Tonight, my friend Elissa and I are going to see the Indigo Girls in concert. I have this vivid memory of Elissa and I taking a roadtrip to Bowling Green College for a poetry conference when we were in college. Elissa is a superb singer, someone who holds close harmonies with ease, and I can carry most of a tune. So all the way to the conference, we sang Indigo Girls songs, in harmony and with great abandon as my red Geo Metro took the turns on Pennsylvania’s back roads. I imagine we’ll be doing the middle-aged version of the same thing tonight.
But before our girls take the stage, there’s an opener. I admit that tonight, when the idea of being away past 9pm feels a little overwhelming given how little sleep I’ve gotten of late, I’m not thrilled about sitting through a new band, no matter how good they are. They aren’t who I’m going to see.
Here’s the thing though – this band – The War and the Treaty – is probably going to become a new favorite of mine. After all, they’re singers who pull from soul, folk, and gospel to create a big, rich sound, and their lyrics – well, these are songwriters, ya’ll. Plus, the Indigo Girls invited them along, so there’s some credence they get just through that fact.
And honestly, it’s too easy for me to dismiss new things – new shows, new authors, new bands – because I like what I like, right? I think that’s why well-known bands invite lesser-known bands along – to help pray open the ears of people like me.
As writers, we can do the same for other writers. We can tell people we love about books we’ve discovered and tell them why we think our friends should read them. We can invite authors to post on our blogs, include them in our public readings, give them shout-outs on our social media. We can let them be our opening acts, and when we do that – particularly for authors who are lesser-known and given lesser access (woman writers, writers of color, LGBTQ writers, for example) – we are not only helping the authors, we are helping our readers with a reading life that is richer and more full.
So will I probably still hope to just get to “Closer to Fine” in the Indigo Girls’ show? Yep. But do I also hope that The War and The Treaty steal my breath, I sure do . . . because sometimes, the new stuff becomes the stuff I belt out with joy on the next road trip.
Tell me, what bands and authors do you love that I should know about? Leave a comment with a link below, and I’ll be sure to check them out.