This concert idea organically grew from a number of inspirations, mainly from my own experiences as an aspiring musician living with a physical disability and frequently struggling in an industry that is largely inaccessible. Just take a ride through the city of Austin, the live music capital of the world, and count the number of wheelchair-accessible stages. You would be hard-pressed to find more than a handful, and those you would find would be stages designed primarily for other mediums (think school theaters), or they may not be stages at all (bookstores) – certainly not where average Austinites typically gather for live music.
Even if the venue is accessible, shows are often so late that those of us who require attendant care or a full night of sleep to physically function simply cannot attend or perform with the regularity needed to truly progress. And beyond the mere inaccessibility, the music industry is so frequently centered around a singular ideal body image and flashy displays of vocal range and instrument prowess (can you tell I listen to punk rock much?) that someone who plays with extreme physical limitations must work twice or three times as hard to compete.
For these reasons and others, I have long wanted to bring opportunities to musicians with disabilities, not just to benefit myself but others like me, because I have recognized through my work with VSA Texas in addition to my own experience that I'm not the only one who has this dream to share music with my community. So when Andrew Murphy from the APL attended our Lion and Pirate open mic at Malvern Books and mentioned that maybe I could play a song or two at the library, I jumped at the chance to share my own music and also include peers and friends I have gotten to know through our open mic and other VSA Texas programs.
All right, enough about me! Let me tell you about the musicians you can look forward to seeing tomorrow:
Michael Noriega will open the show, and he is a versatile artist who dabbles not only in music but also in film. He participated in our 2015 Side by Side Film Internship, and his recent '60s- and '70s- inspired concept album was featured in our 2016 Holiday Art and Gift Show. You can stream his album and check out some of his film work on Michael Noriega's YouTube channel here.
|Michael Noriega playing at our Holiday Art and Gift Show (courtesy of VSA Texas)|
|Meredith Gaines, Michael Tidmore, and I on the air at KOOP radio (courtesy of Austin Artists)|
Then, last but hopefully not least, Dude Choir, my own group of rotating musical characters, will play, and I am extremely happy to once again be playing with the original choir members Ryan Simmons and Felipe Archer! They not only make my music possible; they are the reason I make music. We haven't had the opportunity to play together since April of 2014, so I look forward to this reunion and I hope you will too.
For more information about the show and/or to RSVP (if you're into that sort of thing), you can visit our Library Live Facebook event page here. Otherwise, we'll see you there!
|Flyer for Library Live show, January 28th, 2017, 2 PM, at the Carver Branch (courtesy of Austin Public Library)|