I don’t know what it is that has brought me to this point. Maybe it’s something mentioned in passing in one of my recent artist interviews. It could be the recent staff changes at The Indie Handbook. But I think it’s something that has been building over the last year. When we were still working on the blog together, Kristin and I swore we would always stick to writing about the music we love. And though that may look different now than it did 18 months ago, I am more committed to that ideal than ever before.
I have a deep attachment to all the artists I write about, both as musicians and as people. More importantly, I am more closely connected to this music than I have been with any other. It is more important to me than even the songs I wrote in high school. It means the world to me because it is music made by my friends. And no, it’s true that I have never met the vast majority of the artists featured on this blog, but a handshake is a formality. We are all trying to bring something beautiful—something of intrinsic worth—into an ugly world, and we all rely on each other to make that happen. Is there any more solid foundation for friendship than that?
I think the turning point for me was in April 2009, when I received my first “thank you” email. We were averaging fewer than a dozen hits a day at the time. Our impact was less than negligible and yet, here was a band half-way round the world just thankful to be heard. And as we waited for our coffees in St. James’ Park, Laura Bettinson drove the point home: ‘if you don’t write about them, who will’? It’s a slow build and I suppose I’d win more points with people if I wrote about the bands they were already interested in reading about. But at this point, I don’t think I could ever do that knowing who I would be leaving behind.
This is the music I love, made by the people I love. It’s why my reviews are written the way they are. In the first interview I ever conducted, Shara Worden discussed how moving it is to think of the idea of musicians dedicating their lives to the creation of something beautiful. I’ve been a musician for as long as I can remember. And, in pouring years of my life and countless bits of myself into music-making, I have learned one thing above all else, if there is one thing in all the world that is deserving of my undivided attention, it is the music of another human being. It’s true that I’ve been told (by several close friends nonetheless) that they would prefer to read a brief account of what’s good and bad about an album, but I cannot bear the thought of it. It seems unjust to reduce several years of a person’s life to a list of pros and cons. After all, it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.