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Steve's Blog: Solo Bass & Beyond



10,000 Jonis – Celebrate by Sharing.

November 7th, 2011 | 3 Comments | Categories: Musing on Music |

Today is Joni Mitchell’s birthday. She’s 68.

Joni has influenced my music perhaps more than any other single musician. She’s not a bassist and she doesn’t loop, but the connection her music makes, the way it draws you into the story, into her world, the feeling of almost too much access into the inner recesses of her mind, all wrapped in just the right music for each story, is exactly what I’ve tried to do. Her music is the gold standard.

Hejira – here 1976 album that introduced so many people to the playing of Jaco Pastorius, is my most enduring desert island disc. The list changes almost daily, but that’s been in the top 2 for over 20 years.

So, what to do to mark her birthday? Tell yet more people to listen to Joni? It hardly seems necessary. I mean, I hope you all find Joni’s music at some point, but it’s not really the best use of the energy required to point people towards new music…

Instead, I suggest we let our friends know about singer/songwriters (or any other music for that matter) that they’ve probably never heard of before. On twitter, I’ve been using the #10000Jonis tag for this – the idea being that if we support independent music in a much broader way, we’re all far more likely to find a ‘Joni’ that helps makes sense of our lives. The days of expecting one heavily promoted musician to be the voice of a generation are thankfully behind us – what we can now have is thousands of musicians telling stories in a shareable way, and those that connect can find a home. But it can only happen if we actively seek new places and ways to share the great stuff we find.

I am so dependent on people choosing to share my music with their friends, it’s not even funny. If you who dig it don’t talk about it, I don’t really have a plan B for getting the music out there. I mean, I *could* buy ads in magazines and somehow hope to make back the investment by bucking every known trend in music advertising and actually making money through it, but that’s a pretty major ask for a solo bassist who really struggles to describe what he does to people who haven’t heard it. Best solution? You who dig it play it to your friends. Deal? Thanks! x

So, please, use the comments here to share great music (PLEASE not your own – I’m OK with self-promotion, there’s just a time and a place for it, and this isn’t it.) And then take that great music and talk about it on Facebook, twitter, forums. If you want to talk about my stuff, that’s great – share the Bandcamp links, copy it onto your friends phones, email them tracks. Whatever, I’m grateful for the support :)

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3 Comments so far ↓

  • Louis Barabbas

    I count myself very privileged to be a friend of poet/musician Alabaster dePlume. More than anyone I know he is someone that makes me want to write and I am fortunate enough to be among the people he shares his unfinished material with. I am always excited when he tells me he has a new poem or song or instrumental. They’re all different but they’re all brilliant in their own unique way.

    He is, however, not well known. I would very much like him to be (although I don’t think he’s too worried about it himself). He is at times funny, at times heart-breaking, always truthful. He keeps a regularly updated blog of experiences and thoughts at http://www.alabasterdeplume.com (as well as music etc)

    Here’s a little video of him accompanied by a cello
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riNrGOxwRoE

  • Laura Kidd

    Best live band I’ve seen in a very long time are Birdeatsbaby – http://www.birdeatsbaby.co.uk – and they just so happen to be a lovely bunch of people as well.

    I’m also pretty addicted to listening to Jesca Hoop’s album “Hunting My Dress”, and she just went off on tour with Peter Gabriel :) I do feel she’s really earned that platform – she’s been consistently brilliant and weird and it’s great to see her doing well.

    Great post, Steve!

  • Thomas

    I have nothing to share. I just want to thank you for this post. Joni is still the best for me and like you said: since more than 20 years Hejira is my favourite album for me (and not only because of Jacos basslines).
    And thank you for the tip Resonance by Nick Saunders. A great album!