Onward and Upward

This week I got some good interview footage with the help of my friend Nate. I got a substantial interview with him that we actually managed to be more of a friendly dialogue so that it was like a dual-interview with the two of us. It covered a lot of the topics and questions that I wanted to make sure to fit into the interview portion of the video, so I think I might turn this interview into a lot of subclips to splice into the movie at the appropriate intervals. I think I have also solved a few of the other issues I have been having with timecode errors and whatnot. I was able to capture and store the majority of my footage so far. I hope to continue with some interviews (I have already discussed this with some more candidates) as well as begin filming the fictional, scripted portion of my movie. I have also thought that I might try some things I have thought of as ways to integrate other materials I have at my disposal into my finalcut project. For example, I think I may want to include some of my images from Italy as transitions in the film when they make sense, rather than always fading to black. I am also hoping to do some shooting of a fencing tournament this weekend because that will provide a different atmosphere and it will take me to a different environment where there is a different kind of diversity than at Lawrence. Some of the fencing teams that LU competes against recruit students from specific countries because of their fencing skill and I think that could be interesting difference in perspective, especially since other countries put a much different emphasis on this and other sports. I'll try to add some footage of that next week when I have it. I have also had a little difficulty in finding some time in which to film part of my project that requires several people at the same time and a friend that may visit campus to have a role in the film. I think I might employ Doodle to try and make this task easier, so we'll see.

Jordan Severson


Abigail Disney: a preacher of peace

I have a few thoughts after seeing/hearing Abigail Disney speak at convocation. In some ways I am a bit surprised at the aim of her lecture. I did expect that there would be a bit more of her perspective of producing Pray the Devil Back to Hell from the perspective of her making the movie, but that did not seem to be very high on her list. All the same I felt like I could relate to a lot of what she said in a way that surprised me. I found some parallels in her motives and my own reasons to make a video. I have a lot of respect for her decision to chronicle a movement and all the actions of the women in Ligeria even though they were being ignored or seen as relatively unimportant by politicians and media alike. It is that sort of view that makes me distrust or at least have little respect for the media as an entity for legitimate and relevant information. There were several phrases, sort of one-liners, that stuck out to me as being very effective. Whether they were quotes or her own words, I think they were carefully selected, like she described as something simple, yet powerful that will stick with you. I think these helped to provide a brief concept or idea in a way that makes one recondsider their own flawed perceptions based on the events and experiences that took place in Ligeria. Some examples include:
"Is war fate? or just failure of imaginating"
"Masculinity is used as the primary means of coercion"
"Those constantly relegated to the margins will eventually have skills that are useful in the page's center"
"war is a failure to see equality of all people"
and of course, "peace is a process, not an event"
All these are simple phrases that can be paired with the interviews that she had with crimelords and activists, and even one's own thoughts to realize that issues we feel are solidified, not only in our minds but in the world can actually be seen and understood from a different perspective. This concept is one that has opened my own mind and I agreed as soon as she made mention of spending some time abroad to see how the American perspective is limited. Having recently done so, I realized the validity of her point immediately and I think this is one of the reasons that drove me to explore some of the similar concepts of trying to show the difference between cultural perspectives and approaches to the same problems in life. I think that she could not be more right to show that American priorities tend to be consistently askew in some areas, and we generally seem to have a more distant response to powerful events than other cultures. Though she used her documentary and interviews to show people how change is possible and screened her movie in a multitude of countries to spread the message of Liberia's accomplishment, I think that my method will be relying on the insertion of some humorous anecdotes to help people in their mental gymnastics when considering new ideas. A good dose of humor like the one below, can be pretty strong in drawing an audience into the frame of mind you want them to experience without resistance or resentment and also without the need for an obsequious viewer. I think that her most powerful impact on me may have came from the idea of her screenings. She described a sense of her own satisfaction in being able to see the various responses and reactions to her video and the immediate effect it can have on the viewer: what will we do here, today to take action in our community? I think this must be most fulfilling to see this sort of result yielded from your own creation. It makes me think that I can hope for a similar satisfaction on a smaller scale if I complete my video and screen it with different audiences.

