Living the Sweet Life: Music Gets a Stage of Its Own

By Alisa Murray
Nationally recognized
portrait artist and
award-winning columnist.

Music has always been a large part of my life. Growing up in North Carolina, we never left for a vacation without packing my Daddy’s guitar, a mandolin and a harmonica. We would head to the mountains and sit on the porch overlooking the Blue Ridge Parkway and set about to makin’ music, mostly hymns and downhome bluegrass. My sister had some pipes on her too, and a large part of my childhood memories are remembering those great times when we all were connected in harmony.

When my children were little, they too grew up with instruments in our house. Regularly we sat and played and sang, giving them the gift of both experiences in sounds and also creating for them memories of creating music with their parents.  Music is something that everyone relates to, and in times of joy and sorrow, it has the ability to uplift us and enable us to breathe and hear and reflect so that we can carry on.

Alisa with sister Elizabeth enjoying Daddy Evan’s music in the mountains.

Alisa with sister Elizabeth enjoying Daddy Evan’s music in the mountains.

It was not surprising to me that I married a musician. Brian has been playing guitar since we were 13. His love for music, in particular rock and roll, has been an integral part of our lives for the past 31 years. His most loved is Eddie Van Halen and his “Frankenstein” guitar, which Brian painted himself a look alike and bellows out rifts of Eddie’s daily. God knows on my bucket list is to get those two connected somehow. I honestly think if Brian were to ever meet Eddie, let alone get to play with him, he might just die right there and be a happy camper in artsy heaven!

As an artist, I paint, draw and of course, shoot, and our museums reflect an appreciation of those mediums in the arts. As noted on their website, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the world’s largest and finest art museums. Its collection includes more than two million works of art spanning five thousand years of world culture, from prehistory to the present and from every part of the globe.

Brian Murray and “Frankenstein.”

What has not always been elevated to the level of a museum exhibition is the musicians, their instruments and an honoring of their talents in such a venue. My brushes and camera are some of the most intimate possessions that I have. The instruments that musicians play and have created music with are their muses and are equally important to be recognized as “art.” So when I learned about the latest offering at The Met, I was totally stoked that our rock stars, so comfortable performing in front of us, would be getting a stage to honor their talents and contributions like us painters and shooters have enjoyed for so many years. What’s more, “Frankenstein” would be included! Totally rad man!!!

The latest installment at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York entitled “Play It Loud” runs at The Met through October 1st before traveling to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame  in Cleveland, where it will be on view from November 2019 through September 2020. The exhibit features the drums that Ringo played on the Ed Sullivan Show, the double-neck guitar Don Felder played with The Eagles, our beloved Van Halen “Frankenstein,” as well as Jerry Lee Lewis’ baby grand piano. I was thrilled to hear about the exhibition and pleased both as an artist and fellow of the arts to see these creators being elevated and recognized like the fine artists that they are. “Play It Loud” will finally give our society an opportunity to recognize and experience the vast contribution that music offers to everyone. Like fine art, music gifts us with an enrichment to our lives that transcends all walks of life and across all places in time. If you can, you should most definitely check it out!

Take Care of YOU!


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