Sharing the blues

One recent morning, I walked into my office to find a small stack of record albums sitting on my chair. Flipping through the pile, I discovered that it included original albums from some pretty good artists (Johnny Copeland, Slim Harpo, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry, Fred McDowell, Leadbelly, and Hound Dog Taylor, among them), only one title of which was currently in my collection.

This might be a good place to point out that 1) my day job isn’t with a record or other music-related company, or any business in which it’s common for someone to leave a stack of records on someone else’s chair, and 2) in case you haven’t noticed, LPs haven’t been the medium of choice for music in some time. Even though record companies are beginning to offer limited pressings of more new albums and reissues, the majority of the music out there today is still of the CD format, making this mystery gift all that more, well, mysterious.

Upon some investigation, I learned that the records were left for me by a colleague from my department a few offices down the hall, with whom I had shared numerous conversations regarding music, only occasionally focused on the blues. Turns out he had a few blues records in his collection that he thought I might get more use out of than he does nowadays (either that, or his wife made him start to clean out his record collection – in which case, my wife thanks his.) Ironically, this guy wasn’t even aware of this blog at the time he gave me the records, although he certainly is now.

This occurrence was a good reminder that one of the best things about music can be sharing it with others. Most musicians and club owners certainly seem to feel this way, to do what they do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, as do blues societies and foundations all around the world, including the likes of the Blues Foundation, Music Maker Relief Foundation, Blue Shoe Project, and the aforementioned Soul Fixin’ Foundation, to name a few. For those of us who don’t make our livings in the music business, examples of this can range from enjoying the energy of a live show with 50 others in a local club or juke joint or with thousands of friends at a festival, to helping to spread the word about a hot new artist or recording you’ve just heard, as we here at the BluesPowR Blog like to do.

There are plenty of other ways you can “pay it forward” and help bring happiness to others through music, a few simple suggestions on which we offer below. The music you share doesn’t have to be blues, of course, although I’m sure that the artists and record execs who read this blog would appreciate it, but when you think about it, who doesn’t like music of some kind?

Consider giving CDs as gifts for co-workers at the office. The music doesn’t have to come from your personal collection, as was the case with my recent gift. For the holidays, there are a number of pretty good blues Christmas collections out there; for other times of the year, or if you’re not sure of what music the ones for whom you’re buying like or already might have, consider an iTunes card so they can download their own stuff, or a Borders, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon card so they can pick out/order their own CDs or MP3s.

If you have blues lovers for whom you shop each year, you might start buying now (the new CDs from Luther Allison and The Nighthawks out today would both make nice additions to almost anyone’s blues collection) and continue doing it throughout the year when you can more easily find the new releases in stores and online, and you’ll find yourself with a stocking pretty well stuffed by the time December rolls around.

Take a friend to a live show or festival. This can be a win-win-win for all involved: it’s a treat for both you and your friend, at the same time it helps to support hard-working artists. If you’re in the western Pennsylvania area, here’s a good calendar of shows to get you started on this one.

If these suggestions all sound a bit too rich for your blood, or if you’re looking for advice on the one thing you can and should do for yourself and any of your friends who also happen to be fans of the blues – at absolutely no cost – subscribe to our blog and we’ll gladly do some of the sharing for you!

About things comin’ our way…
Since we’re on the topic of gifts, now might be a good time to let you know that, as a music-related blog, we often receive new music and other materials from record companies and music promoters (and yes, sometimes co-workers) at minimal or no cost. While this certainly helps us to keep you informed of the latest happenings in the blues industry, the receipt of these materials in no way guarantees coverage on our blog/site or constitutes any form of pay-for-post or “blogola” arrangement between us and the provider.

Coverage on the BluesPowR Blog is entirely at the discretion of our staff based on an item’s relevance and interest to the BluesPowR community. In accordance with FTC blogging requirements, we will always disclose when we have been provided a promotional copy of material about which we are writing.

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