Call The Musician #2: Bigger Than Phil

Now I’m spending almost as much time in music as I am in medicine, I’ve noticed that the “degrees of separation” between me and others seem to have been reduced from a purported six to…well, about negative-one.

Yes, there is the fostering of relationship when people play music together, but the connectionological power of music doesn’t stop there - it also manifests connections between people that existed before the actual playing of the instruments together. A couple of examples:

Forget being a fireman - I wanted to play the guitar

In 1960, I was in first grade in Hebrew school. In strode “The Hi-Lighters,” singing in Hebrew and English in three-part harmonies. Forget being a fireman or whatever, I wanted to play the guitar - with these guys!

In 2016, my wife and music partner Marla secured a gig for us at Conor O’Neill’s in Ann Arbor, Michigan, through Marty Somberg, Irish fiddler extraordinaire - and former Hi-Lighter. I played the guitar with Marty, fulfilling a dream over a half-century later.

I met Rory’s guitar 21 years before I met Rory

In 1985, I was part of a psychiatric practice in which my best friend was Dr B. Dr B tried to sell me a 1946 Gibson LG (pictured). I demurred. Dr B left the group after meeting a ‘wonderful woman ambulance driver’. In 2006, I met Rory McNamara, whose singing showed me that everything I believed conferred “quality” in music was wrong.

Three years later, I was in a group with him and discovered the “wonderful woman ambulance driver” was Rory’s ex-wife, and Rory’s guitar was the Gibson LG I didn’t buy. I met Rory’s guitar 21 years before I met Rory. And I have a lot more of these stories (and feel free to let me know of yours).

We all looked up at the sky and said, ‘There’s something bigger than Phil’

Forget Freud, my Guide for the Perplexed is Mel Brooks as “The 2000 Year Old Man.” When asked whether he remembered a time before people believed in God, he replied, “Yeah, we believed in a guy Phil - big chest, big arms - but then Phil got hit by lightning and he died. And we all looked up at the sky and said, ‘there’s something bigger than Phil!’”

The connectionological nature of music is multifaceted, variegated in its experiential hues, and cares nothing for conventional parameters of time and space. And its raw power is clearly “bigger than Phil.”

About the author...BRUCE S. VICTOR, MD

Bruce was born at a very early age in Detroit, Michigan.  More here...  
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