With any luck at all, this is the last article you’ll read from me with anything that remotely sounds like “due to the pandemic.” Spring is whispering softly in our ears that it’s almost time, and with the sunshine and warm weather, new hope is springing up. I don’t know about you, but I am here for it.
As I write this, it’s early March, and it’s been almost exactly a year since the world went into lockdown and live music everywhere came screeching to a halt. It started with festivals and day by day slowly trickled down to smaller and smaller venues until there was nothing. Musicians who didn’t have day jobs were sent scrambling to find support or income from somewhere, and those of us who did have day jobs that weren’t impacted significantly were thanking the heavens for it.
Just over a year ago, the music scene was looking hopeful. On the Blue Mile, Gnats was still bringing in regular bands for dancing and even had karaoke. Nonna Picci was offering music earlier in the week, and the Blue Room was setting the standard for the college music scene. I wrote of my hope for the new downtown music scene. Bull & Barrel and Tandoor & Tap were set to open soon, joining Eagle Creek Brewery and Sugar Magnolia.
Suddenly, it all came screeching to a halt.
But here we are a year later, and the dusting of pollen, like a sprinkling of faerie dust, brings the hope of a magical return to some sense of normalcy. There is new life.
Stalwart in their commitment to bring relief from the monotony to their customers, Sugar Magnolia has been offering live music on Wednesday nights since the fall, but they have been one of very few spots to catch a live act. But this month, my hope is renewed that the “Eagles’ Flight” might actually become a possibility.
“I can see it now. Hungry and thirsty patrons making their way from Sugar Magnolia to the Brewery to T&T to B&B. Window shopping and greeting friends along the way from one great venue to the next as music follows them from one spot and greets them as they enter the next.” (February 2020)
Now, at long last, the dream may be reality. Recently, I’ve spoken with the managers of all of these restaurants who are excited that, very soon, they will begin to host live music. Tandoor & Tap is hoping to soon have music on their covered deck. Eagle Creek had yours truly on St. Patrick’s Day as a sort of test run and kick-off to bringing acts to their fantastic stage again. Sugar Mag is still offering solo and duos on Wednesdays, and there are whispers in the wind of something special on West Main at Bull & Barrel.
Even more exciting is the news I’m beginning to hear of new voices joining the scene. A few solo acts are popping up at coffee shops and smaller venues, and this could mean something exciting for us, too. New collaborations, new original music, new faces, new ideas...the possibilities make this chick giddy.
If you’re anything like me, the state of things for the last year has done nothing if not strengthen my resolve to support the local music scene even more because I am so grateful to be able to get out and experience good food, great music, and time with friends. We will still be a little cautious — fist bumps over hugs and such — but it feels like there is a reawakening on the horizon. It’s up to us to help kindle the embers and get this fire burning. So, in the coming months, get out there and let these places know you’re here for them and the music! And I’ll see you there.