Don’t let the title of the column fool you, because I’m sure that there must be a viable music scene happening somewhere in Arkansas — it just doesn’t happen to be anywhere near where my wife and I have chosen to live. Of course, the fact that I’m pretty much a homebody-slash-hermit and consider myself too old at 35 to be heading out and hunting the Little Rock bar scene to discover new music, could be the cause of this particular blind spot.
If I had to guess, the bar scene, especially those with room for a stage in one corner, is where a majority of Arkansas bands are living and breathing their dreams. As I’m a chubby self-conscious geek who doesn’t imbibe, however, it’s not a place I’m likely to go prowling anytime soon. That’s where MySpace comes in, luckily.
MySpace, with its ready-built systems that allow people to reach out and get to know other people, has become a vital means of unsigned and independent bands to spread the word and get their message and their music out into the world. In fact, MySpace’s built-in ability to upload music and the ability for it to be played by anyone who visits their page via a web-browser based media player is a phenomenal way to present their music to people who otherwise might never get a chance to hear it.
People like me, for instance.
Which brings us back to the title of this fledgling column. I’m hoping to use it to share my experiences of delving into Arkansas’s music scene with the odd one or two people who might accidentally read my ramblings here on BC Magazine — people who, like me, would have otherwise missed out.
Of course, I’m using the phrase “missed out” here, as I’ve already had a chance to talk to a few bands, have already received review copies of their albums, and have thus had the chance for my ears to rejoice and tell me that “yes!” Arkansas does indeed have a “Music Scene,” and a damned good one at that.
Nestled deep in the natural state are bands such as Starroy, who are a magnificently talented rock and roll/jam band from Jonesboro, or Deas Vail, a band from Russellville that plays some of the loveliest songs that I’ve heard in a long while, or…
Get the idea?
In a few days I’ll be putting up my review of Starroy’s album, entitled Ocho for Willow, and from there I’m hoping to have a band to feature per week. Eventually I might expand the focus in my musical MySpace journey to include bands from outside of the “Natural State,” but for the time being I’ll be discovering all the bands that Arkansas has to offer me, and then placing them here, to see if I can bring their music to the ears of other interested listeners.
Until then, I want to bring a little focus to the band that really germinated the idea to attempt such a column as this, and that would be The Harlequin’s Interlude. While I was still working as a reporter for the local newspaper. I interviewed the guys in the band, planning to end up with a front-page feature. Sadly, I never got the chance to write that story, as I ended up leaving the paper.
Eventually, as I felt riddled with guilt for not coming through on the story and thus depriving them of exposure I’m sure they could have used, I ended up taking a crack at finishing my story here on BC Magazine. I’ve learned a bit more about writing both interviews and reviews for consideration since then, so it may be a bit of clunky reading, but there isn’t anything clunky about the music that these guys make.
Anyway, here’s the article. Hopefully we’ll meet here again next week as we get to know Starroy together, and then again and again as I find my way through the Arkansas music scene. Until then…