The worst year of my life, 2020, has passed, and I for one am grateful it is over and am looking forward to 2021. In recognition of the blues’ impact on music and cultural history both in America and around the world and in celebration of the 100th anniversary of W.C. Handy’s encounter with a musician playing in a Tutwiler Mississippi train station worrying his guitar, Handy called this music blues. The United States Congress missed the mark again and called 2003 the Year of the Blues. In my retrospect 2003 does not even come close to the Year of the Blues now that 2020 has reared its ugly head.
Music in 2020 suffered one of the worst years in modern times, musicians suddenly had no place to ply their trade that was safe for performers and fans alike. The entertainment industry was hit extremely hard. Musicians had no venues to work their magic, and what we forget, is that it meant no work for booking agents, managers, sound people, music writers, bartenders, wait people, advertisers and many more involved in the industry.
Just before this awful pandemic hit, I spent a few weeks learning bluegrass jamming in a class given by K.C. Groves; by the time the class was over, every place to jam was closed. In the summer and fall of 2019 I had monthly get- togethers with local friends, but that ended also due to the pandemic.
My girlfriend and I had dinner out on Valentine’s Day in 2020; then went into self-confinement. The only times I ventured out since then was to take her to the hospital or clinic as she got worse until she finally passed on December 30th to put an end to this horrible year.
I have now received two vaccinations, got a haircut for the first time in a year, and have a jam session planned shortly with fully vaccinated friends. Venues are starting to open; politics are starting to make a little sense again; and people are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
We tried many ways to continue our sandstone park series last summer, which is normally a big hit with Lyons families and music lovers, but at the last minute it was cancelled altogether due to safety concerns.
This year I have been in contact with the town, and we are going to try and somehow make it work this summer, safely and according to the science of what happens this spring. No promises but we want to make it work if we can. Keep your head up, your mask on and avoid crowds and help us all beat this pandemic and get back to playing music wherever we can, and being able to go back out to hear your favorites playing live.
……….David “Lyons Bluesologist” McIntyre