Thursday, April 09, 2009

Michael Martin Murphy and Tom Rush


I remember the very first WoodSongs show.

It was in Kevin's old studio behind Flagfork Farm on Broadway in Lexington. We could barely seat 15 people. My friend Rob "The Beatnik Cowboy" McNurlin was the only artist on the show.

Times have changed.

We now pack a 400 seat concert hall every Monday no matter who is on the show. The audience comes regardless. Blind Boys of Alabama, Jakob Dylan ... or 11-year old Almire Fawn. The Kentucky Theatre fills up. To stand on that stage before the show starts remains a moving experience for me, I feel the same rush each week as I walk up from behind the curtains and see so many that support the WoodSongs idea.

And speaking of "rush" ...

I recall being in junior high when "Wildfire" first came out. I would crank up the radio each time it did .... I loved that song. So you can imagine what a total blast it is that Michael Martin Murphy would come on the show, not once, but twice so far. Each time, he and I would have dinner afterward and I would get to know this very kind hearted, true-to-the-core artist that I've admired for so long. And we talk good-cop, bad-cop politics, which is a lot of fun. MMM is a tremendously intelligent man who cares very much about society and music and who almost single handedly reintroduced the music of the American west to an entire generation of young people.

And speaking of "Rush" ...

Tom Rush has been a musical mentor for me in many ways. His passion for the unknown artist and for using his fame as a stepping stone to introduce artists like Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell and James Taylor ... not to mention Shawn Colvin, Susanne Vega and Dar Williams ... to the music public is a template for generosity not seen since Pete Seeger's early days. It was Tom Rush's example that gave birth to my phrase "... you don't have to be famous, you just have to be good" that I use on the show each week.

Imagine the rush ... Tom and MMM on my stage at the same time.

... and who ever said folk music was boring :)

mj

3 comments:

anma cara said...

Hey Michael,

I too had a blast from my past seeing and hearing MMM. I remember saving up my allowance for a couple of weeks in order to purchase "wildfire" on a 45 record. How fun it was to see him perform and meet him after the show. He was genuinely humble and a gentleman. Thanks for making the evening possible. Thanks for all you and your wonderful Woodsongs crew do each week to bring to our community and the world such great and talented artists. You are a blessing!

w e E k S ~ said...

You are an inspiration to the rest of the world. Like how the artists are inspired by OTHER artists, I am inspired by those artists who were inspired..

Tim said...

I love your take on making your own music. I did not start until age 52 when I fell under the spell of the mystical sounds of the resonator guitar. Several iterations of guitars and 8 years later, I now play casually with friends about 3 days a week almost all year long. We just love being around each other and making music. No illusions that we will ever be anything other than just friends enjoying each others company. This is the most satisfying adult experience I can think of. Thanks for bringing this to us.