Every kid who dares to dream of one day being a star,
Never stifle such a wish, if anything raise the bar
It’s therapy, it’s stress relief, it’s all these things and more
So come on kid and play a song to make this hippy smile
– Just Me and My Guitar, The Boondock Hippy
Music has always been a big part of my life. It has accompanied me through both good and bad times. I reference all my memories to what I was listening to at the time. Music has great power which is often diminished, filtered, and distilled through its dissemination to the public. In late 2012 I was feeling the effects of consuming distilled music. I’d hear a new artist or song, immediately gravitate toward it, only to find on closer inspection what I was drawn to was a veneer rather than a deep and meaningful art.
I had a reference point. Twice before in my life I’d had what I term an authentic musical experience. It is that feeling you get when you hear a song for the first time and you know it is the key that opens a door to a whole new world. I experienced this when I was sixteen. While working as a commercial fisherman for the summer, I bought a CD of Pink Floyd‘s Dark Side of the Moon. I heard that first distinctive pulse in the middle of the night, laying in the bunk of a fishing boat as we tossed around in the Atlantic Ocean. That feeling cannot be described. This began a love affair with the work of Pink Floyd which remains today. Years later, I was a student of mathematics. For months I had been working to prove a theorem. Late one night I was sitting on the edge of the bath tub with pencil and paper. This was the only room I could work in with light as my wife and I lived in a small one room flat; it was long past her bed time. I had the radio on. At the instant I became aware I had proved my theorem, The Verve‘s Bittersweet Symphony came on. The combination of academic euphoria and the song combined. I was blown away. To this day, after every major achievement in my life, The Verve is there to congratulate me and take me away.
In late 2012 it had been many years since I’d had one of these experiences. My old friends Pink Floyd and The Verve were still there, but I wanted something new. It was quite by chance one day that I happened to see a tweet mentioning an artist called The Boondock Hippy. Generally, I’d not have passed this a second glance. But, for whatever reason, I followed a trail of links leading me to SoundCloud. At random, I selected the song Old Man Murphy. The title appealed to me simply because I love Neil Young‘s Old Man. With my mind unconsciously primed to hear something as great as Neil Young, I clicked play. A key turned in my mind. A door to a whole new world of music was opened up. Old Man Murphy played over the small speakers in my phone. The pin pricks of light let through as the door slowly creaked blinded me with that authentic musical experience I so longed for.
Staring at the brilliant light of this new world, I wanted more. I wanted to peek inside and see what fantastic landscape lay before me. I had the tools to open the door. I did not know how to use them. This new world, it seemed, was opened very easily through social media. Personally, I was inept at using such tools. At heart, I am a relatively anti-social family man and academic. I rarely venture outside my comfort zone and elicit social interactions. But I had a driving force now. I wanted to see more of this new world. I wanted to hear more. I wanted in.
Using my twitter account I began to follow the white rabbit. I scoured the follow lists of any new artist I came across. I added and added. I listened. The door opened a little more and I was able to stick my head through.
Before me, I saw a vast and pristine landscape painted by the finest artists. To my right, lush green trees blew in the wind; they sung the songs of a forest of folk artists. The Boondock Hippy played Just Me and My Guitar. I took in the sights and I took in the sounds. The sun was just coming up over this whole new land. It was a bright shining orb of countless colours scattered over the landscape. It was the home of the psychedelic artists. Shining brightly at the centre was Psyence. But, this is best left for another day.
This series of articles aims to highlight the deep and meaningful personal experiences that artists give fans such as myself. The artist creates, but this is ultimately absorbed by those of us on the other side of the creative spectrum. Through this series, I hope to highlight the artistry of many of the unsigned bands I currently listen to. These are artists uninhibited by larger business and free to create. The result is a pure form of expression. Through my experience, I’ve found that its effect as un-distilled art is far greater than anything touched on in the mainstream. But, these are just my thoughts. Preferences and differences are what makes us unique.
The Boondock Hippy – Old Man Murphy
The Boondock Hippy – Just Me and My Guitar