Real-life advice from a guy who’s seen, done, and survived just about everything
What was it about the Sixties that made the music so magical? Was it just that I was young and everything in the world felt new and magical, or was there truly something special about that time? —Steve, TX
There are periods in history when art blossoms. There’s the Renaissance in Italy. There’s the Thirties in Paris’ Left Bank. Around that time, you see a crowd that wasn’t there before and wasn’t there after.
That happened again in songwriting in the Sixties and Seventies. There was a peak of songwriting. Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Paul McCartney, Randy Newman, and others inspired it. They made us love good songs, and it was a very rich period.
I’m a 17-year-old guitar player and my taste in music is all over the place. I’m just as much in love with the blues as I am with folk and as I am with indie music. Is it OK for me to be all over the place? Should I pick one thing and leave my other interests behind?
No. You should not put your other interests behind. The widest possible scope of music you can listen to is going to help you the most. Aside from opera, I listen to everything: country, folk, jazz, classical, singer-songwriter, pop. If you want to be a musician, you really should listen to as many kinds of music as you possibly can. That’s a very healthy thing.