Art Vs. Commerce
Recommended reading for the day, the Robbie Fulks series of essays, entitled "The Worst Gig I Ever Had."
It's the story of what happens when one of the finest country songwriters/players in the nation agrees to be a part of the back up band for a Garth Brooks impersonator, for one night only. And it all happened right here in Minneapolis, at the NARN home away from home, the Minneapolis Hilton.
To put it another way, it's the story of a clash of motivations. When commerce (as evidenced by Fulks's comments):
People who fill non-musical roles in the music business routinely speak of their "passion" for the fine arts - musicians talk only about money.
Meets passion (as exemplified by the Garth impersonator's motivations):
"Fellows," said the entertainer, getting right down to business. Besides his fat cheeks and thin hair, his lack of physical resemblance to Garth Brooks was perfect. "I appreciate your learning my set. I know it's a lot of material. And I know that each of us is here with a common goal, putting on a great show, and paying tribute to Garth's work."
"Garth," said "Garth," turning thoughtful, "is an incredible force. It's beyond anything like simple musicianship. That's why his music has touched so many hearts. He's got loads of talent, no doubt about that, but his real gift is that rare ability to connect with people. That's what I emphasize in my show. That's the whole bottom line, right there, that connection to people's hearts."
We nodded mutely.
"Now," he continued, narrowing his eyes, "you guys did bring outfits, right?"
I encourage you to read the whole thing, it's hilarious. There's a lot of inside technical references about charts and pick ups and such, so musicians will appreciate it most. But Fulks is such a skillful writer, it works for a general audience (like me) as well.
(Acknowledgment to JB Doubtless, for hipping me to this article series and for recommending the music of Robbie Fulks years ago.)