Arlen & Lexie Roth

Last night was a very powerful and poignant night for many people in the Newtown/Sandy Hook area of Connecticut, where my daughter Lexie and I put on a show, along with many other musicians to raise money and most of all try to raise spirits for the people and community there who were hit so hard by the tragedy. It was as can be expected of these kinds of things, rather chaotic, and things “ran over” and late, people played too long, and all the other things that could occur, did!

One of the far and away best things for us was how we were able to connect with so many local players, many of whom I know, and some who I hadn’t seen nor played with for years! It’s unfortunate that in life there are so many times folks who should be together are actually reunited or united for the first time by something tragic. This of course, was and is a tragedy of monumental proportions that the entire world has been focused upon, and me having lost my wife and child in an equally shocking and tragic manner was pretty much the only performer who could relate to the audience and the victims in this way.

We performed tunes that were pertinent to the tragedy, while at the same time we also had some numbers that were meant to be a bit uplifting, if that is possible. Lexie had two very incredible songs about the loss of her mother and sister, “One Long Blink” and “Little One”, while I did things like “Ain’t No Sunshine”, “Ode to Billy Joe” and as an uplifting piece, my country rouser, “Upstate Rag.” It went over great, and I was amazed at the power of the energy in that theater when the audience would erupt in applause! It’s amazing what one entire audience as a group can really feel and communicate to the performers who were there. And these performers were feeling it!  It’s really something that can’t be described, and many of us just had to look at each other, and we understood the feeling we were having.

By bass player, Eddie Denise, also did a song with his son J.D., and I could see that Eddie needed to do this with his child, and hold him close, as I did with my Lexie.

They say that music can heal the soul, and soothe it, and in this case it certainly was doing some soothing for both the performers as well as the audience. But I can speak from experience that you can never truly heal from a tragedy like this. You can just try to go on, and put one foot in front of another, pick up your guitar, play it, and hope that once again your soul can soar just a little bit….

Gibson.com’s Arlen Roth, affectionately known The King of All Guitar Teachers, is music lesson pioneer and the quintessential guitarist. An accomplished and brilliant musician — and one of the very few who can honestly say he’s done it all — Roth has, over the course of his celebrated 35-year career, played on the world’s grandest stages, accompanied many of the greatest figures in modern music and revolutionized the concept of teaching guitar.