Jordan Severson


Off and Running

So, my project seems to be underway sufficiently. This week I got my external hard drive and most everything else I need for my project in order. I oriented myself with both Garageband and Final Cut Express on a basic level. I practiced using both and investigated some of the basic functions. Garageband seems fairly simple and intuitive to use, especially from knowing some similar music programs a bit more intimately. I had a few more issues getting used to Final Cut, but now that I worked them out and played around with some footage, I think I will be able to progress fairly quickly. The layout and some of the basic steps of starting a project are a bit confusing until you get used to some of the concepts, but they soon begin to seem quite useful for a great degree of control. Once I was able to figure out how to open and manage my project so that I can save all my clips and other project materials to my hard drive, things got much easier. I have a couple clips already and I think I have decided to keep adding them to the project as I go. I have a few little issues with audio compatibility and some settings that don't always agree, but I am sure I will continue to work those things out as I go. Overall, it seems like I have the basics down to start working without spending much more time figuring out the things I absolutely need to do with the program. I think that will enable me to gradually improve without slowing down production until I am fairly proficient. I also used the camera quite a bit with practice footage and some of the actual interviews and things that I may include in the final project. That makes me feel generally like I am at a pretty good starting point to just go ahead and start getting all the footage I want without worrying about comfort with the equipment. I know now that some of the little things will be decided for how I want to conduct interviews and get some of the other footage I need, though I am sure I will adapt my plans as I go through each stage to make everything easier.

Jordan Severson


Diverging Paths Connect: Nicolas Bourriaud's The Radicant

I don't know where to begin discussing The Radicant because it takes a great deal of time to read, for me. This is not because I find it too difficult to understand or can't relate to it, but quite the opposite. I find it dense and thought-provoking. There are so many concepts contained within that I can only take in bits at a time as my head starts reeling from all the possibilities and thoughts that are relevant to my mind and my situation. I will attempt because of this truth, to limit myself and challenge myself to find and highlight only those things that I find most important and the most recurring concepts in my own mind. To start off, I find the term radicant as defined by Bourriaud to be very well-stated and aptly described. I think that the progression of the internet and technology along the current path is very much like a system of roots that spreads out and connects wherever possible. I will also say that this a very large concept when I think about what that means to the lives of us here, and now experiencing these changes and networks. It can be scary and exciting simultaneously, perhaps with a bit of beauty thrown in. When described in that way, I might start to think that new media and internet possibilities have a achieved a level of sublime, though I am not sure that is accurate to say. I think that Bourriaud's raising of the issue of video is very interesting. He has a good basis for predictions about future trends from the unique kinds of statistics he picks up about particular video content and shifts from completely original concepts to the increasing trend of borrowing, remixing, or creating any type of mash-up that has been becoming increasingly simple and more prevalent. There is a valid point here when he speaks about not a decrease in creativity, rather a different emphasis on speed and a different type of creativity to create new things from preexisting or borrowed elements. From there, the possibilities become more spread out as he discusses how much more video use and uploading exists now because of Youtube and all the similar video platforms. It is exciting, though I think also daunting and a bit frightening to consider that, indeed in a short time there may be little of our lives that goes undocumented by video or does not become digitized, transformed, and edited for display in a variety of possibilities. I have similar mixed feelings about the consideration of measuring greatly different artists and their works in the same place and time regardless of the circumstances of their works' production. The fact that such information as well as cultural, regional, and chronological aspects of oeuvre and identity could be so blurred as to become irrelevant or impossible to ascertain when judging the content of work. Will that eradicate the need for criticism, comparison, and evaluation all together? If there are no differences of creation that can be depended upon, will there be differences in result or will art just become more similar as all the divergent ideas and concepts become melded into the web 2.0 world? It is appealing to think of such freedom from stereotypes and unfair judgement or no judgement at all, but then what becomes of art? Will it continue to have value and purpose or just become a mass of indistinguishable content that is too difficult to measure or understand? If the things that we are experiencing now and witnessing the changes of are all part of the Web 2.0, what will a Web 3.0 do to change the way we disburse and collect information. I don't think art can ever be the same in times that are so quickly changing just like The Radicant explores artists' new approaches to investigating time, history, post colonialism and other themes. Bourriaud's suspicion that the next wave of art after post modernism will not be a group of concepts and trends that spread globally, rather ideas that will start off as global "from scratch." If this is true, where does that leave criticism and the art history that discusses and classifies trends once they have happened? Will it, too, have to speed up and become global to develop simultaneously with such a movement, or would it fall behind and be done away with in the process of streamlining to only necessity and removing anything that seems obsolete? It becomes evermore unreliable and perhaps futile to speculate as technology changes and updates the world so rapidly.

