Friday, October 23, 2009

Not Just the Coolest -- the Best!

So, just what made the dollar that guy gave me the most honest dollar I've ever earned?

'Cause while the romance of it is undeniable, I'm not so sure it's true.

I mean, the guy strode purposefully across Washington Square, extended that bill my way with a big grin, so to say, “Yeah. That's what I'm talking about.”

That gut-level, spontaneous, grokking appreciation, the giving without needing to be asked, that's it.

Or was it?

I mean, what about every dollar I ever earned bringing music and joy to markets across America? My markets!

From that first door in Burlington, Vermont, evening 6/26/83, through the record-setting BoulderNovember "Heart and Soul" Weekend, through Eugene, Iowa City and Edmonton, to the last known rap, 7/11/95 in Ithaca, I simply walked, knocked, and said:

“Hi, my name's Jay Hepner. I'm a singer/songwriter working my way to California by playing songs I've written. I'm asking a dollar a song. May I play you one?”

Since when is asking for the order wrong?

Uh, never.

Still, the sincerity of that NYC dollar, the whole "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere" ethos underlying it all. The Neil tribute, lyric pointing the way . . .

Then the guy, a crucial Great Pumpkin to my Linus.

Yeah, still the most honest dollar I've ever earned.

But the most honest job I've ever worked, the coolest, the best, was the job I made myself, door-to-door troubadour, asking condign payment for bringing the good times to you, rather than making you go downtown to get it.

It was a good idea then, It's still a good idea. And my customers got a good deal.

What they didn't get was my hitting the big time. There was no follow up album, though clearly, this was front-end marketing in support of back-end product at a premium.

Next time, I'll make sure I get a band lined up.

Maybe Monsters of Folk . . .

Something to do in November.

So what do you think? Which was the more honest dollar earned? New York, New York?

Or any dollar ever earned in exchange for an original song on a front porch or in a living room?


PS Special shout out to Anastasio, Gordon, Fishman and McConnell. Holdsworth and Daubert, too.

Hey guys, Burlington, June 26-27, '83? Did I play on your porch? If you can confirm, please do:

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