Don't Say No To The Muse: Side Hustles, Part Two

Let’s say you want to be a musician. The music bug bit you, and you just can’t resist the urge to pick up an instrument, maybe keep a notebook handy at all times to write down ideas and lyrics. You start recording pieces of melodies and sing them to your phone before the ideas evaporate. Maybe it was because you saw that performance where the light bulb went off over your head, or you heard a song in a movie soundtrack that moved you, or you got on stage and felt more alive than anywhere else. However it happened, you are soon wood shedding and finding like minds to play with and then finding an audience to play to. The muse serves up a sweet elixir, and you may be forever under its spell.

The Deer, from Austin, Texas, perform in Greer, SC 4-13-19. Photo: John Gillespie

The Deer, from Austin, Texas, perform in Greer, SC 4-13-19. Photo: John Gillespie

Our guests on this podcast are firmly in that camp, but there are also plenty of musicians who have dropped out. Some came back, too. In our first episode on Side Hustles, there were a lot of examples of why music artists would want to quit making music, at least as a primary means of making a living. Making money by making music is harder than ever, it seems, unless you are at the very top of the heap. The pitfalls for professional musicians seem to have no end. But, there is no shortage of people making music, and plenty who stay with it through thick and thin. I hinted at why that’s the case in our first episode, but never spelled it out. If you haven’t deciphered the clues yet, stick around and it will come together by the end of the episode. Along the way, you’ll hear from Dangermuffin, Joey Burns of Calexico, The Deer, Max Brown and Phil Bronstein from The War and Treaty, and Dan Fedoryka from Scythian, along with a lot of their music, too.

Thanks for visiting! Please support the music of the artists you enjoy hearing here, and I hope you will spread awareness about this independent project and consider helping by subscribing, rating and commenting on the show where you get your podcasts, and by becoming a patron. You can find out about contributing on our Patreon page, linked in the column to the right. To correspond, shoot me an email and I will be glad to get back to you from southernsongsandstories@gmail.com.  This series is available on most every podcast platform, as well as on Bluegrass Planet Radio. This is Southern Songs and Stories: the music of the South and the artists who make it. - Joe Kendrick

Side Hustles, part one: For Musicians, The Gig Economy Is Nothing New

It is a common fantasy to dream about being on stage, playing music in front of adoring fans, making meaningful art, traveling around the world, and getting fat paychecks along the way. People often think that being in a band means you get “money for nothin' and your chicks for free”, like the Dire Straits song says. But talk to musicians and artists and you quickly find out that this is, and never was, the case. Their stories paint a completely different picture than what we likely had in mind. Maybe you are like me, and you know a bit about how hard it is to make it in the arts world. I have been around musicians for decades, and thought I knew a lot about what they deal with on a day to day basis, but after preparing for and talking with artists in this episode, my eyes were opened even wider than before.

Mike Sivilli (left) and Dan Lotti (right) of Dangermuffin interviewed in the Nap Shack at the Albino Skunk Festival, April 11 2019

Mike Sivilli (left) and Dan Lotti (right) of Dangermuffin interviewed in the Nap Shack at the Albino Skunk Festival, April 11 2019

In this podcast, the first of a two part series, we hear from bands and music artists about how they keep their heads above water, and how they find balance in this upside down equation. And we get at some of the larger questions involved, like why they often are not paid the equivalent of minimum wage. As always, there is lots of music along the way, including songs from our guests Dangermuffin (an acoustic cover of the Phish song “Back On The Train'“), Elizabeth Cook, Brian Swenk, David Ball and Warren Hood.

Elizabeth Cook performs on the Americana Stage at MerleFest 4-26-19. Photo: Ken Banks

Elizabeth Cook performs on the Americana Stage at MerleFest 4-26-19. Photo: Ken Banks

I’m pretty sure you love music, so please support the music of the artists you enjoy hearing here. Would you help spread the word about this independent project? The easiest way to help is by subscribing, rating and commenting on the show where you get your podcasts. Becoming a patron is even better. You can find out more on our Patreon page here. -- and you can keep up with us on our Facebook page, on twitter and Instagram, all linked in the banner at the top of the page. Send me an email, and I will be glad to get back to you from southernsongsandstories@gmail.com.  This series is available on most every podcast platform, as well as on Bluegrass Planet Radio. Stay tuned for part two of this episode, which will feature conversations and music from The Deer, members of the band The War and Treaty, and Dan Fedoryka from Scythian. Thanks for listening! - Joe Kendrick