Jordan Severson


Laurie Anderson: Intersection of Arts

Laurie Anderson: On Performance provides a revealing look into the artists thoughts and ideas even more than it explores her particular works. Laurie Anderson is an interesting artist because she crosses into so many areas with her artwork. She has taken performance art and technology to new levels and even made her way into pop music and inventing with tools for her violins and other compositions. Some of her concepts are more interesting, but what is most important is the way she keeps developing and changing herself with the times. It is remarkable that she can keep going and sustain some of her methods and concepts so consistently and is not afraid to create a body of work and then change direction or back off from a particular idea when it is no longer foremost in her mind. I find her personality and thoughts to be most interesting and I find similarities in some of her perspectives with some of my own thoughts on the issues. I found her fascination with Van Gogh and the need to compare artists to him whether there existed a direct parallel or not to be a humorous, but understandable occurrence. I think we all run into something that is so relevant to us that we fixate on it to the point that it bothers others. I also understand her desire to incorporate her daily experiences into her life since that is one of the directional influences on my current video project. I also see a parallel in the wish to explore the voices each person adopts in each context that they find themselves in. This sort of interest is one of the reasons why I am attracted to the idea of combining daily happenings and scripted events with the sort of personal interview to show the different sides of characters. My ideas also tie into the way Anderson chooses to view her work as a sort of discourse with the viewer, I value that sort of perspective on the relationship between artist and viewer as well. I do hope that my project will open up ideas and concepts to my viewers in the same fashion. I think that artwork is more valuable to both parties when the works are capable of opening such an exchange of ideas. Her discussion of documentation of her work was quite provocative and reminded me of Walter Benjamin's famous essay, Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. I often have conflicting concerns about documenting my own work and it is easy to see that the exact occurrence of the performance event, or the "aura" of an original work for Benjamin, cannot be summarized or substituted in any way. There are certain works, especially in crossover and performance art that just cannot have a surrogate or faithful preservation and it begs the question, "should we even try to preserve something that is inadequate?" I think Laurie is right in classifying our culture as overly fast and I feel there needs to be those individuals willing to take the time to slow people down and scare people to thinking about what they take for granted. Such a message is needed far more frequently than it is received. The last point of interest for me in Anderson's perspective was that of the love-hate relationship that she has with technology. I often feel some of the same frustrations and elations that she also gets from technological advancement. People do use language as a defense and a crutch to help or protect them from the things they find uncomfortable, but I find this unacceptable and unhealthy because there are some times when one really needs to experience something uncomfortable for a change. If you only had comfort all the time, you would cease to know what it is. Discomfort is necessary to know comfort by comparison. I also agree that people have different styles of communication just like voices depending on context. I personally hate talking on the phone and always have had this sort of aversion because it makes people act differently and makes them feel like it is okay to be less polite or formal and to say things that they ordinarily wouldn't. Anderson spoke about this more in terms of the computer and how e-mail changes conceptions of communications to encourage the feeling of no responsibility for increased use of profanity and a reduction of flexibility through fixed comments and policies. I think this is a very perceptive observation. I notice more personal frustration with people's tendencies to be less formal, clear, or grammatically correct than is necessary and at the same time they are reducing their actual social interactions by substituting with computer chat or other networking made possible by the internet.
Jordan Severson


