The kid couldn’t have been more than nine or 10. Taping aluminum cans to his shoes, he and his brother tap-danced for while his buddies played rudimentary instruments for the quickly assembling crowd. Just another evening in New Orleans, a town filled with musicians on every street corner playing everything from jazz to the blues.
“You don’t need a penny just to hang aroundDown on the Corner – by Creedence Clearwater revival
But if you’ve got a nickel, won’t you lay your money down?
Over on the corner there’s a happy noise
People come from all around to watch the magic boy”
Street music is happy music, and I love to stop and listen. Too many people walk right by the singers, guitar players, and brass quarters sharing their talents with passers-by for the cost of a few dollars in their jars (or the purchase of a CD by the more sophisticated marketers). On a recent trip to Jerome, Arizona, a couple sang and played on a corner. I stood in the background, listening, while Judy and her friends shopped. I made sure to put a fin in their open guitar case when we made our way down the street.
And, of course, there are those times when street music is a little more organized, but still outdoors and it stirs something inside of you.
Sometimes, listening to more organized music gives me the same joy. Bar-hopping along Duval Street in Key West, you cannot help but stop in to Irish Kevin’s to hear the band … and all the drunken revelry that accompanies them!
In a more family friendly atmosphere, a “Brews, Blues, and Barbeque” event at a theme park brought me similar satisfaction. Judy took the older grandkids and Stacy on the rides, while I hung out with a beer in one hand, while “dancing” with Dani in her stroller in the other to a fantastic blues band. I could have spent the whole day doing that. Dani is nearly five years older now, but for me, that will always be one of my favorite bonding experiences with her. I hope someday, she’ll enjoy the blues as much as I do!
There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. Stopping to listen to the music along the way is one of life’s truly great pleasures.
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