Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ponderosa Stomp Music Conference Day One Wrap: It's All About Love and Respect

Until one attends a Ponderosa Stomp event it impossible to explain to the uninitiated what the big deal is. So I apologize to my friend and colleague Jody for being a little sarcastic and snippy in my opening article today but he had spent the week needling me about something that is truly dear to my heart.

You see, what makes the Ponderosa Stomp such a great event isn't just the great music, it is certainly all of that. It isn't just being able to see some of the greatest, legendary musicians and songwriters who have ever lived, but there is that. It isn't just that it is one of the greatest party's you will ever attend. What makes the Ponderosa Stomp so special is love and respect.

First of all it is the love and care and attention to detail with which Ira and the Mystic Knights of the Mau Mau put together each years line-up. Although it is always an eclectic mix of the greatest music on earth, American Music: blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, rock and rockabilly, there is always an emphasis on New Orleans music. While Austin may have overshadowed New Orleans as of late as the epicenter, or at least the home of perhaps the greatest number of great musicians in recent years, New Orleans is still the Jerusalem or Mecca of American Music. So it is only fitting that this event takes place in the Crescent City.

Second, it is the love and respect that the musicians, songwriters, producers and industry people have for one another, which, in a cut throat business like the music industry can seem like an almost impossible task. Perhaps that is one of the reasons Ira started the Music Conference segment of the Stomp four years ago. Not only does it give hardcore music heads a chance to live vicariously through, and get a glimpse into the lives of their heroes and heroines, more importantly it gives the musicians a chance to catch up, reminise, let bygones be just that and appreciate each other for the gifts they gave one another years ago and express their gratitude and love for each other. Perhaps the saddest thing about the Stomp is the reoccurring expression of remorse by the musicians that they did not get a chance to express their gratitude, love and respect to one of their fellow musicians and mentors before they passed on. We heard alot of that today.

Lastly, unlike the commercialized, money oriented fan fests of country music or even say NASCAR, at the Ponderosa Stomp there is truly a genuine love, respect and appreciation by the musicians for the fans that goes well beyond money. This may sound corny and trite, but anyone in attendance at today's music conference knows what I am talking about. I challenge anyone in attendance today to say that Bobby Rush, Carol Fran or Lavalle White's emotional thank yous and displays of love and affection for the fans, music press and other musicians in attendance was not 100% real. Perhaps that's the biggest point I am not so eloquently trying to make: The Ponderosa Stomp is real. Real music by real musicians for real music lovers. And it don't get any sweeter than that.

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