Thoughts on Buckminster Fuller

Upon reading articles and watching a documentary on Buckminster Fuller it is apparent how influential his thoughts have been and just how much of a free thinker and bold mind he was. He was a true Jack-of-all-trades type character. He was truly an astoundingly radical thinker and did not limit himself to conventional thought or any single field. It is wonderful that he was able to recognize and overcome common flaws through his non-disciplinary, holistic approach to solving projects. Besides the Geodesic Dome, he thought of other minimalist and environmentally friendly solutions to basic problems that most people fail to solve. His Dymaxion car and transportable, efficient homes were a good deal before their time. His ideas where expressed long before the public minds were ready to accept solutions because they had not yet even perceived the problems that bothered Fuller so. I find his points about flaws with conventional thought and education very interesting, I agree that many of our problems stem from these basic issues, but I did not see how deep they can be prior to studying Fuller's ideas. I think that he is set apart even from other original thinkers because he attempted to show ways to correct the thoughts of others on a basic level and he designed tools like more accurate world map projections to allow others to gain a more accurate view of the Earth. Though some of his stories, word-building, and concepts like "spaceship earth," were perhaps humorous, they also demonstrate how far beyond his contemporaries his thoughts were. I agree that some basic teaching techniques and concepts really hold back education and society. Conditioning ourselves to think of concepts like infinity really does distract us from how much does not belong in that category. Fake jobs, jobs that shouldn't even exist, that are liked by no one and accomplish nothing are all too real. This is another frustration that I have long shared with Mr. Fuller. I find that these concepts fit in with what I am attempting with my project because part of my goals are to disassemble some of the ways most individuals are misinformed about and do not think about in regards to cultures that are not their own. I absolutely believe this is because of that sort of contagious, group mentality, consistent and predictable thought that Fuller rebelled against. This aspect of Buckminster Fuller reminds me of an Australian movie I saw recently called The Rage in Placid Lake. This movie uses stereotypical roles to show how absurd people can be and the situations they can unwittingly produce. The protagonist is a unique and original thinker who is persecuted to the point of a horrible accident at which point he gets back at everyone by becoming more normal and ordinary than the rest of them can do. Eventually they all grow to hate him that way too, so that he can safely be himself once more. So many think what is comfortable or convenient rather than thinking for themselves or pursuing their own hunches and intuitions to investigate how things truly are, rather than how we are told things are. These concepts we are taught are diluted, simplified and corrupted to be fed to the masses who wish not to think or have individual thought. Fuller saw these problems and created solutions for people who did not even realize they had these issues and are still not looking for resolution for most of them. I believe this is why his concepts were not accepted and employed even though they were similar or superior to what has become commonplace like automobiles or homes that are only now starting to be made efficient on a small scale compared to Fuller's models. The problem is that he had no real way to implement or get enough people to buy into things to make them spread and prosper. This is one of the problems that I have been dealing with in my own thoughts on my project. If people get one thing from my video, I want it to be that they should consider or learn more about other cultures and perspectives and to realize that there are places in the world that have different priorities and still function as well, if not better than the USA with their own ideas. I see that the Italian people are relaxed have little stress compared to the US, but the country would not function or be possible to exist in this way if they didn't all adhere to or understand a different outlook on the concept of time as they do. If you have too many Americans thinking time is an all important, money producing deity, then this beautiful Italian way of life is destroyed as our heinous and pervasive American ideals already threaten to do. This is directly related to Fuller's, "think about what you want to and what needs to be done," approach to careers. I agree that everyone should do what they want to do and destroy the rest of the fake jobs, but this does not happen because too many fear, too many are used to accepting a lifestyle that tells them they have to be unhappy to get what they want. If we all disregarded these concepts and decided altogether simultaneously to do what we want for a living, I think it would actually work, but that would take such convincing and simultaneous action that even the internet is not yet up for the task. Buckminster Fuller proved that one individual can realize this sort of ideal for their own life, but for the rest of people to get this message it will take a lot more.
Jordan Severson


