There are many reasons why I love summer. For one thing, there are the various music festivals held throughout the tri-state region – a great opportunity to hear live music outside of a barroom setting. I myself applied to play at one of these festivals. The conversation went along smoothly until I uttered those six fateful words:

“How much does this gig pay?”

You’d have thought I was Oliver Twist asking for more gruel. The booking agent went on and on about how people were donating their time and talent for this community event, and how dare I ask for money when people much better than me were playing for free.

This drives me crazy. Are the arts and crafts vendors giving away their stuff for free? Are the food trucks giving away food? Is Penelec donating electricity? Why is it always the musicians who are asked to take it on the chin at these things?

Another thing I love about summer is that the nicer weather is more conducive to travel. Last weekend I saw the Lemonheads in Pittsburgh. It was only when driving home that it occurred to me that the audience… was entirely white.

I don’t want to be one of these “walk five miles to school” guys, but when I was growing up in the 1980’s, it wasn’t like this. White kids listened to Prince and Michael Jackson. Black kids listened to Madonna and Bruce Springsteen. Everyone listened to everything. But, around 1990, the races split apart, with blacks embracing rap and R&B, and whites gravitating toward country and grunge (and later, indie rock). 

I am neither a sociologist nor a musicologist. I don’t purport to understand how or why this split occurred. But it’s a disturbing trend, and it ought to be addressed.

The main reason I love summer is that the time off allows me to play more music. Earlier this month I actually went on tour!

Okay, it was only five shows in two weeks. And they were all in northwest Pennsylvania. And I went home after every gig. But this is my newsletter, so I’m calling it a tour!

I have a few more shows later this summer; check the website for details. In the meantime, I hope everyone reading this has the opportunity to take in some live music this summer – if not mine, then someone else’s.

As usual, thanks for your support. And remember… you only get about eighty summers in a lifetime, so make each one count.



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