Cadence Bank Amphitheater at Chastain Park.

Since we’re officially post-pandemic and Spring is springing, it’s time to enjoy the great things our city and state offer – especially live outdoor music.

There are ample places to listen no matter where you live with local, national, and international artists performing at venues big and small. 

You can see and hear real musicians singing with their real voices while playing real instruments instead of digitally concocted tunes arranged in someone’s playroom.  Yes, it takes talent to create digital tunes, but the thrill and feel of watching a new or veteran artist play live without the bells and whistles can’t be beat. I saw a meme that said when it comes to vocals on digitally generated songs, autotune is Photoshop for singers. Pretty clever.

Playing music and making music – there’s a difference.   

I started playing piano by ear at age 4. I had a few years of real lessons, but a young boy isn’t as interested in learning Tchaikovsky while his friends are doing boy things. I could have been a better student, and I’m not blaming the teacher, but she wasn’t good, or at least good enough to make me want to keep learning piano.
In the 5th grade, I took trombone lessons, and I was decent enough to join the band. But there was too much spit and different positions for the same note, which was confusing. For giggles, I tried the tuba for a minute, but I wasn’t big or strong enough to carry it. I was fine sitting down.

My favorite brass instrument was the trumpet, but my bottom lip was too thick. None of the reed instruments appealed to me either, but please understand I love every single instrument made. 

In the 6th grade, I discovered my main “instrument love.” That would be anything percussion. I humbly say this, I was pretty darn good, and I played all the way through high school. The first time I played the drum kit out front with the band behind me, I was immediately hooked and addicted to that feeling.  

As far as stringed instruments, the bass guitar worked best for me because of only four strings. Six strings required too much finger talent on both hands, and the chords completely overwhelmed me. I played bass in a cover band, and keyboard in another.

I inherited my love of listening and playing instruments from my mother.  She spent the last 10 years of her life in a very nice retirement center where she played guitar and made announcements into her early 90s.  She stopped because she didn’t want anyone to think she was “showing off.” My grandfather played the fiddle. Word is he played in some pretty rough juke joints but wasn’t allowed to tell us too much. 
After I played in a few joints, I realized I was better suited to play original music by original artists using my own instrument – my voice.  Thank you, Lord, for a wonderful career with the correct instrument. During those years I met and enjoyed many world-class musicians and vocalists. The real deals. 

Actor Jamie Lee Curtis has an amazing idea for us senior citizens. All major artists should do matinees! Start the concerts at noon or 1 p.m. in the afternoon so we can get our older selves home and in bed at a decent hour. You’re already set up for the evening, why not?  Fabulous idea! Follow her on social media @jamieleecurtis

Here’s the thing:  Get your behinds out and spend a little money to support local musicians and venues. Even if you think it’s pricey, spend the extra coin for their tickets and merchandise. That’s the only way they make a living. 

An evening out with music under the stars can be a perfect Atlanta night.  

Kelly McCoy is a veteran broadcaster who worked for more than four decades at radio stations in the metro Atlanta market.