The Columbus Agenda / Blog

Where do we go from here?

Sometimes, when I sit down behind my guitar, pen, or steering wheel, I find myself contemplating "What is there left to do in music?" or "Are we destined to just repeat and reitterate everything that's already been done?" Looking at the last century of music and trying to piece together all the relationships is a daunting task. Folk music came with the earliest settlers to this country as far back as the 1600's.

This developed into other regional sounds. The bluegrass of the Appalachia's, the blues of the Mississippi delta, the swing music of the West and the jazz that preceeded it. The country and western that was heavily entwined in all of that. The 20's brought us that jazz, mostly from musicians that were largely persecuted in this country but continued to grace us with their music anyway. The 30's saw an uptick in the folk music that made many relate to the feeling that someone else in some distant part of this country was going through the same hardships they were. The 40's were the introduction of what we now refer to as The Golden Oldies. Anyone want to take a stab at what I'm gonna mention about the 50's? And we all know what happened in the 60's with great names that are still a part of American culture, the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin; you get the idea.

So here we are in the 21st century. There's still a sector of my generation that wants to pretend Kurt Cobain is still alive and well and that we can somehow relive the music of the 90's. I go there from time to time myself but in no way want to revisit often. It has been said that the human condition tends to be nostalgic thirty years prior in their life. I'm only 32 as of writing this so I guess I'm just afflicted with the condition. Technology has taken over many facets of laborious tasks such as editing, mastering, even vocal performance with the infamous Auto Tune. However, there are still genuine musicians making real music without the assistance of technology. These will be the pioneers of the new American sound. Living in the age of globalism, though, it may be a collaboration on an already existing American sector of music with someone across the world. We did, after all, export the blues to the U.K. and that sound reached all the way across the world. Punk music came back our way and it is as popular in Japan today as it was in the States and England at it's inception.

Since music is a reflection of the consciousness of a culture, the pulse if you will, then what does being globally connected mean for the state of music. The Internet lets us connect, collaborate and combine ideas greater than ever before. Will we begin to hear more of these collaborations thereby eliminating the label of American music or have we homogenized music so much that it will just be an echo of the past? I look forward to your responses and input.