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In our first 'Guest Spot' article, Joe Solo shares his thoughts on the role of the musician in today's communities, and provides a rallying cry for live music audiences.


In a world where music, at least most people's understanding of music, is dominated by X-Factor and The Voice or a seemingly endless succession of boy/girlbands or 'serious' stage-schooled singer-songwriters, what happens to the rest of us?

By the rest of us, I mean people who are 'none of the above', people who write songs and play gigs and make records in our bedrooms, but don't tick any industry boxes and never enter the radar of the average man or woman in the street.  There are loads of us out there.  Thousands.  We walk our own paths because we aren't allowed on theirs. You might pass a pub on your way to the takeaway and hear us through an open door; you might have a mate on Facebook who says they saw this great gig but can't remember who it was. You might casually glance over your shoulder, mid-conversation, in a club one night and see us giving it some in the corner, make some disparaging remark to your mates and go back to your beer.  

We are out there. We are out there now.

But why?  When all the evidence points to our cause being pointless, why do we insist on carrying on anyway? When it is clear that your culture has been pre-packaged in bite-size chunks following years of industry focus groups working out exactly what it is you want and preparing it for you, what on earth makes people like me think we can still fit in?

The answer? We don't. We never will, not now. The music industry is a locked door, opened only for those who have been taught the correct knock at stage school, or those who don't mind a career which involves three months of primetime telly then two years of opening supermarkets and turning on Christmas lights; and frankly they are welcome to it. ALL of it.

Out here, magic still happens.

People still have ideas. I hear singers who can break your heart at fifty paces, people whose voices ring so clear and true that you weep at their beauty, people who make you want to change the world, to be a better person, to grow, to learn, to love.  THAT is what music should be, not some homogenous lump of pre-prepared dot-to-dot box-ticking, but something accidental and wonderful, something EXCITING!

See, people just used to sing and play because they loved it, not because it looked like a good career. When that changed it ripped the heart out of music because what drove it, what inspired it, became money and fame.  Out here we are still living the old way, in a world where putting your heart and soul into something for its own sake is an end in itself, a world where music still matters and the rest - the rest, you can keep.

These are the days of future past.

When you are ready, come looking.  We are out here waiting and we always will be.  All you need to do is turn off the telly, grab your jacket, and make the effort.  You never know, you might even enjoy it.


You can follow Joe Solo on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joe-Solo


Interested in writing a guest article for us on a music-related subject?  Get in touch with your idea via info@yorkshirecoastgigs.co.uk