Music is a powerful tool. It can inspire new ideas, express old ideals, move us to tears, challenge us to love others, make us laugh at ourselves, and sometimes, music forces us to keep things in their proper perspective.
I went through a range of emotions last week when the Arts Alliance presented The Annie Moses Band. Not only was I moved by the fact that these six very talented siblings could write, sing and play stunning music together, but that they had a mission to tell the story of their family history, and the history of America and her music, in a very compelling way.
The message was clear; America had a rough childhood, and only succeeded through the sweat and toil of thousands who sacrificed everything to make our country grow and prosper. To forge a piece of metal into a half-pipe, cover it with fabric, put it on a wagon, throw everything you own into that wagon — and go west pioneer, go west. Their stories were expressed through the weaving of classical, bluegrass and American roots music, into a fabric we don’t see much anymore in the musical world. And, these musicians, by the way, are young people who refuse to let us forget about our ancestors, which makes me admire them even more.
If we were to weave a fabric from most music we hear on the radio today — what would it look like? I’m sorry to say, it’s not something I could address in a public newspaper.
At one point, Annie told the audience that their new album, and PBS special was titled “The Art of the Love Song.” She remarked, “They just don’t write songs like they used to,” and then went on to sing a song written in 1969 by Don McClean, “And I Love You So.” It was sweet, sad, heartfelt and beautifully moving. It reminded me that writing a good song is truly an art form.
Should it concern us that art seems to be disappearing more and more every day from our music? Is music art anymore? It depends on your perspective. If music today, and art in general, is a reflection of our culture, what is art saying about us right now? Don’t get me started — I could climb on that soapbox and talk for days.
The bottom line is, the more I hear distasteful music, the more it makes me appreciate great music.
I appreciate the talent, the commitment, the integrity and the heartfelt transparency of artists like The Annie Moses Band. And as they travel across this globe that seems to be in the middle of an identity crisis, I hope they inspire many others, who hear their hearts cry, to use the power of music to shape and reflect what’s good and noble about the land in which we live.
Our next show is “The Hot Sardines” on April 5, taking us back to the jazz of the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. Visit angelinaarts.org for more information.
Tracy Pinkerton is the executive director of the Angelina Arts Alliance. Her emailaddress firstname.lastname@example.org.