Published August 28, 2020
When we first started NoteWorthy Music, neither Dale McCurry nor I had any idea what to expect. The one thing we both knew and agreed from the beginning was that we would let it morph and grow freely rather than us trying to fit it into some preconceived structure. I say the beginning—it’s hard to believe that was only two months ago. So much has changed in that brief time, so many artists have added their voices to our chorus. We thank them for that.
From the start Dale wanted a column, a place reminiscent of publishing in a magazine or newspaper, a place to share thoughts and reflections. I’m pleased to say with Stand Here we have finally realized that concept. Thank you, Dale, for sharing your words.
~Bambi Grinder, NoteWorthy Music
Draw Antonio, draw Antonio, draw and don’t waste time.
~ Michelangelo to his apprentice.
The Art of Zine Zen
By Dale McCurry
NoteWorthy Music | Illustrator Daniel Harris
Life as we knew it was/is indefinitely suspended if not canceled outright.
Not the least of the year’s stressors is a pandemic that may or may not be a 100-year virus; may or may not be a conspiracy of genocide perpetrated by creatures who may or may not be Americans or humans or aliens falling somewhere within the spectrum of the word; may or may not, in fact, be a hoax—a flash mob of death and destruction conceived and orchestrated, solely, to get us all to wear masks and tracking devices.
People are hurt and scared, cornered and desperate, and, well … feral is as feral does.
One thing is certain in these iconically uncertain times: Real or hoax, virus or conspirators, life as we knew it was/is indefinitely suspended if not canceled outright.
Larry Lee | Photo courtesy of Larry Lee
Draw … Draw
As a stringband music journalist in a new music journalism gig, it was humbling to bear witness as the live music scene went unplugged and dark as quickly as Willie’s crew could get him on the road again. Only this time the Honeysuckle Rose was pointed directly toward the Nelson ranch to sit a spell.
When we ask artists where they were and what they were doing when they realized COVID-19 had just changed their lives as performance artists, they know. Exactly. Precisely. “In the kitchen. Making a smoothie,” said Daniel Rodriguez, co-founder of Elephant Revival—further information was neither supplied nor needed.
Daniel Rodriguez | Photo by Jesse Borrell | Photo courtesy of Daniel Rodriguez
It was an “Oh shit!” time. You could feel it—could hear it in the silence of darkened music halls from coast to coast. “Music will endure this pandemic, but many great bands will not,” The HillBenders’ Jim Rea told us. “Many great venues and festivals will not.”
Recently, it has occurred to me that not one of the musicians we have worked with during this dramatic and challenging time has been angry about what’s disappeared from their lives. They may be sad. Of course they feel a sense of loss and confusion and concern, but they refuse to dwell with the bottom feeders and spew hate at randomly chosen scapegoats.
Tiffany Christopher | Photo courtesy of Tiffany Christopher
Though performance artists certainly weren’t alone in the devastated-industry department, they collectively took a blindside gut-punch that robbed them of air and audience in one arching roundhouse. Still, their knees refused to fully buckle. Musicians almost reflexively turned their iPhones on themselves and kept playing. Meanwhile at NoteWorthy, we scrambled to get this platform live on the interweb with an idea to ask artists to join us to dissect and discuss their world interrupted.
They make art as if drawing breath.
We truly could not have imagined the grace, compassion, and courage they would bring to the task—one of them after another. Each of them watchful of their gifts as if tending to the sacred fires of ancient civilizations. We truly could not have imagined the joy of working with artists who do what artists do—whether at peace or when their worlds are in pieces: They make art as if drawing breath.
Be safe; be light; play tunes.
Writer and Editor
Following years as a reporter and editor of a handful of weekly newspapers, Dale McCurry was co-founder and publisher, writer and managing editor of High Notes Magazine on the Western Slope of Colorado and The Wires and the Wood in his native Ozarks. Today, he co-wears those hats for NoteWorthy Music as well.
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