Yesterday I had the opportunity to do one of my favorite things, sit in conversation with pastors and talk about how today’s rapidly changing world and shifting culture is affecting their ministry. We talked about that culture and how churches tend to respond.
The conversation turned for a while to the way that entertainment seems to drive many segments of the culture. We have become a people who expect to be entertained.
If we, as a culture, are driven by entertainment, that should bode well for performing musicians. However, the entertainment culture tends to work against folk and acoustic musicians, folks who stake out their territory with what I call “traditional music.”
Let’s face it; folk musicians aren’t real exciting. Consider the coverage that came out of Japan this week. So many people are still unaccounted for, but rescue workers are like acoustic musicians, just not very exciting. So instead of focusing our attention on the human story, we’re riveted to the potential danger of a damaged nuclear power plant. What my wife, a science teacher for almost 30 years, has said still holds true: The students’ interest in any experiment is exponentially related to the risk of the teacher dying.
So for entertainment, we seek acts and performers that are more outrageous, more off-the-hook, more over the top. And so Stefani Germanotta (see her on video), a talented musician and writer in her own right, becomes Lady Gaga.
We’ll never be very exciting, us folksinger, bluegrass picker, acoustic music types, but there are still lots of folks who enjoy, appreciate and want to hear live acoustic music. I’ll play for a few of them tonight at Muddy Boots Cafe in Nashville, Ind.