View Sidebar

A Million Little Pieces Of My Mind

Set Us Free

By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 2/23/2024
Posted: 4/21/2009
Page Views: 7119
Topics: #FoxElipsus #Music #Metaphysics
A free concert by a friend who's promoting a more uplifting viewpoint than one typically hears on the radio.

An ancient Chinese curse is said to translate, "May you live in interesting times." It says a lot about the people who thought such a fate would be undesirable, and a lot about the people through the centuries who have repeated the "curse" believing it was one. It also says a lot about us, that so many of us no longer think that "interesting" times must, necessarily, be bad.

And it also says a lot about our mass media, that its constant puking of what it finds "interesting" is, indeed, unpleasant, when so many wonderful things are happening that are even more interesting as well as joy-making.

This evening Michael and I attended a free show by a new friend, singer Fox Elipsus (his professional name). Fox is not from here. He is, in fact, from Britain though his home is currently in Buffalo, New York. But since January his home has been his car, as he has been touring the United States and Canada promoting his new, independent-label double-CD Momentum. Since Fox is not part of the mass media, he is free to write and perform songs of joy, of meaning, of political import, as well as of love. And so I was happy to open our home to him for the several days he will be in the Valley. I knew we weren't only supporting "indie art", but also the high frequency vibration of Love.

Fox makes his tracks available, in full, for free—partly to promote his albums, but mostly just, as he says, to "get the songs out there." The messages in those songs are important, and you won't hear them on the mass media.

Have you ever wondered why so much air time is devoted to arguments for and against gay marriage, compared to this country's health crisis? Surely whether a mere tenth of the population can marry the person of their choosing is of less concern than whether 90% of the population can afford the medical care they need. Yet, you would never guess this from the talking heads on any newscast. Why are teachers, our best tool for a peaceful and prosperous future, even considered to be laid off in times of financial cutbacks? —And why isn't that question ever brought up, even on supposedly forward-thinking NPR? Talk about emptying the water bucket that primes the pump!

That's the very point of the first song from Fox's new album (and the last one he performed tonight), "Set Us Free".

It's genius how they've got over 500 million people
Fighting amongst ourselves about 'illegal' immigration
And gun control, and religion,
And whether we should murder criminals
And force women to bear children.

Are these moral choices the government's business?
It's time we start asking the right questions.
Like, who are the ones who control all the information?
And why can't you afford your children's education?
And why can't we afford simple medicine
When we live in the world's richest nation?

Fox Elipsus in concert.

As important as his message is, it isn't all expressed through loaded lyrics such as these. In fact, most of Fox's message is one of joy and is expressed in his banter with his intimate audiences (his, largest, he said, was a hundred people; about ten were in attendance tonight). Fox spent almost as much time joking as he did singing; and he even inserted jokes into his songs. The audience loved him and it would be an understatement to say that their spirits were lifted by attending the show. In fact, when it was over (which coincided with the closing of the Borders that was the venue), no one wanted to leave. One couple, who had arrived together, stood talking to each other in the parking lot! Like us, they just didn't want to go home.

The more concerned you, dear reader, are about "these days"…the more immersed you are in "the news" and "the economy" and "the terrorists" (who, it turns out, did far less damage to America than our own banking CEOs)…the more important it is that you settle back. Relax. There have been attacks and wars and depressions and brouhahas before…and they always end. Some survive and some don't; but even that is true of day-to-day life in the best of times.

What you must remember is that those who promulgate bad news do not have your best interests at heart. What they have at heart, is a desire for profit.

Fox claims he'd like to be signed to a major label. I wonder if he's thought this out? Yes, his audience would grow enormously…maybe…but would he be permitted to sing what he pleased? Would his message get out there? How long has it been since the Powers That Be permitted a Dylan or a Lennon free reign in a recording studio?

A guy I knew some years ago, Kieran McNally, had a band and a recording studio. His songs were perhaps less politically significant than Fox's but powerful nonetheless. He did sign with a label, a big one—ABC Records. In accordance with his contract, they produced and pressed a CD. I have a copy of it. But not many people do, because ABC never promoted the album or the band. Apparently they felt Kieran sounded too much like Bruce Springsteen (he's actually got a much better voice) and they signed him merely to suppress him.

Once upon a time, that would have been the end of the story. But now, thanks to the Internet, it no longer needs to be. Performers (and videographers, for that matter) can now easily reach millions of people by simply putting themselves "out there" on the web. We no longer need "the man" to give us permission to express ourselves, or others permission to hear us.

And all you have to do is be open to discovering new talent in non-traditional ways. For example, on Facebook, I bothered to make myself a "fan" of the music of Dan Fogelberg. Fox, trolling the list of Fogelberg's fans, asked to "friend" me since his music was similar. He then posted his travel schedule, which I received. Of course when he showed up in Phoenix I intended to see him; when he announced he hadn't yet been offered a sofa to sleep on while he was here, I did that. For the price of a couple eggs and a few strips of bacon (Michael fed him breakfast) we were able to provide significant support to independent music and getting the message of peace and love out to a public that's desperate to hear it.

For those few cents, we helped free us all—if only a little—from the tyranny of the mainstream media and its owners, the warlords of America.

That's a heck of a bargain, as far as I'm concerned.