Thursday, July 5, 2007

Here goes...

I've been in the American Jewish music business for...well, at least a couple of decades.

Along the way, I've collected my share of opinions and attitudes and I've received my fair share of praise and criticism for combining the secular and Jewish worlds in my life and in my music. I've got plenty to say, so if you start then maybe I'll argue!

I don't wish to simply use this blog to promote my work, but I do have reason to mention it here. My new CD, "Reach Out" is my pride and joy, accomplishing what I've hoped for a long record an original album with messages that underline our obligations, not simply as Jews, but as human beings.

The album is not meant to be Chassidic, Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, etc... it's human and it's universal. It touches on our relationship to G-d, but it emphasizes our relationship to our fellow man as well as to ourselves. Prayer is fine for those who do, but certain priorities must be in order before those prayers should be expected to have genuine value.

For most people, it's easier to address those tangible issues that are right in front of us down here on earth, rather than maintaining faith in a greater power that is not directly visible to us. Balancing the two is the great challenge.

Ironically, the aspect of man's relationship to his fellow man is not addressed in Jewish music as frequently as that with G-d, even though the former is, by all rabbinical authorities of any kind, the most important.

As a lifelong fan and student of hundreds of musical genres outside Jewish categories, I find great use for the many styles of lyrics and music available that can serve the Jewish people in many ways. Many Jewish audiences, however, are reluctant to allow these influences into their lives. Those more open-minded are, unfortunately, part of the minority within the active buying market of Jewish music.

Talk amongst yourselves. Here are some topics. Discuss. No fighting... not yet, anyway.
  • Is it just entertainment, or is there more to it?
  • The rules of Jewish music are always changing...or are they?
  • Should they be?
  • Should there be rules at all?
  • Is there really such a thing as music that is "purely Jewish?"
  • What is the purpose of Jewish music in American life?
Feel free to jump in at any time...