Ben Here! Tony Gable

For the Love of Musicians in My Life

I have had an amazing ride throughout my career.  Through the ups and downs, the fatigue, stress and the fulfillment, I know performing is a huge part of who I am. It’s so gratifying to be able to make music with talented people. To borrow a quote from a friend, “I watch them pull magic from the air and express it to everyone in attendance.”

When it comes to pulling magic from the air, the style of music has nothing to do with the inspiration of the performers. I have seen amazing moments from metal bands, new age bands, blues rock, folk, klezmer, polka, funk and jazz musicians, from bands of a million styles, and from people who don’t relate to any genre titles or classification.

To have the opportunity to play with good musicians who care about what they’re doing is a total blessing, and is the reason I began playing music in the first place.  Isn’t the love of music and watching people pour their hearts into it, reaching into the ether to try to communicate the ineffable, isn’t that why music is so moving?

The best nights playing music express moments that are almost religious, of somehow reaching the undefinable. After all the rehearsing and arranging, it doesn’t have to be understood and controlled, it wants to be the end result of letting go and believing that whatever comes out right now is the best thing we can give.

When I see powerful music performed, I’m always with someone else witnessing the miracle.  The shared experience is where it’s at. I LOVE to listen to music at home or in the car, but when I get to see something cool go down on stage, and look at whoever I’m with and we just shake our heads and laugh, that, to me, is the best and purest appreciation of music.

Remembering the absolute thrill of seeing our heroes perform, discovering new favorites and hearing about cool new music is invigorating. It brings the joy of life clearly into focus. My friends or new acquaintances ask me how I am, and I sometimes respond, “hey, I woke up today!”.  Being aware of the beauty of the world around me and having that gratitude list keeps me centered, even when things aren’t going my way, or I’m upset.

That gratitude is present for me now, at the end of a good and busy year with Heart, and several other projects I’ve had going, my band DreamWreck, Ben Smith Music Company, and the lives of my family and friends.  When I leave home to work, I get a little low, but I’m still in touch with that gratitude list.

This month and next I have the opportunity to see lots of old friends under sad circumstances.  My friend Tony Gable died earlier this year. A tragedy for his family, and a real loss for his friends and greater community. I will show up to celebrate his life at his memorial later this month, and at a musical celebration we’re putting on in November, on the 13th at Highway 99 Blues Club, in Seattle.  Click Here for More Information about This Event

In celebrating Tony’s life we will remember the fun and inspiring moments we shared with him, and we’ll create new ones.  The reaching out to our communities is what is important, and enjoying each other and what we have today.  I spent many days rehearsing and performing with Tony and his band 206. The process we went through is the same one we go through in Heart, or any other band. We find the clearest expression of what we love in music and offer it to each other and our audience.

My desire for all of us is to reach out to find that clear expression.  Get the emotion right and everything else will follow.