Social distancing, lockdown quarantine, all are words we knew were there, just didn’t have much chance to experience them directly. Now we do. But another term remains the same - new music that should not be missed. It seems that now, in these hard times is the additional chance to experience it. After all, we have more time to experience it and, of course, those piles of music we are not so familiar with have been getting bigger and bigger. Time to try and slim them down and pick some more good music that otherwise might go completely unnoticed.
As any holiday season approaches, the piles of music to listen to grow exponentially and so do the chances of some great music just slipping by for no other reason than there is too much of it. The first reaction of any music fan is to go for the music they are somehow familiar with, something they know they will love, like a lavish reissue of one of their favourites.
These days, with streaming, downloads, and all the available formats, new and old, it is quite easy for good music to fall under the radar. In that respect, it is an almost an even field, whether music is something you seriously follow or you are just a casual fan. It often happens that your pile of vinyl or CDs just grows, or those downloads and possible streaming links are overcrowding your computer.
If you’ve seen videos for Beck’s “Devil’s Haircut,” Madonna’s “Bedtime Stories,” and quite a few others, you’ve encountered the work of Ash. It is no easy feat establishing yourself in the highly competitive field of music videos, but Ash has done it.
Ben LaMar Gay has been a continuous presence on the Chicago music scene for years now, he is a member of the prominent AACM (The Association of the Advancement of Creative Musicians) and he has been collaborating with the likes of George Lewis, Theo Parrish, and Makaya McCraven. Still, until 2018 his solo recordings were barely to be heard.
Often, when an artist is coming up with music that is subtle, often gentle, and is not a widely established name, somehow he keeps slipping under the radar of the wider audience. Some do make it, others fall into the shadows, and those that do have an enduring quality eventually reach the ears of more than just a cult fan base, even after they stop playing or are sadly gone. Such was the case with the late, great British singer/songwriter Nick Drake, who has only in the last few decades gotten the wider recognition he should have garnered way back in the 70s when he was still among us.