Troubador -Fall 2018
by: John Stanton
Jeff Ross is playing the guitar and singing before an audience at the brotherhood, or sandbar, or Millie’s, or some other place where the word “venue” no longer means what it once did, back when he was playing lead guitar for lou reed, or sitting in with the post-bob Marley version of the Wailers, when a packed house was a packed house.
Iwant to make a difference,” Ross said. “And I absolutely think music can change things, can help somebody through a moment, or through a bad day, or maybe make them fall in love. One thing is certain. Music, good or bad, live or canned, is making a difference all the time. So, maybe I reach one person in a crowd of 20.”
This goes on seven nights a week. It is not unusual for a summertime bar to hire somebody to play a few tunes while people eat their burgers, drink their drinks and generally have a good time. What is unusual is to walk into such a place and find a guitar player displaying such mastery of his instrument.
What is unusual is for that guy to tell you, with a straight face, that he finds playing tonight’s gig as rewarding as gigs when he backed up big singers in front of crowds counted in the tens of thousands, rather than on two hands.
“They come in and say they came to see you play,” Ross said. “They stay for a couple of hours, when you know they could have had something to eat and gone home in 45 minutes. For me, and I mean this, it is vastly more rewarding than getting on stage with The Wailers, at Langerado (a South Florida music festival), in front of 24,000 people.”
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