Musical variety


Riding the T every morning, I’ve gotten used to the usual musicians that rotate through the Davis Square stop. Occassionally there will be someone new — like Morgan and his friend with the stand-up bass and fiddle playing Irish folk songs. But I usually never see those folks more than once. Half the time it’s the same handful of people — the guy with the hand painted box for collecting change, the guy who sounds like James Taylor and sings the song about the downtown train, the kid with his Beatles chord book, and the guy who was playing this morning, who I will refer to as Acoustic Guitar Man.
Acoustic Guitar Man sounds pleasant enough the first time you hear him — just his guitar, no singing, plucking melodic melodies in a way reminiscent of elevator music. But if you see him often enough, or if you happen to get stuck waiting an extra long time for the train, you discover Acoustic Guitar Man’s secret — he only knows three songs. This usually suffices to fool people, because by the time his set recycles, you’ve already gotten on the train and left. Normally, it wouldn’t be quite so bad — “Downtown Train” guy usually sings the “Downtown Train” song and I don’t mind because I like the song and his other songs sound sufficiently different. But Acoustic Guitar Man plays “My Heart Will Go On” from “The Titanic,” which happens to make me cringe. And his renditions of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and “The Rainbow Connection” wind up sounding like music from “The Titanic” as well. And so instead of being compelled to throw change in his guitar case, I have to resist the urge to grab his guitar and throw it on the train tracks.
But this morning, as “The Rainbow Connection” wound down, a holiday miracle occurred. He started playing something different — “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” What’s more, it didn’t sound like it came out of “The Titanic” soundtrack. I was so shocked and delighted that I threw a dollar into his guitar case. I can only hope that he uses that money to buy himself a new songbook.


2 responses

  1. Greetings from Maine! Ah…this takes me back to my short stint in Boston (one stop closer – Porter Square, actually). Someone should shoot AGM for the next Celine Dion-esque tune he mutters…that’s no good!

  2. Here in the land of perpetual summer, we don’t much cotton to street musicians nor do we have insular places like the T-squares to keep them warm, contented and within purview of captive audiences; albeit ones hieing by.
    And in the true spirit of Christmas, we don’t allow SA bell-ringers in front of our finer retail establishments lest they cheapen the shopping experience; the wonder of the season for those in full-on pursuit of the yuletide commercial experience. We don’t appreciate them searching for the Target audience, so to speak.
    While it spares us the maudlin mush of the “Iamthekingoftheworld” soundtrack, it does seem to leave a yawning hole in the Advent time. Perhaps we can allow them to sell matches whilst poorly clothed and standing no closer than 100 yards from the grand entrances. Ah, visions of sugar plums dance…