On Tuesday evening, I focused on a guitarist playing with the band during breaks between speakers, and before my husband could say it, I did. That’s G.E. Smith!
I don’t know who books the RNC entertainment, but I know Smith’s guitar wizardry very well.
When he was musical director of Saturday Night Live, Smith was the only reason we watched the show. We’d ignore the skits, waiting for the breakaway when we’d get to see him.
Smith has a long list of accomplishments including playing with Bob Dylan and Hall and Oates.
I like to study the way guitarists approach their instrument. Some guitarists are mega-dexterous, ably picking and riffing as far as the mechanics go, but they often lack the spiritual component that takes an individual from performer to artist.
Smith is an artist. When he plays, that guitar is part of his body. He is as much fun to watch as listen to.
As I listened to Beau Davidson sing ‘Blessed,’ I wondered if Smith was having to restrain himself because the guitar was more a setting than a participant in the delivery. I feel the same way sometimes when I go to hear my daughter perform. At upscale restaurants where the music is background, I know she’s restraining her voice deliberately—she has to. She’s a lean girl but she’s got big vocals. At venues where she can cut loose, she loves it.
As we watched the convention, Smith was a sweet surprise for my family. I can’t say enough good things about this amazing musician who has brought us so much joy. Sometimes I wonder if music doesn’t work a lot like a drug because if you’re hooked on music, you really never lose the need to hear it.
I suppose that’s what hooked me on poetry early in my writing career—I just couldn’t stop those words rattling around in my head no matter what I did. When I began to write politics, I put my poetry in the closet. I still write it, but I don’t even try to publish although editors do sometimes ask me and I provide. U.S. poetry is in the realm of the Left at present because it's largely subsidized by the U.S. government.
At any rate, kudos to the agent who booked Smith and the band he’s playing with in Tampa.
And a sidenote to media—take note. Cameraman (or woman), give us some closeups of Smith’s hands when he’s doing some magic on that guitar. He’s an American treasure and I am glad to have encountered him once again.
I’m also glad he’s not xenophobic about his art. Often entertainers refuse to perform for groups that aren’t Leftist. I never understood that—I’m a Republican with Libertarian leanings, but I was always glad to share whatever talents I had with anyone.
As for SNL, we haven’t watched it since Smith left.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/August 30, 2012)