The holiday season is here. As a fan of Tuscaloosa music, I’m not sure how I feel about that. What usually happens is that Tuscaloosa has a few big-bang shows toward the end of Dead Week, perhaps a couple of more just as people begin to make their exodus out of town ’till next semester; inevitably the really cool, local shows are to be found in Birmingham, the city that doesn’t suffer from holiday slumps.
Actually, Birmingham is a fine example of how shows actually seem to pick up and get better during mid-to-late December. I have found myself on more than one occasion back in Birmingham around that time period for concerts, several that feature our local bands. It’s sometimes sad that our businesses and artists rely so heavily on the college population, though that’s not completely and always the case.
Christmas and Hanukkah seasons are also the perfect time to give back to the community and count yourself as part of something, no matter where you go for your seasonal break; it’s a perfect time to catch up on albums that you’ve missed out on throughout the year, and I’d like to recommend that you pick up, or at least try your best to support by listening to, Tuscaloosa bands. I’ve gone out of my way to mention the growing number that our community has, so many of whom have albums online, in stores, or both. I believe that next year will find us having more artists and more albums from our own. Take a little time before you head out (or log on) to shop to get a local album going in whatever vein you wish: iTunes, Spotify, bandcamp, CD, or vinyl. Any artist will do as long as it suits your tastes — Tuscaloosa music has the variety.
You actually do more than you realize by buying local music and going to local shows. When actually buying the music, you are oftentimes supporting local businesses, like Oz Music, which could be the only carrier for that local musician or band. Other times, you’re directly giving back to locals, which is especially true of going to shows. I can’t think of a Tuscaloosa band that hasn’t been appreciative of me being at their show. So many even take the time to tell me after the show. It really is a special thing to be as noticed as a member of the audience as the artist is on the stage. It’s a feeling that we, both the community and the artists, can keep cultivating by supporting each other.
So, reach out and give that band or visual artist a little of your time or maybe ten bucks that you know that you can go without. It is so much more meaningful than giving it to the likes of “Top 40 Artist X or Y,” artists who never know the difference.
While you go shop for others this time of year, consider some local music as a treat for yourself or for someone on your shopping list. There are a lot of bands out there. The more that we support them, the more they can continue to not only make more music for us to enjoy but to feel encouraged to stick around and be “our” bands.
You know, we can always say we saw them first.