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.