The Cedars: April 3, 2015
“But the one I love is the divine, and the simple prop is the song…”
Seniors are an ever more influential market demographic. In addition to traditional life demands such as food, shelter and clothing seniors bring to market an increased need for things therapeutic.
Suppliers of countless goods and services profitably respond to the reduced mobility of seniors and their trend towards community housing by making their goods and services more accessible. Accessibility is lucrative in the aging marketplace.
But our popular musicians don’t seem to be much interested in professionally making music more accessible to seniors. I’ve known this for the past dozen or more years, but recently I’m realizing how deep and broad the taboo runs.
It’s not just musicians – the media supports this notion, as do many senior facilities. It’s held that musicians should volunteer – they should not find profitable ways to include seniors in their performance schedules. This is due to the unexamined idea that the seniors or the facility will have to buy tickets. That’s silly.
Sponsorship foots most of the bill for just about every bit of entertainment in America. And I have successfully demonstrated for 17 years that business sponsors will enthusiastically support entrepreneurial musicians who carry their marketing message to seniors, the generations they influence, and their caretakers in such a unique, dynamic fashion. And musicians like R.E.M., Billy Joel and Dolly Parton will provide in-kind support, and patrons will step up.
I’ve also refused for twenty years to acknowledge the popular stereotype that old people are musically stuck in the past. So today’s set list looked a lot like this…
Country Feedback (REM)
Let Me In (REM)
Walk Away Renee (Left Banke)
Perfection of Mays (Tom Proutt)
Hello (L. Richie)
…and this triggered a request for another love song, by a gentleman who has a new love, and I said “Okay, wait until the end.” And I went on with…
Turn the Page (Bob Seger, by request)
As I got to the second verse of that last song, about the “same old clichés, is that a woman or a man?”, I had these glimpses of frightened people in places like Indiana muttering their trendy version of that same old cliché today. I hope I’m wrong. But just in case, I played…
Hallelujah (L. Cohen)
…and then I began to strum the final song and I said “I want to make sure you understand, because people think this is a breakup song, and people think when it says “a simple prop to occupy my time” that he means the one he used to love, and that sounds awful.”
Everyone agreed. I went on.
“But the one I love is the divine, and the simple prop is the song…” and their eyes began to light; heads nodded and knowing smiles agreed with the analysis “…because that is what he does with his time, is writes songs to the one he loves – while he is here – separated from the one he loves. And so when another prop comes along, that’s just another love song to the divine.” I made that up but I like it, and they applauded, and I closed with a particularly fiery rendition of…
The One I Love (REM)
Seniors are artistically worthy. Musicians need to get with the times and make music more accessible to them, for profit. It’s easy and lucrative, and music will reduce their need for doctors and drugs. Stop feigning charity, because the result is that they are ignored totally and we end up with today’s paradox: Audiences starved for music by self-proclaimed starving artists.