So here we are. You’re all getting The JAM in your email on Wednesday, April 1, but this isn’t an April Fools’s Day joke.

There won’t be any free tickets offered this month; last month’s winners couldn’t even use them.

Many times, I’ve written about how the music scene in Buffalo and WNY offers many choices for live music every single day. Support live music in WNY! That’s the way I’ve closed many articles and Facebook posts. But now we can’t do that. And for every one of those live music shows, there are all those musicians who would have been performing sitting home just like all the rest of us.

As I write this, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. We just keep hearing best-case and worst-case scenarios, and both scenarios reach the same brick wall. Stay home for possibly months to control the virus, or jump the gun on business as usual and risk a catastrophic increase in the infection rate.

You can watch TV coverage of this 24/7 and you can find endless articles about every aspect of the virus’ effect on our culture and society. My personal opinion is that the Buffalo News has provided high quality, comprehensive coverage of this pandemic, especially on the music front with excellent columns from Jeff Miers.

You don’t need to read an article from me explaining anything about the general political and economic effects of the virus. The JAM goes out to over 1,000 email accounts every month plus a lot of the articles are shared on Facebook. For everybody who gets the JAM, they’ve all got their own story they could tell. Are they in a vulnerable health condition? Are they out of a job? Did their paycheck stop? Are they worried about loved ones they can’t visit?

So as expected in a music publication, I’m going to focus on what is happening with our musicians.

Some of them have other jobs and, like everybody else, they may or may not be getting paid. But many of them have made the commitment to their art, to the music they love, to be full-time musicians.

And even the ones with other jobs depend on their income from music. For the musicians who perform live music, there wasn’t a rumor of layoffs, or a stipulation that they can perform half their shows. For them, the door slammed shut immediately. No more gigs, no more pay; that’s it, no income.

Tyler Westcott goes live online (from Facebook)

I’m sure you caught on by now that musicians are streaming their music all over Facebook, every day. And they’ve each set up a pay system so you can tip them when you are home and safe and watching and listening to their shows.

Just think about all the joy and happiness and excitement they provide us when performing live shows? And it would generally cost you at least $5 when you went out to a show. So do the right thing; check out their shows on social media and spend some money every time you listen in. They’ve been there for us, now we need to have their backs!

One of the first efforts to kick off is “Band Together Buffalo,” led by sound and lighting engineer Dave Guilford of Ripe Audio and Marc Odien of Marc is the one who filmed The Last Waltz last year and posted it on Facebook. They’re doing online concerts to support local music during the pandemic.

Here’s their call to action: Online Concerts to Support Local Music

“Calling all supporters of local music in Western New York! We will be streaming live video and archiving the performances of local musicians and bands.

“The livelihood of many of these musicians depends on venues, restaurants and bars that have been closed due to the state-imposed quarantine. Here’s your chance to show your support and donate funds as each performer will have links for Venmo and/or PayPal posted along with their performance.

A small team led by Dave Guilford and Marc Odien are doing their best to provide this service to musicians and fans alike, whilst keeping within the social distancing guidelines set forth by the state.”

Get on the Band Together Buffalo Facebook page to see the schedule of events, tune in and then do your part to help our musicians. There are many other groups and individuals making the effort to help out; by the time you read this there will probably be more.

If you’re not on Facebook, this might be a good time to try it out for a while, so you can get your live music fix and do something to help.

Next are our beloved live music venues, like the Sportsmen’s Tavern. Just like the musicians, all of a sudden, the door was slammed shut on their businesses; the bartenders, cooks, sound and lighting technicians, and the owners who have gambled their financial lives on the venues that we love and spend a big part of our lives supporting.

Look through the JAM to be reminded of all our other music partners. They may have different ownership situations, but the one thing they have in common is their businesses have been stopped cold; no more shows, no more money coming in, no more work for their employees.

We’ll be following up on the state of affairs with the venues in the near future and in next month’s JAM. For now, get some live streaming music and show your appreciation to them and help keep our musicians going.

Bob McLennan
SAM Foundation


Elmer Ploetz

Author Elmer Ploetz

More posts by Elmer Ploetz

Leave a Reply