Last Spring, the unexpected happened in California, as it had already happened in other places around the world. A little virus critter (i.e., Corona virus/ COVID-19) arrived and the pandemic became real in my own neck of the woods. As a result, folks around the world have been living off and on in quarantine (aka sheltered in place). Worse yet, at the time of this blog article being written in mid-August, there have been close to 20 million cases and close to 800 thousand deaths worldwide, due to the virus. For more information, click here.


The Year Live Music Changed

Sadly, for working musicians and music lovers, live music events were cancelled, music venues were closed, and a lot of musicians have been out of work and unable to play gigs in front of a live audience. Meanwhile, a number of musicians and bands have been sharing and posting original and parody songs online via YouTube, Facebook, etc. out of their need to play, connect with others, and creatively express their passion and joy for life. Some musical artists are even posting new music on their websites and providing musical experiences and events for their fans by livestreaming.

Tribe of Humans

With all that bursting of online music, I wanted to share some of the songs I’ve enjoyed while having my own experience of being sheltered in place. I’m grateful to know that the human spirit has the ability to adapt and, as tribal beings, we always find ways to connect, even when we can’t gather together in person. Enjoy the following cross-section of virtual connection from different artists.

Just Like You

I really appreciated this tune by Keb Mo and his simple response to a difficult situation. There’s something comforting about sitting with another person in their living room (even virtually) and having them sing an encouraging song. Here’s what Keb had to say on his YouTube channel.

“There’s always good stuff and bad stuff going on. I like the good stuff… and out of the bad stuff there’s always something that happens that makes us all better” -Keb Mo-

Finding Your Inner Light

I shared this next song in late March with a number of friends and family via email. It’s a classic tune written by George Harrison and sung by his son, Dhani. I think George would be proud! I found it meditative, yet cool, with a nice trick of singing acapella accompanied by a Tibetan singing bowl. During this time of social distancing and the isolation that follows, it’s essential to practice ways of connecting with my own being and Inner Light. And, I think it’s just as important to share that Light with others around me.

“Without going out of my door, I can know all things of Earth
Without looking out of my window, I could know the ways of Heaven
The farther one travels, the less one knows, the less one really knows…” -George Harrison-

The Singing Bureau Chief

For the next song, I chose to go further afield on the planet to show the global nature of what we’re all dealing with. A News Bureau Chief in Canberra, by the name of Joe Kelly, says the song he penned about the coronavirus pandemic attempts to recreate a sense of the times Australians are living through. I was moved by the visual of one person sitting at a piano and sharing his thoughts and feelings about the COVID-19 experience. Of course, it helps that the video is well executed with the stark metaphor of life in black and white.

We Gotta’ Get Out of This Place

Next up, in one of my numerous online musical jaunts, I found this tune written by Bono of U2 which he posted on YouTube on St. Patrick’s Day. He was inspired by how the Italians have dealt with being quarantined in place by playing music and singing for themselves and each other on their balconies. I like this one because it captures the restlessness that folks have been feeling around being cooped up at home and not being able to get out and socialize. Also, it’s an example of how many musicians around the planet are working together and connecting from where they live by putting technology to a good use.

Doing a Good Job

While gold mining for relevant songs, I discovered this tune by Alicia Keys and really connected with the message of it. In this one, she acknowledges and appreciates all the front line workers (doctors, nurses, teachers, food service workers, garbage collectors, public safety folks, volunteers) who have been practicing the principle of “giveaway” during this
COVID-19 season. And, I think the images in the video really capture the spirit of urban America, as an example of what’s happening around the planet in response to these strange times.

Life in Music Quarantine

In early May, a friend emailed me and wrote, “Hope you’re doing well.” I sent the following response, “Moi? I’m o.k., actually. Thank you for asking. So far, in quarantine, I’ve written two new songs (one of them is COVID-19 Blues), videotaped my first two music videos at home using my tablet, participated in my first virtual open mic , and am in the slow process of creating a home recording studio. Wow, I’ve been busy!”  😉

I Got Those Old COVID-19 Blues! (and that ain’t good)

Regarding the virtual open mic, I participated in my first Facebook Live experience in late April by having my on-camera rendition of an original tune, COVID-19 Blues, included with musical performances by other local singer-musicians. The event was hosted by Reset, a coffee/wine & beer bar in Oldtown Folsom and the folks that tuned in to listen generously contributed over $300 in the virtual tip jar. I give a tip of my gratitude hat to Reset’s proprietor, John Voelz, who kindly gave half of the tip jar funds to a local music education non-profit and split the other half amongst the performers. And, to top it off, our two grandkids listened in to the event with Mom and Dad and commented: “Grandpa Marshal, we watched your video and we liked it!” To hear me sing that open mic tune, watch this video.