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Arts & Culture

N.H. Musician: It's Actually A Nice Time To Enjoy Local Music

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With bars, restaurants and venues closed down indefinitely, it's harder than ever to be a working musician. But that doesn't mean New Hampshire artists aren't performing.

NHPR's Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Campton musician Jim Tyrrell to ask what he's doing while he can't play on stage.

You can watch Jim Tyrrell and other local New Hampshire musicians play live shows here.

Jim Tyrrell: This is pretty unprecedented for me, certainly, and for a lot of people. You know, we're all just kind of adjusting on the fly, but that's true of any industry, I suppose.

Rick Ganley: Yeah, you're part of a group of, I think, pretty tight musicians in central New Hampshire that play a lot of the same venues different nights of the week. What are you hearing from your friends and your fellow musicians?

Jim Tyrrell: Oh, I think we're all -- it is a pretty tight community, as you mentioned, and we're all connected on social media. So we're very supportive of one another. And we're just kind of, like I said, just trying to pull together and figure out what we can do. And there's a lot of live music happening on social media right now, which is an exciting thing. So that's good.

Rick Ganley: Yeah. You've got Facebook live. I know you've been doing performances regularly on Facebook. How well are they received?

Jim Tyrrell: People are real grateful. You know, it's really nice to see people tuning in for that and then being able to have a little bit of conversation with them as well. You know, it's the virtual pub experience kind of, except the football game isn't on the TV behind us when we're playing. We have a little bit more control over the environment in that way. So that's nice.

Rick Ganley: It's actually less distracting, I would imagine.

Jim Tyrrell: Yeah, in a way. It's a weird thing to adjust to to not get any real audience response when you're performing. But, you know, two shows out of three I'm in those situations anyway. So it's no big deal.

Rick Ganley: I have a lot of experience with just standing in a room alone talking into a microphone. So I understand that dynamic. Jim, tell me about what this means, though, financially for you. I know you're a full-time working musician.

Jim Tyrrell: Well, that's correct. I primarily am playing shows. I also work one day a week at the vintage fret shop over at Ashland. And I play organ for a church on Sundays. So those are my income streams basically. All of the shows have been canceled or postponed, of course. The fret shop is closed. The church is no longer meeting. So everything is on hold.

That said, I'm playing for the church still. I'm just doing it online. On Sunday mornings, I'll do four hymns for the congregation and then they can tune in at their leisure and check those out. I'm playing shows and occasionally people will throw a tip in the jar virtually through Venmo, or PayPal or something like that. And that's always appreciated, although I don't really make it a requirement. It's better to just be able to connect musically, but it's always nice when it comes in.

But right now, it's just sort of gather the resources. Figure out what's important. Be budget conscious and see how long this takes. Being, you know, a musician by trade and doing what I do, it's not quite a week to week existence, but it's not something that, you know, it doesn't have the security of punching the clock and getting a paycheck for sure.

Rick Ganley: What do you got planned for the next few days?

Jim Tyrrell: Oh, well, this weekend I'll be playing. I'll probably do a request show. You know, I love it when people are requesting songs. It makes it spontaneous and interactive. Sunday, of course, I'll play the hymns for my friends at the church, and I'll be tuning into as many other shows as I can see. I'm sure Holly Furlone and a bunch of other friends will be performing live. Chris White, Audrey Drake, they've been doing a bunch of live shows. There's a Facebook group called NH Music Livestream and you can check out a whole bunch of them there. It's actually a nice time to enjoy local music.

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