Sharing the Limelight -a note from Val
I was born in 1957. That makes me 50 something. I've loved music for that long. That means that the artists I grew up listening to are about the same age as me - or older. I guess you'd call me a veteran music fan. And them, veteran artists...
... Eagles, Rundgren, Springsteen, JT, Frampton, Clapton, McCartney, Nicks, Elton, Jethro, Cat, just to name a handful - all know how lucky they are to have launched a music career back in the day. Back then, if you made great music, the powers that be (aka: the label and radio DJ) could work magic for you.
I'm sure these veteran artists got their musical inspiration from somewhere, from someone they grew up listening to. I'm sure they spent many a night practicing, listening, imitating, and dreaming about the great they aspired to be. But I wonder - how many got to actually meet their idols? I wonder how many were lucky enough to be mentored by them?
If you know an aspiring artist (perhaps you are one), you understand the idol thing. If you visit an aspiring artist, the evidence is everywhere - the posters, the music, the look, the sound of their master is front center in their universe. They want to emulate that voice, that vibe. If they're smart, they won't copy it, but use it as inspiration for their own sound.
Many of the veteran artists are still performing. You and I go to their shows. Some can still sing, some have replaced parts & pieces of their band, some have pursued solo careers, some have teamed up with another, and many can still sell out an arena. They're still lucky; the magic of the past sprinkled them with "forever" dust that keeps their music alive in our souls ~ which keeps them relevant. How lucky is that?
But a few veteran artists are running an extra lap around the music block with an encore of a different kind. They're going to bat for some young up and coming artists. They're sharing their past (read: limelight) with the future. It's an impressive way to give back. What they don't realize is how good this makes them look.
Daryl Hall is one. In Nov 2007 he launched a free monthly web show called "Live from Daryl's House" where he invites aspiring artists to his farm in Dutchess County, NY to jam with him in his living room. Although he's hosted music greats like Smokey Robinson, Todd Rundgren, John Oates and The Temptations, and newer greats like Cee Lo Green, Guster, KT Tunstall and Train ~ his desire to invite the lesser-known emerging artists is where the giving-back kicks in.
It's a magic recipe and Daryl serves it up piping hot. You'd expect the 10 ingredients of Daryl's show (LFDH) to be 5 parts Hall & Oates' catalogue, 4 parts Daryl's voice, 1 part new kid's voice, 0 part new kid's music. That's what I thought too.
It's more like 8 parts new kid's music with Daryl's harmonies, 1 part H&O hits, 1 part Daryl's solo stuff. Unexpected. Impressive.
The most evident and generous ingredient that Daryl serves up? His spotlight. He turns it over and shines it on his guest. Daryl provides the house, the band, the cook, the food, the fun. But the set list, the lyrics, the melodies, the story, the night - belongs to the guest. But Daryl's presence is strong. His contribution to the emerging artist is priceless, in myriad ways. Sure, he's the host, creator/producer of the show. He even brought in Philly's famous cheesesteak chef Tony Luke and a big dining room table where they eat together and share the love. This is mammoth exposure for the invited new kid, who's for sure pinching himself under the table. Daryl is a big brother who can instill confidence in an emerging artist and validate him - something that the music industry can't offer like it used to.
Some newbies he's hosted are Canadian techno-rockers Chromeo, pop-rock phenom Eric Hutchinson, Chicago rockers Company of Thieves, Bay Area singer/songwriter Matt Nathanson, Charlottesville's rising act Parachute, Plain White T's, Diane Birch and Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings. These are all Valslist artists. More recently he's hosted some big favorites of mine, blue eyed soul singer Allen Stone (whom Daryl says reminds him of himself when he was just starting out), Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Mayer Hawthorne, Keb Mo' to name a few. The show has garnered acclaim from Rolling Stone, SPIN, Daily Variety, BBC, Yahoo! Music, and CNN - - and influential music blogger Bob Lefsetz, says LFDH is a perfect example of a veteran artist reinventing himself in the digital age by collaborating with established colleagues along with the newest players on the block.
If you haven't seen the show, there's a reason. It's not on TV. It's an internet show. But that is about to change. LFDH is coming to television (see TV listings for your city) and they took the show on the road this spring - an 8 city tour called "LFDH Nu-Soul Revue!" featuring Sharon Jones and Allen Stone. I was lucky enough to catch the Chicago show a few weeks ago. It was a blast. First, they brought a backdrop that looks like the inside of a farmhouse. And if you came to see Daryl you were in for a huge dose of icing on the cake when Allen Stone kicked in with his Stevie Wonder voice and Sharon Jones kicked off her shoes. That woman can dance. Daryl was gushing with pride, like a proud father with his kids (sorry D). They'll be adding more tour dates, and if they come to your town, GO.
History might be in the making, where veteran artists take emerging artists under their wing, and show them the way. As a music picker who supports veteran and new artists, this is a dream of mine - get them on stage together.
And to the veteran artist who shares his stage, you rock. The fans see you as a smart, generous, creative musician who knows a lot more about life than just music. And the industry needs this injection of new, right about now.
Live from Daryl's House. Tune in. Tell your friends. Share the link. Catch them live.
CLIPS of LIVE FROM DARYL'S HOUSE:
Episode 10 - "Tenderoni" by Chromeo, Daryl Hall
GRACE POTTER & THE NOCTURNALS
Episode 45 - "Paris" by Grace Potter, Daryl Hall
SHARON JONES & THE DAP KINGS
Episode 34 - They sing, eat, chat, and so on
Episode 56 - "What I've Seen" by Allen Stone, Daryl Hall
Episode 17 - "Wishing Well" by Matt Nathanson, Daryl
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