Spins on Music guest columnist Josh Rose has made peace with the Internet as a means of spreading his musical message and getting closer to fans. As he puts it, tweaking a Steve Earle line, “My Evolution … Starts Now.”
EDITOR’S NOTE:This Spins on Music guest column is one of a series of essays giving a voice to West Michigan musicians on topics dear to their hearts — assessing the music scene, in their own words.
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The Internet universe is where all good arguments go to die.
A sure way to accumulate a voluminous thread in your favorite social website, your blog, online whatever, is to throw out a remotely contentious statement like, “Michael Jordan is history’s greatest basketball player,” or “The Flat River Grill has the best sangria.” After you hit enter, you are likely to amass a thread that would rival the length of Rob Bliss’ slip ’n’ slide.
Facts, figures, testimony, quotes and data will be presented from a dazzling array of websites. Random people you haven’t seen in years will swan dive into the conversation. Countless man-hours will be spent in an effort to accurately describe the world’s best sangria, when in the end – when the allure of the thread dissipates – everyone will agree to disagree, leaving you to sip your adult Kool-Aid alone.
If you want a hard workout, you can always get exercise of the futile variety on the Internet.
And this doesn’t even include what will happen to hot-button posts that aren’t even up for debate, such as “Washington D.C. is so screwed up,” or “The Detroit Lions are the worst franchise ever.” It’s a divisive, argumentative ether-world where everyone digs in their heels and fights to the bitter end … of the post.
So, I used to believe that posting music on the Internet had no place for the true artist. For a younger Josh Rose, it was all about “the connection” and “the live experience” – forget all of that digital, virtual reality nonsense to which no real fan would ever resort. In my youthful ignorance, I thought that the Internet was the realm of the poser where music could never find a true home.
OLD MAN ROSE GETS A BREATH OF FRESH AIR
I was Old Man Rose in my buggy, circa 1995, shaking my fists mightily at all the horseless carriages going by.
I have evolved, my friends. Music is a breath of pristine mountain air on the Internet. It has a space. It fills in the gaps between the R vs. D/Red vs. Blue/Hugs vs. Guns divide and it just beckons you to become engaged.
When my music enters this alternate universe of dog–eat-dog posts, duke-it-out blogs and shut-the-hell-up feeds, it amazingly, glorifyingly produces no division. It’s all about the love, baby. People who don’t get a chance to see me, for whatever reason, can catch a highlight. I can catch some of my friends, who travel or play the same nights I do. Fans find out about shows. Music on the Internet is no futile endeavor.
How can it not feel amazing to an artist when a very distant, childhood friend posts something like this – “Josh: Even if I didn’t know you, I would STILL love it. Beautiful, rich & full” – online? How can anyone say that this effect wasn’t real? Virtual or in person, comments like that keep me going in this godforsaken business model.
As I get older, and thank God, less headstrong, I tend to err toward the side of harmony. I don’t mean that everyone has to post ego-inflating comments and flattery about my tunes. Hell, I welcome any critique. But when you observe the way people respond, it feels empowering to the artist: You are moving people (no matter if they’re in the room with you) and your music is not just going to drown quietly in some corner of a freaking-loud watering hole downtown.
My music is blooming on the Internet and it is as refreshing as watching the ratings of “American Idol” slide off the precipice. I hope you find a musical space in the fuzz as well.
About Josh Rose: With two albums – “Slow Bloom” and “firework letdown” – under his belt, singer-songwriter Josh Rose creates the sort of heartfelt, insightful music that sticks with listeners for a long time. Rose, who’s married and has a daughter, has performed his songs in eight states while working as a high school chemistry teacher in Lake Odessa. He’s also passionate about reading, running, writing, basketball, gardening, fly-fishing, regular fishin’, camping, canoeing, hiking, and cooking, and “probably needs to eliminate at least two of those aforementioned hobbies if he wants to maintain sanity.” Learn more about him at his ReverbNation site.
Josh Rose in concert:
March 30 – BARE: An Evening of A Capella, Halfway House/Stone House Recording, Grand Rapids
April 4 – Local Spins Live (with The Koh Kohs), One Trick Pony, Grand Rapids
April 15 – Boston Marathon, Boston (Rose says this is “just for fun.”)
Copyright 2013, Spins on Music