Archive for September, 2007


So I tend to play at bars and cafes. Not only do I often feel a bit isolated as an instrumental musician (a rare breed in my circle), but I also feel pigeon-holed by the instrument I play my music on. The whole youtube thing made me realize just how seriously most people mis-understand what it is that I’m doing. Before people even take the time to listen, I’m clumped into a genre of fat old white men that play Acoustic-Guitar-Music. I got some pretty heavy criticism for not living up to my presumed “influences”, namely Andy McKee. (Ironically, I’ve never heard a single song by Andy McKee. But he seems to be very much of that fat old white Acoustic-Guitar-Music genre.)

Granted, there are definitely some people that do get it (namely all of you reading this, I imagine). But people are surprisingly quick to close their ears to something they’re not used to, or something that doesn’t fit requirements they impose on music. As someone who’s trying really hard to make stuff that sounds like Jacob-Wolkenhauer-Music, and is getting heard as Acoustic-Guitar-Music, that’s obviously no good. The “youtube effect” will be really apparent when my album comes out… I’m going to try my best to sound like Jacob-Wolkenhauer-Music, so that people don’t immediately think Acoustic-Guitar-Music and try to lump me in together with old fat guys playing in a long canon of music that in no way includes me.

But I stumbled across this old quote in the liner of Ani DiFranco’s first album:

“i speak without reservation from what i know and who i am. i do so with the understanding that all people should have the right to offer their voice to the chorus whether the result is harmony or dissonance, the worldsong is a colorless dirge without the differences that distinguish us, and it is that difference which should be celebrated not condemned. should any part of my music offend you, please do not close your ears to it. just take what you can use and go on.”

Whoa. Someone who is so powerful an artist and such a symbol in the indie / DIY circuit, someone who actually inspired me to learn guitar, someone who has touched so many lives with her songwriting… this person had to make a disclaimer that I’ve been wanting to make for a long time. That quote lifts me up and makes me feel immensely better. Not to be so audacious as to compare myself to her, but when she was playing bars and cafes doing something new and different, she was meeting that same kind of automatic/closed-minded resistance. She worked past it and turned out alright. Puts a little perspective on my own sense of being mis-understood, and encourages me to just keep plodding on. Maybe even without a disclaimer. =)

Thanks for reading and listening, y’all.

By Jacob Wolkenhauer in Ideas  .::. (Add your comment)

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