Thursday, August 02, 2007

At This Rate, I'll Never Be Drew McManus


Aw, c'mon. I'm fairly certain that some readers who stop by here today will recognize the name Drew McManus as the author of the daily dose of bloggery for orchestra wonks, Adaptistration.

Interestingly, today Mr. McManus ran an article about a service that can estimate just how much your blog is worth. (Adaptistration is worth just under $43k. Dag, that's not bad.) I refrained from commenting that, of late, I probably should be paying people to read my blog rather than vice versa. But I was afraid someone might visit my blog and read my sad little personal story.

For the Love of Bluegrass is quite conflicted. It's conflicted about the music. It's conflicted about the content. It periodically goes through these unsettling little identity crises over which music it's writing about and for whom.

I find myself spending more time every day at Websites like Adaptistration and, and last week I stumbled across Jim Hirsch's wonderful Chicago Classical Music. (Mr. Hirsch, currently Executive Director of the Chicago Sinfonietta, was at one point for nearly 20 years, the director of the much-revered Old Town School of Folk Music.)

All music is suffering the effects of many ills -- the economy, the proliferation of unauthorized recordings, a massive downgrade in concert attendance, and a shrinking audience overall. The blogs mentioned above and quite a few more like them provide musicians and their close companions (administrators, producers, presenters, publishers, recording labels) with information and opinion that encourage conversation and therefore help drive a sense of real community -- as much as can exist online, anyway.

That's really what I should be doing, in addition to doing it in real time as well.

It's time to take a breath and get back to that. Summer has been long and fairly exhausting in some ways, far too short in others. I did not make the strides I'd hoped in my playing or in writing, and I did not feel like I had a real summer with my kids; although my children and I did enjoy a few adventures, my son was gone two weeks plus when he would otherwise have been here, and I'm really missing him.

Plainly put, I've been too damn whiny. So this weekend will be about a break with that stuff, visiting with friends, spending some quality time alone and with fiddle in hand, and perhaps an evening at Blossom with Schubert and Mozart under the baton of renowned conductor and good human being Jahja Ling. I'll mark my daughter's seventh birthday (seven years and I still feel wistful over that funny spot on my old bedroom floor where her water broke). A concert by Ollabelle next week at Cleveland Heights' Nighttown will help get me back in the swing as well.

Thanks meanwhile for stopping by and wading through the baloney to hear a tune or give a new band a look-see. Have a fabulous weekend -- let me know what your live music diet holds!


At August 06, 2007 10:35 AM, Anonymous Jim Hirsch said...


This is Jim Hirsch. Thanks for the nice plug about I still love bluegrass, though I don't get to hear as much of it as I used to in my old job.


At August 06, 2007 11:12 AM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Hi Jim,
I've become really fond of Chicagoclassicalmusic. It's wonderful to have so many fine contributors and the topics are always current and relevant even for folks well outside Chicagoland. Many of the things you all write about are issues concerning all music, so I hope readers take advantage of all the ideas you have to offer.

Meanwhile I hope I can get this thing up to a par where you and others might stop by again. Topic ideas welcome!


At August 06, 2007 7:43 PM, Blogger DrDon said...

Mando - See, people do read. Wow. I wouldn't want to know what my blog is worth. Let's just say that if they estimate $1 per reader, mine's worth a buck, unless you're not allowed to count the author.

And hey, we all whine a bit. My blog is really not much more than that. If fact, quite some time ago I had the idea to write a short book of social commentary and I thought a good title would be, "A Collection of Whines for a Generation of Whiners." Sometimes whining is good for the soul. At least you write thoughtfully about your whines which is what distinguishes your blog from the truly sophomoric ones. Keep writing and playing!

At August 06, 2007 8:28 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Hi Dr. Don,
Thanks for the kind words. In large part, you are correct; blogs are often only distinguished by the type of whining, even the more professional ones (heaven help you if you're name's Marin Alsop). Nonetheless, when people like Jim Hirsch stop by, it is thrilling, and by the same token, mortifying; if the people I look up to find out what a knucklehead I am, will I ever be taken seriously? My blog CLAIMS to be about music, but by golly, some blogs actually ARE about music. Passion is not enough in this business; time to work as smart as I think I am. Or is that, as think as I smart I am?

For the record, I think you're blog is some of the finest whining on the web. It's hard to be right, especially when it can be unpopular. And no one -- ok maybe except for Alex Ross and his hilarious snarky blog -- gets me to snarf and guffaw like you do. I'm proud to know ya.


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