Tuck Tucker: Bluegrass on a Sunday Afternoon

What’s the best thing about living through The Great Recession?  My answer is free events at the local library.  You know that place where you can get books, movies, CDs and DVDs with just the swipe of a card that you don’t have to pay anything for.  Well, that is, unless you’re one of those people who always forget to return your items back before the due date.  So last Sunday, I visited the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach and caught a live performance featuring Bluegrass musician Tuck Tucker.

Alternating between two instruments; an acoustic guitar and another guitar that he laid flat on his lap and described as “the one with the hubcap on it,” Tuck Tucker delighted fans to original songs, covers of Folk and Americana standards, and tunes he played while a member of Harmony Grits and the Marshall Tucker Band.  The dobro he played (the guitar with the hubcap on it) produced sweet slide-guitar like melodies, stretching the notes like overalls on a clothesline left out to dry in a delta summer breeze.

Tucker’s songs were flooded with lyrics that told stories of  small town backdrops, where reality, myth, religion and legend all meet with the hopes of defining what it means to be human.  These songs were about homelessness, boys and girls coming of age, love, heart break, beseeching the Lord in times of need, and seeking out the Devil at the crossroads, guitar in hand…

Whether you call it Bluegrass, Americana, Roots, Folk or Blues, the common denominator is the narrative.  The lives of people told through song is the power of the music’s mystery.  Mostly, we tend to miss how unique the lives of other people are,  because we are so preoccupied with our own life, until, as we unfortunately learned last week through the tragedy of the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, something more important makes us take notice.  Music has the same ability to make us take notice.  And probably most appropriately now, in the wake of such sadness, music also has the ability to heal.  Tuck Tucker’s music, Bluegrass music, goes a long way in pointing us in that direction, by making humanity its central focus.

© 2012

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The Artists Guild Gallery

Last Thursday I was invited to attend an art reception at the Artists Guild Gallery in Delray Beach.  The intimate gallery featured a collection of mixed media works, photography, collages, ceramic statues and acrylic paintings to name a few.  The art work was judged in two categories based on adult and juvenile contestants, and one by one, once all the pieces were taken into consideration, the winners stepped forward to claim their prizes.  It was an inspirational moment, especially for a beginner artist like myself, to see artists who had poured their heart and soul into canvas be rewarded with the acclamation they so deserved.  Before too long, I felt the itch to dive into some paint with a brush and perhaps recreate the excitement I saw on their faces through my own attempt to be creative.

The people who came to view the art turned out to be just as interesting as the pieces up for judging, I soon found out.  Some of them dressed very fashionable, looked as if they could have been arriving at the gallery to pose for a portrait.  And as the accomplished artist who invited me to the reception poignantly pointed out, much of the beauty of an art reception lies in the people who attend and the conversations they have.  “After all,”  she said, “people are the ones who create the art.”  Listening to the people who took the time to come out and view the art revealed intimations about their lives, that when strewn together, amounted to an eclectic collage of differing experiences, triumphs, tragedies, love lost, hopes of finding new love, loss of loved ones, and plans to visit far away places.  All of which, good and bad, having the potential to produce the most wonderful art one could ever imagine.

And leave it to this wise accomplished artist who revealed this enigma to also point out that the punch bowl at the reception was just as artistic as the paintings on the wall.  Way to go Eva!

© 2012