Band need fans, and fans need bands.
Right now, with their main venues — bars, breweries, wineries and restaurants — closed down to flatten the COVID-19 curve, musicians are being more creative than ever.
Colin Allured is performing live every Thursday on Facebook. James Vincent Carroll writes custom songs to order, and Marvelous Funkshun has a YouTube channel.
Even though their job is to “play,” our local musicians show up on time, have solid work ethics and put on good shows. Not having places to perform is like being laid off from a job, they say. These musicians are losing $600-$1,000 a week during the shut-down, and more if they usually play weddings and other private functions.
Allured normally performs two to four times over the weekend, and teaches guitar lessons on weekdays.
“Performing musicians, at the regional gigging level like myself, are a part of the service industry that has been abruptly and indefinitely ceased to try to flatten the curve,” Allured said. “I am happy to do my part to flatten the curve, and I don’t want handouts. I want to work for my pay.”
Allured and Cristin Whiting play 8:30-10:30 p.m. on Thursdays at his home and stream it live on Allured’s personal Facebook page. He plays drums with his feet while simultaneously playing guitar and singing. Whiting plays the Zydeco rubboard, tambourine, shekere, congas and shakers.
“It is a visually and stylistically interesting concert that we really enjoy presenting to a captive audience on Facebook,” Allured said. “Feel free to donate if you can, and if not, just add your presence, your comments, your ‘likes’ and ‘loves.’
“We’re all in this together.”
Allured also has a musician page on Facebook and an Instagram, all under his name.
Since 2013, James Vincent Carroll has been performing five to seven times a week in wineries, breweries, restaurants and at house parties.
“I don’t just play music. I bring people together. Strangers become friends,” he said. “It hurts so much not being able to be in the middle of that.”
Carroll said that he has been able to save some money and should be OK for about a month.
“However, as a self-employed contractor, I cannot use unemployment benefits, and I have no retirement plan,” he said. “I’m keeping a list of all tips/donations and I will find a way to earn every cent. I believe in working for my money and earning my way through life.”
To that end, Carroll also offers a unique service. “I write custom songs for people about their lives and stories,” he said. “I’m always for hire to do that from home.”
Sam Robinson, though not a full-time musician, plays with Marvelous Funkshun and/or Lisa and the Saints (led by Lisa Redding Saint) two to five times a week. The Funkshun plays in venues from Charleston, S.C., to Wilmington to clubs throughout Winston-Salem.
“I’ve played a fundraiser at Fiddlin’ Fish at noon on a Saturday and a Widespread Panic after-party in Raleigh on the same day,” Robinson said.
“The most immediate impact of the social distancing is the loss of income for a lot of folks. ... A lot of people I know don’t have anything besides their income from the gigs. ... the same is true for the venues and the people that work at them.”
The Funkshun plays funk, blues, psychedelic rock and sacred steel. You can hear their entire 2019 Thanksgathering concert on www.youtube.com/marvelousfunkshun.
The downside of social distancing is obvious, but there are some upsides as well.
“I think the most important thing for people to know is that this is a time to really prioritize what is important in life,” Robinson said. “We need to show more compassion and be less selfish as a society, and we need to listen to science.
“I think that if everyone pays attention to the science and follows the instructions we have been given, that we can have a much better outlook considering that it is not bad here yet.”
Carroll said, “Being able to use Facebook ‘Live’ to bring people joy and escape each day.”
Allured agreed. “The best thing has been the opportunity to reach people through Facebook Livestreams in a more massive way,” he said.
“People are at home, stressed and needing a sense of community. Musicians are home, stressed and needing a way to go to work. The Livestream concerts have been a very meaningful way to bring people together in the moment. It is healing for both the musicians and the watchers.”
If you have a favorite band that you can’t see live because of COVID-19, visit their Facebook or Bandcamp pages, personal websites, and donate or buy their music online. If you want to add your band to our online list see the “Want to help?” box attached to this story and send the info to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll update the list as the info comes in.