Video Plans: Script and Plot

Today, I met with Ian to discuss some of the details of the video as we begin to plan it out in more detail. We discussed primarily the key plot points and how to introduce the concepts of the film in its beginning as well as uses for other characters. My character, I will be myself in the film, is starting a video project out concern for issues of reverse culture shock and paranoia that results from focusing on this phenomenon that I had previously disregarded. The video will then follow my progress as I make the transition from life in Italy back to Appleton, Wisconsin at a new and improved Lawrence University. We discussed the rest of the plot as it will unfold with my life and become entwined with Ian's own media project with the services he offers on campus coming to my aid in search to find peace and resolution for my difficulties coping with my change of lifestyle. We decided upon a number of events and locations to film as well as some of the interactions of specific characters and the role of interviews in the film. We imagine the film to be a sort of daily diary with excerpts that serve as anecdotes in my daily life as my situation progresses with time. Then the interviews will be perspectives of the different characters or sometimes my own thoughts and reflections of events as they occur to provide the viewer with other information. We imagined that this would be a style that adds insight and humor to the context of events in a similar use to this style of cut away interview scene used in a show like The office. After finishing discussion of all the necessary elements and brainstorming ideas for the interview questions and other daily events to be covered in the film, Ian and I began to layout a plan of action for the coming days to get started on the project and get everything in order to proceed ahead. We even planned the next time this sort of planning and preparation would continue in our schedule.
Jordan Severson


Possible Video Project

Besides the musical ideas I have been considering and developing with previous posts, I was thinking about another project that would allow me to make a collaborative video that combines some of the knowledge and experiences that I have gained especially from my recent trip abroad in Italy. Today, I thought about some of the things that I have learned and I realized that I may have been wrong to pursue some of the concepts that I had been working on and I found a more elegant solution that might be more all-encompassing of the types of goals that I have with a video project.

One of the amazing people I met abroad was more positive than anyone I have ever met and he is currently a pretty successful painter. Maybe not by everyone's standards, but by mine he is the most successful and knowledgeable person I have come into contact with because he understands life and is not of afraid of anything that it gives him. He remains confident and understands how to make something into nothing, having been completely broke a number of times in his life and recovering to be at an even better stage in his life. He taught me to find something good in a bad situation. Sometimes he had terrible things happen in his life, but rather than quitting when most would, he saw hard times as an opportunity and looked to learn something from even the worst of circumstances because he adamantly believes that things happen for a reason and that everyone has the choice to improve themselves in each situation they find themselves.

While I was realizing how bad I felt for not completing my powerpoint presentation for my class pitch of ideas, somewhat due to technical difficulties and somewhat to my own lack of foresight and preparation, I had one of the moments that my friend described. I discovered an idea that was already in my head, but I just hadn't given adequate thought to. I realized a way to collaborate with friends even though I thought our goals would not line up before. More importantly I think my video concept will allow me to combine many of the ideas I was thinking into something more natural and rewarding to develop as a project. I never would have found this idea that I think is probably the best project choice if I had not messed up and felt terrible about it.

Anyway, I have been thinking of a lot of things since I have a great many ideas from all the stimuli my brain received in Europe, but I have had trouble organizing and deciding exactly which ones to pursue first and to put into my art so as not to waste them. Now I realize my video can combine many of them and the obvious thing to do all along was right in my thoughts. My video project can actually be the process of my organization of thoughts, concepts, memories and decisions how to continue from here. This may not be clear to those reading this post at this time, but I hope to flesh out the details soon.
My basic idea is to create a video that is somewhat documentary, somewhat scripted that shows things from my perspective and also incorporates interviews. The daily kind of interactions that I would film will show progress and other ideas that I have to sort out at the same time as the help I get from friends and use of the knowledge I have gained. At the same time, I want to use the video as a platform for my friend, who will hopefully collaborate on this project, to help boost the notoriety of his own endeavors around campus.

