I wrote an article the other day about a benefit for Jordan Hallquist, a local musician who was seriously injured in an automobile crash a few days ago. Musicians from all over Chattanooga have been anxious to help out. There is another benefit on November 14 at Track 29 for Loyd Foutz. Once again, musicians are there to help out. There is another on November 10 at the First Tennessee Pavilion benefit the Chambliss Center. And on and on it goes.
Why do musicians as a whole give so much of their talent, time, and money to good causes? I think for a moment one must climb in to the mind and persona of a musician. Understand that 99% of all musicians have no medical insurance provided by anyone other than what they can afford themselves.
They know what it is like to have to decide between going to the doctor and eating their next meal. Sure, most of the musicians have “day jobs” nowadays, but a hefty number of them do not. Many work every night of the week at gigs to feed their families and provide for them.
When a musician gets a gig to play, certain things happen almost every time. The artist must load up his/her vehicle with mic stands, music stands, extension cords, cables, speakers, amplifiers, monitors, musical instruments, and much more. They must then drive to the gig, at nearly $4 per gallon mind you. Once there, they must set up all the equipment, sound check, and get ready to play. Let’s assume they are getting a hundred bucks to play for 3 ½ hours. Add to the 3 ½ hours an hour prep time, an hour breakdown time, the hours and hours of practice, subtract the gasoline costs – well, you see where I am going. And these are super-talented people, with a real skill-set that the general population does not have. If they are good, they will transport their audience to a nicer place, helping them to forget the hard times and worries of the day. They will make people smile.
And yet, when called on to do it all for free, they are quick to raise their hand and help. Perhaps one reason is that a performer gets the most satisfaction of seeing his/her audiences enjoy the performance – so much so that the money doesn’t matter. But, I think it goes deeper than that. Performers are artists. Their minds don’t work like mine and yours. I think they truly care about their fellow man and especially the downtrodden.
Folks like Roger Alan Wade, Cody McCarver, Mick McDade, Johnny Smith, Jimmy Tawater and many more have been helping out at benefits for many years. They often give up a paying gig to help out. Vince Gill will be here tomorrow night at the Tivoli – for free; for a good cause. I’ll take a bet – I bet you that there will be more musicians at Jordan Hallquist’s benefit than there will be non-musicians. Why? Because they really care about their friend, and want to support him. They also know that Jordan would do the same for them if needed. The general public should care that much.
The next time you go out and see a live music act in town, look around for a tip jar or bucket. Put a buck or two in it – not just for the performance that evening- but to help defray the expenses of them doing the next free show to help out a good cause. That is one way you can help. Or better yet, drop that tip in the bucket AND go to the next benefit where live music is the featured entertainment. Oh, and one more thing…let the entertainers know you enjoyed them and appreciate them. That goes a long, long way to compensating them for their efforts.
For local music info, try www.chattanoogaentertainers.com or www.chattanooganightscope.com. They both have great local music info and schedules. For local info on Country music, try Jim Boles’ site www.chattacountry.ning.com.
Email Bob Payne at email@example.com or catch him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/davrik2000 .