Can I get a hallelujah
Can I get an amen
Now that was refreshing.
In a world of beats, where there are no bands and every record lives in a computer, to see someone sing a song with no special effects accompanied by a group of skilled players is a revelation.
I’ve been overhyped. That’s the problem with the modern paradigm, everybody’s so wary of being ignored, of no one being aware of them, that they ramp up the hype machine to the point where it turns people off. I enjoyed “80s Mercedes” but didn’t love it, but everyone from Nashville, every country music fan couldn’t stop talking about the great hope who was going to eviscerate bro country.
But I didn’t get her until I saw her.
Live shows have become like movies, with production and dancing, it’s background, fodder for your social media feed, when you go to the show it’s about you and the act might as well be a hologram, a vapid repository for your hopes and dreams who is positively empty.
But it didn’t used to be this way.
Back before Netflix, back before staying home was hipper and more enjoyable than staying in, you went out to hear bands. Your local cover group, the new act coming through town you’d read about, it was a regular activity. But that’s now gone. People will overpay to see stars, but clubs have gone by the wayside and deejays rule anyway, so to see Maren Morris do it the way it used to be…got my heart beating and my legs moving in a way they used to and stunningly still know how to.
She came out with her white guitar, with the high heels, tight pants and tube top, because let’s be clear, she’s young and she can make it work, but what closed the audience was not her appearance but her delivery, the way she sold it, with the music in her.
This was not a song written by committee, but something Maren definitely had a hand in, it felt like her… Remember when we believed the music because the people singing wrote it? I do, and this hearkened back to what once was and still survives to a degree in Nashville, the only place where the ability to pick a Gibson still matters, where rock and melody and harmony still live, even if they call it country.
So there’s no light show, no slides, nothing to distract the audience from the performance. And performance is different from recording. Live is where you close people, where you make fans that’ll carry you through, give you a career.
And when you’re new and unknown, when you’re not a household name, you’ve got to hit the stage and close the reluctant looky-loos right away.
I was relaxed on the couch with Daniel Glass, discussing the inane “Billboard Power 100,” where they just shuffled the deck from the year before, talk about irrelevant, and then Maren hit the stage and started to play and I could sit no more, I had to get up and stand by the railing, and that’s when my body started to move, the music infected me.
Now in the seventies I’d have been sipping a beer. Scanning the audience for potential. Because back then that’s the only way you could connect with people, by going out. And it was tons more difficult but the grease was not only the alcohol, but the music. That’s what got us out there. It was an integral part of our existence. Music was not evanescent, it was everything.
But I find holy redemption
When I put this car in drive
Roll the windows down and turn up the dial
Millennials have abandoned cars. Soon no one will drive. But the American pastime didn’t used to be baseball, but getting behind the wheel, families used to take Sunday drives, but once you got your license you were itching to hit the highway, roll the windows down, put the pedal to the metal and turn it up!
Maren’s singing about a universal experience we old people know by heart.
And when she sang tonight it brought me back to what once was.
AND IT FELT SO GOOD!