On a basic level, I want to make a video that is pretty humorous and enjoyable that people can relate to in a realistic, but exaggerated way. The best example I can give is It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia as in the clip below. It is a story about 5 self-absorbed characters who are realistic, but exaggerated to make hilarious storylines. I plan to highlight issues like cultural differences and change that I have witnessed to make other people more aware of them, but in a way that they can laugh too, and not think about the concepts they are internalizing as they learn from my experiences too. This way, I can share my benefits with others and get some people to laugh. Some of the stylistic aspects I envision come from another tv show I am fond of called trailer park boys. The beauty of this Canadian comedy is that it pretends to be basically what it is. It is in some way mockumentary as a tv crew is hired to follow a couple of guys around the trailer park to see what it is like in their daily lives. In this way, the cameras even become a part of the episodes in a clever way as characters, but also favorable in that they can use a very low-tech, low-budget kind of shooting style that makes the idea more believable and convincing at the same time. I hope to use some similar concepts in my own production.
Jordan Severson


Promising leads from websites and concepts

I have been thinking about different websites lately. All the ones that have interested me or that I have come across and thought would be useful in either developing and idea or using in the execution of a project. A lot of them have to do with music and I am excited by ideas related to the potentials that exist today for making and sharing music. Since there are so many things that disgust and disappoint me about the way the music industry operates, I find it comforting and inevitable that there are now starting to be more solutions for these problems. Thankfully, artists since the birth of underground punk sensibilities and DIY attitudes came about and now artists like Trent Reznor and Radiohead have made progress with internet and digital music disbursal to cut out of the unjust control that the music industry asserts over music. Every day it gets easier for the average person to create and record music on their own computer and then find tools to spread their music on their own. This way those who truly care about music and not just pocketbooks and numbers can share and explore music the way that this process should take place. This makes me smile.

Links that further ideas or facilitate project concepts:
I am intrigued by the ability of internet users to have control over the content they consume.

I am plagued by issues of the need for labels and ambiguity in genre definition. This website helps with that and also the discovery of new music besides sites like Pandora.

Virtual Drumkit? Good idea.

There is software and hardware that is easy to find for all sorts of applications and technological issues. Converting vinyl to digital media is just one of such concerns.

Recording forum helps discover solutions with music difficulties.

The pocketpod is a pretty cool device and probably one of the best gifts I have been given.

This is an interesting interactive website with unique potentials for composition through preset formulas.

Not a groundbreaking concept, but it can stimulate thought.
some cool reference tools

this site is kind of like a myspace or similar forum that helps find opportunities for live venues and other musical avenues.

This one has some good opportunities for music distribution online without a record label.

Some useful links for development and remixing of music.

I hope that by gathering these up and considering them together I will better be able to gauge the ideas that normally float around in my brain at speeds far too fast for consideration. I think that by compiling them and looking at the tendencies in my interests will help direct me or and least get a better idea of what sort of project I would be most interested in pursuing. Then I can revisit them later and see how my thoughts have diverged from the point of these references.
Jordan Severson

Les Paul: A Sound Innovator

I have not been as familiar with Les Paul as I should be. He is important and relevant to me not just because he was a Wisconsinite who became famous, or because he was a prolific guitarist who achieved fame and received great acclaim. He is important because he was a remarkable man who represents a rare type of person who innovated, understood the world around him, understood his own goals, found ways of reaching them, and did plenty more in his lifetime than most could dream of accomplishing. While others were complaining about problems or feeling bad for their situation he was finding solutions and making things up as he went. After leaving Waukesha as a young man, he simultaneously accomplished as a musician, a recording artist, inventor and pioneer in technological advancement. Paul was passionate and unrelenting with an insatiable curiosity that set him apart from others. He did not take no for an answer and found himself amongst stars like Bing Crosby with great fame as a guitarist and performer. He used available technology throughout his life to push the limits of music with electric guitars, amplification and recording. Even after meeting great success, he did not stop there and he understood the need to keep changing with progress of the time as he continually reinvented himself and his sound after a car collision and his pioneering multitrack recording. Paul's drive to understand the world around him allowed him success through his ability to change with radio, tv, recording, telephones and other results of technology. When he did not have the means to do what he needed, he created a new way. He never seems to have taken his resources for granted and even made the most of those times when he was completely halted by life circumstances to reinvent himself yet again and outdo himself time after time. Though others did some of the same things and the technology was available for much, it seems that Paul was, at some times, the only one taking advantage of opportunity. I find that there is a lot of inspiration in the example of such a motivated person and I find that parallels in my own creative processes give me the potential to achieve my own goals if I can learn from the progress and advancement that Paul used to advance his life.
Jordan Severson


