Earl's Pearls
By Earl Meyers

Music in the nineties . . . which way will it take us? For some reason, in the past year or so I keep feeling that the music industry is going to explode in avenues never explored. Maggie Cavender, Director Emeritus of NSAI, expressed during lunch with several of us at the Dreamwriters' Workshop in Owensboro, Ky. on May 17, that she felt major changes were about to happen in the music industry. Neither of us went into detail, but I am sure there are others who have similar feelings.

At the end of the '80s, rap is stronger than ever and is spilling over into rock, pop, etc. Rock is hard, soft and described in other forms, revitalized originals, etc. The pendulum continues to swing in country from traditional roots to sprouts of Lyle Lovett, k.d. lang, etc. On and on -- the times, they are a-changin', as Bob Dylan might say.

Sure, music and sound equipment have changed dramatically, and the average song played on the radio has also changed over the past 25 years. Videos are breaking in and making new artists overnight. However, music in general seems to be in a "lull" period.

I recently discussed music with a couple from Sweden who told me Sweden was heavily influenced by American music as many other European countries are. Their pop music was primarily American pop. It seems to me like the rest of the world has their traditional roots, but their youth adopts American music perhaps because our roots are from every country around us and we are so rich, fresh and varied in our music expressions and experiences.

Who could have dreamed of the fall of the East Berlin Wall or the selling of Big Macs in Russia in the 20th century? Imagine a few more walls falling and a few more million of the world's youth hearing the sounds of the latest music and that same youth having access to the latest music and equipment? Music could take on a whole new meaning, not to mention more competition. The latter doesn't scare me because new directions and competition should offer more incentives for a good songwriter.

Major music influences, from other countries, may not come about in the next ten years -- it's only speculation. However, don't be surprised if we in the USA and those in the rest of the world don't soon wake up to some revolutionary music directions in the '90s. I feel it coming and welcome the challenge of a new era in music.