For months, I was planning an announcement. Life factors were creating a burnout of sorts, which caused a dramatic reduction in posts, radio shows, and GOBL events. Even my plans for the 5th Annual Ghosty Awards did not come to fruition. I felt it was time retire as The Ghost. I was working on one last showcase to end my time as The Ghost with a bang.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic began.
It seems a lifetime ago since Austin announced the cancellation of SXSW. That was only the first domino in a chain that seems to be rapidly collapsing. First came the cancellation of shows in large venues, and then just about every venue (large or small) has been closed for the foreseeable future. The cancellation of venues has been a major nuisance for bands trying to get their names out. For those whose sole source of income is music, the financial effects are real and devastating. On top of that, a large number of musicians rely on the service industry for their primary source of income. While I am not aware of any cases of COVID-19 within the local music community, the financial impact of the virus has spread rapidly to musicians, club owners, sound engineers, and everyone that brings life into the music.
I am fortunate in that I have a full-time job that I can continue to work at and earn money. I will even have the privilege of working from home for the overwhelming majority of my time. My greatest worry is not for myself, but for my 80-year old mother who lives with me. She is diabetic and has asthma, making her a prime example of what it means to be part of a high-risk group. Needless to say, my health concerns for her impacted my willingness to attend shows in recent weeks.
While I have chosen to self-quarantine as much as possible, it hurts me to hear the struggles that many of you are facing right now and continue to face. It made me reconsider this decision of retirement. I cannot say for certain that I will not still opt to end the GOBL blog in the end. The only thing I know is that the COVID-19 has made me feel like I have to try to do something to help. To help the musicians. To help those who work in the venues that have been shut down. To help the local music fans that may be feeling isolated from the community during this time of social distancing. To help all of us feel closer even while maintaining physical distance.
What does that mean for the blog? For one thing, expect to see a return of playlists like the Monday Mixteen. I also plan on filling the calendar once again, but with live streams of local and Texas acts. With each listing, I will also list any PayPal/Venmo accounts associated with the act, and would strongly encourage who can afford to donate to do so. There will likely even be some new episodes of Ghost of Blind Lemon Radio happening on Deep Ellum Radio. I’m also open to further ideas on how I can help. Feel free to communicate story ideas, song requests for playlists, and any other ideas that come to mind. Just Talk to the Ghost, and I’ll happily listen.
These are uncertain times we live in, with our worlds seemingly changing by the hour. I realize that what I’m offering is relatively small. I still believe, however, in the power of music to change lives, to heal lives, and yes, even save lives. It is easy to fall victim to the darkness and depression in the news of suffering, and that’s why it’s more important than ever to seek out every tiny ray of sunshine and cling to it for dear life. Shawn Colvin once sang that “If there were no music, then I would not get through.” Fortunately, we still have the ability to hear music, and even to see music (even if only by live streaming for now). I have faith that our shared love of music will get us through this.
With love to you all,