what makes talent emerge? i know an awful lot of talented people. mostly actors, some writers, some photographers, and a singer or two. i’ll even include myself in that pack of folks. so many of us, however, are not realizing our abilities. or have had life thrown at us in such a way…(OK, or: made certain life choices for ourselves)…that it’s really difficult to let ourselves shine. are there degrees of talent? and is it possible to have such a high degree of talent that it’s impossible to hold it back? god, it must be. those few folks i know who are bursting with artistic life haven’t let any life things get in their way (in a good way, not like those crazy celeb types who are so single-minded and self-involved that they can’t even handle their own laundry, let alone friendships or marriage). they just have to let it out. they’re like some science experiment in art: they’ll explode without the release. and one in a while, we get the privilege of witnessing (or causing!) that chemical reaction.
and, baby, i got to witness but good last night. went down (down, down, way down) to joe’s pub and had my annual peter mulvey fix. now, i’ve been watching peter play live since the year 2000. i got taken to see him, this guy and his guitar whom i had never heard of, in waitsfield, vermont, and was just taken. do you know what i’m saying? as a performer, i’m pretty tuned in to when the whole thing just works. when it’s automatic and nobody’s thinkin’ (audience or artist) and it all flows back and forth and it’s magic. that night in waitsfield it was just that. and last night in downtown manhattan, it was again. this guy can’t hold it in. the guitar is so damn good – it sounded like there were three of them up there, the sound was so full. shoot, i could sit here and gush, but that’s not really my point. just thank the goddess there are people like peter who can’t hold it in and who share it with us. ’cause his life isn’t a piece of cake, i suspect: on the road i’ll guess at least two-thirds of the year, away from family; making whatever joe’s pub and like venues pay, which i suspect is not a rolling fortune…it’s probably fun most of the time, but it ain’t easy. but he does it anyway, i suspect because he really has to.
so run, don’t walk, my friends, to witness what moves you. let those chemicals you feel floating in the air around you sink into whatever it is that’s in your cup and drink them down. though it’s hard for lapsed artists to do sometimes, it’s as wonderful to receive as it is to give. you’re still part of the equation.
this is peter’s latest record: go buy it.