I Have Seen Firsthand The Power Of Music
A Thanksgiving Editorial By “Ragin'” Randy Harris
As Thanksgiving approaches, many of us begin to think about what and who we are thankful for in our lives. The personal part of me gives thanks to my family. I was very fortunate to grow up in a family that loved me no matter what stupid and horrible choices I made in my adolescence. I have a wonderful wife and an adorable dog, and we live together in a cute one-bedroom apartment in Baltimore. We both have jobs that we love and keep ourselves busy with activity. I have made friends with some of the most amazing people in the world, and my web of friends stretches across the entire United States and beyond. For all of this, I am eternally grateful, and I will never forget how lucky I am to have the life that I do.
The musical part of me gives thanks for an entirely different reason. While it comes with its own set of difficulties, we live in an incredible age of music. Growing up, I always liked classic rock, and I always used to say that I was born in the wrong era. I wished every day that I had been able to experience the 1960s and 1970s, and I was convinced that there was no good music made after 1990. As I got older, I began to open my mind to other genres. I am now almost 29 years old, and my musical tastes range from rock to bluegrass to electronic to jazz to blues to folk and almost everything under the sun. Along with my musical exploration, technology has grown and expanded exponentially, which has made music, both live and recorded, more accessible than ever before. From a music business standpoint, the current age we find ourselves in comes with a new set of problems that were nonexistent in past decades. The artists who succeed, however, have learned to adapt to new models and have found new ways to sustain themselves so that they can do what they love. As a consumer, I now feel that I was born into the perfect era of music. Any day of the week, I can find a show to go to that I will enjoy. Any day of the week, I can go online and find a new band or artist or song that I have never heard before. There have always been great musicians in the world who were never recognized for their talents because they didn’t have access to record companies which held all of the power. While that is still true today, we have many more resources available to us, both as musicians and consumers, to reach those artists who are not signed to record deals. Growing up, I never thought I would feel this way, but I am grateful to live in, and be a part of, such an amazing, thriving music scene as the one that we live in today.
It was just over three years ago that my first ever review was published. Since that time, I have done so much more than I ever dreamed that I could in the world of music. I have rested my arms on the stage while taking photos of some of my favorite musicians. I have met some of the greatest musicians in the world, most of them local musicians, and been accepted graciously into their communities. I have seen artists on a stage bring entire venues, big and small, to their feet, lifting their crowds into new dimensions of bliss. I have seen people, ordinary people just like you and me, dance their troubles away and forget about everything else going on in the world while their favorite artists lead them on a journey of the senses. I have seen those same people become a part of something bigger than a concert, bigger than themselves. I have also had the pleasure of working with some of my favorite local and regional bands. Not only have I seen them play, but I have been able to provide them with support. I have been able to provide an avenue for artists to be seen and heard who may otherwise not have been. Jack Black, as Dewey Finn in School of Rock, once said, “One great rock show can change the world.” I have seen a lot of shows in the last three years and beyond, and I have seen many people’s worlds changed in that time.
I have seen firsthand the power of music. I have seen concert attendees crying because their favorite song was played. I have seen benefit concerts that raise funds and awareness for causes that could change the world; causes that hit close to home for the artists and attendees alike. I have seen local and national musicians teaming up with activist groups to bring something extra to their community besides just playing music (as if that wasn’t enough). I have seen firsthand the power of music, and I am proud to do what I do to support today’s music scene.
For everything that I have discussed thus far, I owe a large debt of gratitude to many different people around me who have allowed me to thrive in a field that I love. First and foremost, I would never have gotten my start if it wasn’t for Kevin Long and Sammy Martin with Grateful Music. They published my first review ever, and they saw something in my writing that made them continue to ask for my participation on their site. I immediately felt welcomed into the Grateful Music family, and I have never left! Second, I would like to thank Andrew McConnell, owner and operator of Live Music Daily. I still to this day do not know how he found me, but one day, out of nowhere, he reached out to me and asked me to write for his site. At the time, he had around 8,000 followers. I have been extremely proud to contribute to Live Music Daily over the past two and a half years, and I have watched this site grow to over 35,000 followers. Next, I must give a HUGE thank you to Agori Tribe, my brothers. These guys gave me my first shot at booking and management, and I have learned countless invaluable lessons about the music industry through my time working with them. It has been a pleasure to help them grow, and we are just getting started! I would also like to give a big thank you to John Church and Dave Adams of Heady Entertainment for welcoming me into their family without question when I moved to the Mid-Atlantic. It is because of these guys that I have been able to become involved with some of the most amazing people. I could not have had the confidence to be successful in building a following in a new region of the country without them. Finally, I would like to give thanks to the following people for a variety of different reasons: Chason Heins, Turk Gaines, Olivia Flocco, Jake Broughton, Erik Bennett, Brent Logan, Skinny McCabe, Mac Schmitz, Bret Peretz, Jordan Kirkland, Chris Conrad, Gable Larramore, Richard “Dick” Long, Ryan Long, Zak Baker, Aaron Heinen, Elise Olmstead, Jordan August, Marc Shapiro, Kevin Schwartz, Asa Kurland, Christina Alicia, Abigail Janssens, Tyler Facinoli, Rachel Ann Morgan, Brendan Sullivan, Will Nicholls, Sean Naughton, David Collins, Dave Hash, Jeff Naylor, Brady Cooling, Max Victory, Jenn Dolle, Jeffrey Rexrode, Erin Linehan, Ed Smith, Rich Barnstein, LITZ, Bunk Buddha, Jon Brady, Alex Lang, Jon Wood, Evan Lintz, Deaf Scene, Mike O’Brien, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong and Conan Robinson. You guys’ love and support has kept pushing me to thrive.
Wishing all of you a Happy Thanksgiving full of love and happiness! And for those about to rock… we salute you!
“God of Rock, thank you for this chance to kick ass. We are your humble servants. Please give us the power to blow people’s minds with our high voltage rock. In your name we pray, Amen.” – Dewey Finn (Jack Black)