Fat Possum Records: the recording of country blues

The creation of Fat Possum Records does not seem to be anything new, but it is important from the perspective of its investigation of the untapped blues blues scene that resides in juke joint shanties of rural areas. One of the interesting elements of the decision to record these artists is the manner in which the artists respond as many of them are resistant to recording or doing something commercial that is separate from entertaining themselves. These blues artists are then something like anti-stars who shy away from fame and only want to make their own music with the addition of using money perhaps for the support of their family and community members. Indeed, many of them live unaltered lifestyles even after spreading their music and having some success in the sales of their music. These issues come with new tendencies like unorthodox ways of payment to the artists who had different priorities than most artists being brought into the public. The question of the record industry taking advantage of the artists, which is still a very relevant issue today brings up many concerns not just in racial differences, but the basic nature of each role. The music industry has developed in a way that takes all the power from the artist and the creative parties to allow those producing and selling albums to easily exploit the artists. It may not be ideal that the relationship between Fat Possum Records and the artists on the label is accompanied by a great deal of doubt and mistrust, but it seems like a step in the right direction when both parties can admit to the existence of this problem and identify the need for caution in such a fragile relationship. I think that this is positive and continued skepticism will only help make both parties more aware of their positions within the music partnership.

For me, some of the greatest results in the case of artists being recorded on Fat Possum Records is the demonstration of musical potential. Some of those artists are now able to reach a wider audience and show that there are still many who are close to the foundations of a purer blues music that is largely untainted by the over-commercialization of popular music. We can observe from these artists how penetrating blues music is as an entity in peoples lives. It can reach so many who were not involved with other sources of music. It can also have a lot more raw energy, talent, and variation than most of the music industry allows to be seen. The fact that these artists have developed their own style of blues so honest and real, not stale or contrived like the mainstream conception of blues music is extremely refreshing. People like Junior Kimbrough, T-Model Ford, RL Burnside, and Johnny Farmer are real people, with real problems, and I think this makes them true musicians. I am relieved to find that these artists can be entirely self-taught, even refusing the "aid" of would-be instructors, and still display so much potential and talent. This really confirms a lot of my own suspicions and theories about music and it encourages me to produce my own musical endeavors whether I am musically trained, have orthodox means, or not. These artists assure me that I could pursue my own artistic goals by my own means and be completely successful without concern for how much of a profit I am making or how well known I am. I find these notions and priorities to be very appealing and I maintain that these instances are evidence that justifies my own frustrations and criticisms of the music industry. I feel like music has always been derivative and always borrows heavily from itself, but that it has gotten unnecessarily worse with time. There is too much that has not been done or explored in music to be rehashing the same cliche themes and overworked genres that popular music perpetuates and exacerbates. Or why not use your inspirations and talents in a constructive way like Burnside or some of these other artists who will play covers of songs that are completely reinvented, reincarnated in a new style. This, along with pursuing your own musical ideas and innovating with original compositions displays skill and talent that is all too absent from today's dominant music trends. I admire these artists who don't succumb to others' conceptions of what blues music is or how it should be, and they live their music to play with honesty and heart that the public does not know. There are too few people in the world who take this sort of genuine and dedicated approach to what they do and they deserve the rewards most since they have shown that they can do without them.
Jordan Severson