Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sam Roberts

I went and saw Sam Roberts play at the Jubilee on Monday night. The guy is great - one of my favorites - and I'm pleased to say that he's one of those musicians. You know the kind, the ones who actually sound even better live than in their recordings.

He's a song writer extraordinaire. A talented musician. An entertainer. Humble. Thankful to be doing something he loves (professional athletes take note), to be getting paid for it. A little bit in awe of the fact that people actually show up to listen to his music. Kind of eccentric (seriously, you should hear him interview. He doesn't even use the internet. At all. Take that. But he's a musician. Really, all the good ones are a little bit, um, different). Very well thought out. Yes, Sam Roberts is Canadian rock n' roll and it makes me proud.

Seriously, though. I think one of the things that impresses me about him is his song writing. That is a serious skill. One I wish I had. He has the ability to turn serious, life changing topics into music that speaks without depressing. He tells a story. He makes a point. It's not cotton candy fluff but it's not dark and dreary either.

Can I just point out that song writing is hard? Even nursery rhyme, cheese-ball lyrics are hard to write. Well, maybe they're not that hard but that's sure how I'm feeling lately. Part of it is expressing what you feel deep inside in a way that people can relate to. And then I get a little frustrated that it is, in some way, about other people. Putting it to music isn't all that easy either. The rhythms, patterns and organization of the lyrics must be put together in such a way that it works with the music. They are intrinsically connected. They must be. It's a part of the writing process. It could be that there's so many other seemingly brilliant writers out there to compare my own attempts to. Maybe it's just that I don't feel like I have much to say from my own life but still want to share some sort of commentary on the world around me that I don't really understand. Why? Why are things the way they are? And then I wonder, has it all been done before? Could I really write something new and interesting that could, like any other good art, affect someone else around me in a real and meaningful way?

I've told people 100 times about 100 different things that if they want to get anywhere with something that perhaps they just need to start. Perhaps.

Anyway, back to Sam Roberts. Another thing I love about him is that he surrounds himself with other great musicians. The guy's got a great band behind him. The guy who used to be his lead guitar player is now his keyboard player. He plays tasteful and artistic lines that really add to what everyone else is playing and it's attainable too. With a little practice, I think I could play a lot of what he does. I came away feeling a little bit inspired about the possibilities for my own playing. I like to be inspired.

Yes, Sam Roberts sure taught them kids how to dance the rock n' roll!

1 comment:

Frake said...

I like your comment about good art affecting the people around you in a real and meaningful way. I think that focus makes it easier to make good art then the focus of trying to master a skill set, like song writing or playing piano. Looking forward to hearing your songs one day!