Thursday, April 23, 2020

Me and You and Ukraine

Warning! This post is NOT intended for viewing by Ukrainians!

To all others, know that BIG WES Turner's Trio will NOT be playing for happy beer-drinking, music-loving party people on May 15 at Tyranena Brewing in Lake Mills, Wisconsin. As recommended by Wisconsin's Secretary of the Department of Health Services, Tyranena and all other non-essential businesses are closed to close-quartered social drinking until (at least) May 24.

But window service is still open for anyone who wants to bring home bottled beer or to have their growlers refilled. No need to distance yourself from those delicious, nutritious Tyranena brews.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Into the Great Alone

Last we heard from Big Wes Turner, he was still sheltered in place on the leeward side of a remote island. (If I knew which, I'd say so. He doesn't give a lot away.) BIG WES Turner's Trio has no gigs booked before the month of May, and those may happen or not depending on the shape of "the curve." When we know, we'll let you know.

As for the way things are? Well, dogs are loving it. It seems like everybody in our neighborhood is out taking walks, with or without dogs, sometimes with the kids on their kiddie bikes. It's an idyllic suburban scenario from our window, but of course it ain't like this everywhere. New York comes to mind. But getting outdoors into spaces where physical distancing is practical is a great thing. Take advantage. Savor it. 

Other than the daily stroll, lives are slowing down to a near standstill (because it's the only move we have to slow down the COVID virus). At that pace we start to notice things. What is essential and what's not? What has changed and what hasn't? 

For musicians, one thing doesn't change; you still have to practice. Musicians are "small muscle athletes." We may not break much of a sweat, but we still need to work out. A great pianist (might have been Rachmaninoff) said, "If I skip a day's practice, I notice; if I skip two days, my friends notice; if I skip three days, my audience notices." Musicians such as I are far below Sergei's pay grade, but the general rule still applies: use it or lose it. A live audience can create a feedback loop of artistic energy, but the players still have to bring some chops to the show. So the work continues. The sudden befalling of "The Great Alone of 2020" makes the practice room that much more a logical place to spend time.

But Hey! You don't have to be a musician to have something better to do other than stream shows over the interweb or listen to the inane droning of "the daily briefing." There are better ways to pass your time or focus your mind. Here are some recommendations: Pull out some of those albums you listened to over and over again years ago. Or some you never really paid much attention to. Close your eyes and give them the "test of time." Or read that book or three you've been meaning to. Or take up that craft you put down. Darn some socks, darn it. Hell, learn how to sew your own face mask. There's a practical skill. Once you get going you'll likely discover endless possibilities, many of which will require zero bandwidth or even electricity! Imagine!
Now shut me off and get to it.
P.S. If you're not a Ukrainian bot, please post a comment.