Tall Tales, Information & Observations (aka The Blog)
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I recently wrote this in response to a heartbroken post by my friend Kasey Anderson regarding his career and the reality of the landscape before him. The post I'm talking about was brought to my attention by a mutual friend that found it on his website. My response was visceral and immediate because I identified with Kasey's struggle and need to take a breather before recommitting to his fight for his work and life. Now, I know that not everyone can win, so please don't misunderstand what the point is here. But we have a situation where the more nuanced, subtle, honest, rich, complex and denser arts are dying in our culture. It seems to me that there's no easy answer to why, how and what we can do about it. Nonetheless it is a conversation worth having, and there are solutions worth being passionate about. I've been watching the pummeling of very talented people for years now, from photographers to filmmakers and journalists and painters to poets and novelists and the support systems and talents and creatives that advocate and build awareness for all of these vital expressions. And yes, singers and songwriters and bands and musicians and composers. The death of art means the death of culture. And the truth is I haven't quite deduced what the death of culture leads to but my gut and my heart and my desire for those great engagements tell me that the death of culture leads nowhere good.
"If you read one thing I post today, read this. My friend Kasey Anderson is hanging up the gloves for a minute or two. It's heartbreaking. I can't even tell you how many times I've nearly done the same thing. Hell, even last week it crossed my mind even as things have been going so beautifully for Dusk. It just feels unsustainable. You see, there are artists out there wh
ere things like honest art, integrity, individual craft and dignity still matter. Kasey is one of them, I am too. And there's a thousand more of us. But we're getting our asses kicked by the way the engagement with music has gone. Couple that with an army of "another kind of artist" that will slit your throat and write an Old Navy jingle in a heartbeat to fill that god-shaped hole and 5 minutes of fame... And well, things are hard for the type that hold dear the aforementioned things... Now don't get me wrong, to each their own, and I mean that. It's not really for me to judge what motivates another. But there's no balance anymore and the audience and support for the real arts is shrinking. And one day we're gonna ask ourselves what the fuck happened? And we're gonna realize they were all starving to death and decided to get a "real" job. Well, art is a real job, it's important work... And a culture that ignores its artists and celebrates vapid nursery rhymes, well, is it a culture at all? I'll wager whether you buy a Kasey Anderson record or not he'll keep writing songs in the middle of nowhere that could save your life late that night when you realize those beer commercial slogans are lying to you. I just hate seeing a friend lie down by the side of road. My gut tells me he'll get back up. But after a year of hunkering down like he did and touring backwards and forwards across this country with Counting Crows and advocating for other artists like he has, it's just sad to see him so beat down. And possibly, and probably the most painful thing is that I identify with what he's going through. He doesn't wanna be famous, I guarantee you that. He wants to earn an honest living and offer you something that really means something. And I'm telling you with all I have in my guts that he's good enough to do that if people would just slow down enough to appreciate the real arts as often as they do those shiny compressed missiles that dominate our "culture" these days. I've said my peace. Take a break Kasey, but don't let a broken heart kill what really matters regardless of the size of the fight."
Click here to read Kasey's original post.