Most people understandably associate Nashville with country music and country musicians. Nashville has done an excellent job of marketing itself as “Music City.” But it’s not just country artists who are attracted to Nashville. Jazz and blues guitar great Larry Carlton calls Nashville home, and he was recently featured in Nashville Arts magazine. In one aspect of the article, Carlton discusses the difference between his early motivations and young guitarists today:
“I was motivated by the music,” he says. “I played because I was looking for emotional fulfillment. Once a person has experienced a special moment, you want to experience it again if you can. Once you become consequent enough in the instrument to start feeling what chord you want to play on a certain song, then you strive for that because it feels so good. That was my process.
“I get a sense that over the last twenty years many of the young guitar players want to be stars. That’s different from wanting to be a guitar player or a musician for the passion of the music. And if the motivation isn’t pure, then the truth isn’t spoken through your music.”
I touched on this topic a few years ago. I would actually say becoming a star became more of a motivating force than playing music about 30 years ago in the 80s when hair metal and MTV became popular. That being said, I’m actually encouraged by some of the young musicians making music today. While American Idol and Guitar Hero have certainly encouraged the star mentality, I think there are still a lot of young musicians making music today because they love music.