The path starts from the inside for the musician. The initial urge is to express yourself. To make contact with the essence of who you are and express it through music.

Something happens, though, once you connect with the force inside of you…a burning need emerges, a need to show the inside of you to the outside world. Once that line is crossed, it seems, there’s no turning back.

Nettie and I went to the Grammy Museum on Saturday. It was fine. It was okay. It was a disappointment. I won’t go into all that, the why’s and wherefore’s, the extensive Whitney Houston memorial (free tissues at the font of the goddess), the Columbia Records exhibit that covers half the second floor (apparently they’re the creator of the Western Hemisphere…who knew?), the Michael Jackson glitter jacket collection (he had tiny shoulders…creepy).

Beach BoysThe Beach Boys tribute, complete with the actual surfboard from countless album covers was…well…depressing. It was like watching the chronology of the Garden of Eden becoming a paved parking lot (and by the way, Joni Mitchell was nowhere to be found in this place, and barely a mention of the Beatles or Stones…).

Robert JohnsonAnyway, where was I? Oh yeah, one’s essence struggling to be expressed and then demanding to be heard. That’s where this museum excelled as if by accident.

Billie HolidayDotted around the various exhibits were video booths with comfy cushioned seats and ten minute videos on various genres of Twentieth Century music, e.g., Pop Music, R&B, Jazz, Delta Blues. The archival footage of the pioneer musicians in their musical genre cut right to the quick. To the heart of the matter. To the blood and guts that drove these artists to become who they already were.

Jerry+Lee+Lewisjimmy-hendrix newFats Waller on a piano that couldn’t be tuned in a rundown poolroom where he played for endless hours perfecting his style without knowing he had a style. Robert Johnson at the crossroads in the mythic trade of his soul for musical talent. Billie Holiday’s dream of singing her way out of prostitution and poverty. Jerry Lee Lewis breaking every taboo to be heard. Jimi Hendrix teaching his left-handed self to play a right-handed guitar upside down.

On and on, in video after video, the same obsessive need to express the inner core revealed itself as an endless expression of urgent dreams that were dreamed at the risk of everything else.

Grammy_Award_01And we, the audience, have heard those dreams come true for the stars who have their place at the Grammy Museum, the musicians whose name was called, who walked up to the stage, who held out their hand and who took the Grammy Award home.

What I couldn’t help thinking about, of course, as Nettie and I walked down the stairs to the last set of exhibits, was of the thousands of musicians, probably millions, whom we’ve never heard of and never heard. What of them?

No worry, none at all I decided as I strolled into the gift shop. For these countless musicians, just like the countless writers, artists, dancers, actors, etc, the Garden of Eden is still a magical place where the heart beats the loudest.


2 Responses to It’s The Heart That Beats The Loudest

  1. i read your article and loave it so much ,thank you so much.

  2. Maey E. says:

    What of them? I think that the artist must express themselves regardless of the audience. The gift of the talent is extended if others are invited to share it.

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