There's No Music Like Home

This Falmouth-based guitarist and songwriter can be seen playing in a duo with his brother Tyler as well as with his full band, Rula Bula.

Johnny Gwynn - This Falmouth-based guitarist and songwriter can be seen playing in a duo with his brother Tyler as well as with his full band, Rula Bula.

I’m still a newbie to the Cape Cod music scene, but my time spent playing in other areas of the world has allowed me to see the potential this place has for music.

While there are few venues and people’s provincial mindset tends to keep them close to home, compared to some other destinations, we got the workings of something good.

Growing up in Falmouth, I really loved rock music. My biggest problem with the Cape was that there were very few outlets for a teenager to play. Local shows in high school were predominantly dictated by hardcore music while bars catered to more of a jam band and cover band crowd. I believed this place was stifling me and my musical pursuits.

When I wanted out, I did as the pioneers did and looked West to fulfill my manifest destiny.

Phoenix, AZ: a boomtown for colleges and great bands like Gin Blossoms and Jimmy Eat World. Seems like a musical oasis on paper, but in reality the music scene was less nurturing than the desert that surrounded it.

If you didn’t play country or techno music, you were out of luck. Most of the bands that did find any success quickly booked it to neighboring LA to try their luck. Even around the college, clubs turned me away because they only wanted DJs. After living on the Cape where even on a Thursday night you can find live music at the local bar, in Phoenix the scene was “no bueno.”

I quickly decided to look abroad and picked a place solely on a promising music scene: Manchester, England. Home to Oasis and The Smiths, among others, and known for its crazy music scene. Music is engrained in the culture; you can find great live music in every hole in the wall or club.

Therein lies the problem: there was so much music that bands easily got lost in the shuffle. I saw and played with some of the best bands I’ve ever heard, and every night they’d play to 10 people or less. It can be quite discouraging.

Which brings me back to the Cape. Live music is still a staple of most Cape bars, especially during the summer tourist season.  We are close enough to big cities but can carve out an identity, nurturing talent along the way. While the venues, bands, and fans could always step it up some, we should take pride in the good thing we have going here.

Musicians always want to move beyond their borders, but we should take comfort in the fact that we live in a place that still appreciates live music.

I hope to be able to play music far and wide for as long as I can, but while I’m here, there’s no place like home


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  • cape-cod music-scene

    great article! We reposted @