The recent Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic literally took the world by storm, inflicting as much economic devastation as much as illness and in many cases, death. In the case of musicians, it has affected everyone from the biggest touring acts in the world to the guy or gal who performs at the local watering hole: what they both have in common, is a current 100% shut-down of their ability to perform live for audiences of any size. According to news reports, the music industry might be one of the last businesses to fully re-open to the public, and even then, at reduced capacity in every venue.
Asheville, North Carolina Americana/Roots singer-songwriter-guitarist Paul Edelman has kept busy since the COVID-19 Quarantine began by performing a series of live steam shows – one on the Americana Highways Facebook page at the end of April; and more recently, playing the Tiny Stage Concerts series. Edelman – who performs solo, as a duo, and also with his full band, Jangling Sparrows – is interviewed here in our special “5 Quick Questions”, COVID-19 Edition. The Jangling Sparrows recently released a new album, Bootstraps And Other American Fables, which Indie Pulse Music wrote, “is a collection of eleven magical songs that cover a wide and wonderful range of topics. We must give full props and a continually growing respect to an artist that looks to his natural gift as a way to give the purist expression of his love for life and his spark of humanity.”
IPM: Now that the COVID-19 situation has engulfed the music business, how have your immediate and long-term recording and touring plans changed?
PE: Actually, for now, they haven’t. I wasn’t planning on doing any real touring until the fall anyway. I hadn’t even started booking yet. So, I’m hoping things are more or less back to normal by then. When everyone starts poking their heads up I’ll do the same and assess from there. I mean, this (music) business is 90% being able to adjust to new circumstances anyway.
IPM: Let’s say the bars and restaurants where you perform open back up soon. Do you have any trepidation about performing at these venues at the present time?
PE: Not generally, but It would probably depend on the place. I’d most likely make that determination from venue to venue. If it doesn’t seem to be considering any precautions or phases at all I’ll most likely stay away for a while. Not holding anything against them, mind you, this is an insane landscape to navigate and we’re all doing what we think is best mostly, I just feel like waiting on those places would be prudent for me personally.
IPM: What have you done, music/performance-wise, to keep yourself active and visible in the music community?
PE: I’m posting ‘80s cover tunes on my personal (Facebook) page. I’ve done acoustic covers of “Come Dancing” by The Kinks, “No One Is To Blame” by Howard Jones, “Ashes To Ashes” by David Bowie. On deck I have “Everybody Wants To Rule The World,” “Don’t Come Around Here No More” and “Money Changes Everything” by Cindi Lauper. I’ve done a live stream on the Americana Highways page. I’m also starting to be more active on my Patreon page.
IPM: Have you done any music recording, or created any videos, during the COVID-19 pandemic, and/or do you have anything planned/in the works?
PE: I’m planning on pre-paying for studio time and start recording a new record this Summer. I am also talking with a videographer about creating some videos for some of the songs on (my latest album) Bootstraps and Other American Fables. In the meantime, I’ve starting creating lyric videos for all my recorded material that I’m posting to my Patreon page.
IPM: What lessons do you think will be learned in the long-term, regarding the music and entertainment business, as a result of the Coronavirus music stoppage?
PE: Well, hopefully the narrative that has been going around about how workers drive the economy and deserve appropriate compensation will crack through to some of these folks in the music business. However, I’m not confident any lessons will truly be taken to heart or that real, sustained adjustments will be made. I guess I’d hope we as artists will see it and finally, truly start creating our own paradigm for income and success.
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