only a couple of years ago when a new generation of Allman Brothers Band lineage made the Funky Biscuit in Boca Raton a must play while touring South Florida. First among them was Devon, Gregg Allman’s son. One night Devon brought Gregg to attend his show and there was a magic in the air that only people who were there can describe. The Allman Brothers may have been the quintessential music act that simply had to be experienced live, for their shows were a shared experience that bolstered the musicians and made each performance a special one. On this night at the Biscuit, Gregg saw owner Al Poliak’s Hammond B3 on the stage, a 1963 B3, an instrument Gregg was known for along with his truly special and soulful voice. As his touring band was playing a special set opening for Devon, Gregg couldn’t resist and he made his way to the stage for an unannounced appearance. This was the moment when the crowd and musicians became one. The Biscuit was bursting at the seams as the crowd grew as if by a magic calling, and again elbow to elbow, cheering, sweating, and singing together, an event never to be repeated was shared by a special few. You know what I am talking about, you could see it in Gregg’s eyes as he poured his heart out and the audience responded as one. I remember Al and I hugging, words not needed, at the sheer joy of helping to orchestrate an event like this. Photographers tried to capture it with cameras, writers with words, but as they say “you had to be there”.

We need it, we yearn for it, the shared live music experience.

To illustrate even more… As I have worked with Jesse Finkelstein at Blues Radio International for some years now, we have done performance interviews in his studio, some 500 of them. Jesse broadcasts them on his website and his radio show goes out to listeners all over the world. But these intimate performance interviews with legends, current stars, and newcomers from all genres come into the studio and pour their hearts out with their music and their stories for a camera, and us, at BRI. For Jesse and I, many times a moment of great depth and intimacy comes when without words we look at each other at the same time and know that we shared a special moment of total baring of a soul, connecting with an unseen audience, or us (all of us) by being there in the room live with the artist that cannot be captured in any way other than to be there. We nod in appreciation that we witnessed this moment first hand and smile. That’s what we concert goers are looking for. That’s what we want to share when we go out to music events big and small.

We miss it right now as it was taken away from us suddenly. We will cherish even more as we get through this unprecedented time and get to attend live music shows once again when the time comes. We will appreciate everyone involved even more and hope to never take for granted again those moments when we share this experience.

I am amazed at the resourcefulness of the community. While events have been cancelled, venues closed (some for good), and an entire industry suffers unlike never before, there are those who adjust and try to help. Many musicians have initiated “live” events from their homes broadcasted over Facebook, Instagram, and the like. Some venues have provided this outlet through their websites. All are encouraging us to enjoy the experience and buy the musicians’ cds and merchandise to try to help those who are out of work. Blues Radio International started doing live interviews on Facebook daily with musicians from around the world relating their experiences as some musicians are stuck out on tour not able to get home, while others are sharing their quarantine. Others provide great stories live, as Bob Margolin did the other day when he shared a memory of his initial audition with the Muddy Waters Band way back when. Other venues are doing their best to help their staff, doing some sprucing up, and trying to find a way to book acts so that when we return to “normal” we can get back to what we love. Countless fundraisers have begun and we are responding.

Truly resourceful people are adjusting during these times and there is beauty amongst the devastation happening every day.

We are encouraged that there is a pent up need to see each other out again, share the music experience again, report about the music again. We want to thank all of our advertisers and supporters of SFL Music Magazine over the years. We want to thank all of the musicians who made it special to go out and share a night with them. We want to thank the roadies, the managers, the publicists, the venue owners, the staff that work the events, and of course all of you. We are all in this together, and just like in that muddy field many years ago, we will help each other through it. If you have a story to share please contact us. We would love to hear it.

Stay safe, follow the guidelines, and keep the faith. See you in the new normal!

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