Saturday, August 30, 2008

"Crossroads" and the Circle of Life

"Imitation is the highest form of flattery."
It is difficult to believe that YouTube started only about three years ago according to the WayBackMachine documentation/history. See here and here. I'm not sure we school people have come to terms with the revolutionary nature of this event. Now there is a proliferation of similar sites and the convergence of television and the internet seems to be very close. Sure there is plenty of distasteful stuff out there, but the power of this democratization of culture through this medium awes me. People who never have had a chance to strut their stuff now have a forum and, increasingly, in my humble opinion, we're seeing the power of it all.

I do understand that many schools block video sites, and I do understand their concern for protecting the young. I'm just not sure we are doing them a favor by failing to model and inculcate in them the ethics/etiquette involved in working in any forum. Are we teaching them about civility and how to think critically by simply ignoring and/or denying this powerful medium which just about anyone can access at home or, I imagine, most public libraries?

My nephew, Josh , a third year engineering student at UMO, posted a "cover" yesterday of a group he was singing and playing with at the Black Mountain Ski Area in Rumford. The song was "Crossroads" which was made popular by Cream and Eric Clapton back in the 60's. At least that is where I knew it from. However, Josh had connected with the tune with someone closer to his generation - John Mayer - who he can't seem to get enough of. And it turns out that it was actually written by Robert Johnson, a hero of Clapton. My point is that YouTube has the power to make all these connections at a gut level. The circle of life.

BTW, I subscribe to Josh's videos, so I instantly know when he has posted a new one. I can then give him feedback and encouragement. He loves it. Yes, the circle of life.

Josh and Band's Rendition:

Mayer and Clapton

Robert Johnson


Dave (Jim's said...

Hey Jim -

You're hipper than I thought. And you are spot on with this post.

My introduction to the "true" blues artists started with The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. If I dare date myself, this was back in the 33 1/3 days, when album art was prolific. I'd listen to the songs, read the album cover, then research who the guys were that wrote some of the songs... (e.g. Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Little Richard).

YouTunes makes the process a bit quicker, I think.

Many try to bash todays music. I see it as better than ever. A jambalaya, a cross-pollination of styles from around the planet. The skill levels keep increasing, as does the music.

Rock on, Josh.

seev said...

Right on, Josh, and Rock on!