Music from Home attracts thousands of music fans
By Sue Tiffin
Days into staying at home to stay safe and help prevent the spread of coronavirus, Brent Coltman, a guitar player and musician who regularly jammed when community could gather had the idea of sharing a video or two of the songs he was playing on Facebook. He wasn’t exactly sure how to do that, but his nephew, Aaron Brown, stepped in to help, suggesting that rather than Brent posting to his personal page, he launch a public page on Facebook so that the general public could join in. Music From Home was created soon after.
“I posted the very first video, I was
playing for a group of one, and by that afternoon we probably had two to
300 people,” said Brent.
Five days later, more than 1,570 people had joined. And now, since March 10, the site is followed by more than 2,600 people – many of them local, but some from as far away as the Yukon, the Maritimes and Europe, many of those people noting a connection to the area.
“Not in a million years, not in a million years,” said Brent from his Minden home, when asked if he had expected the popularity of the page. “Just my friends, my friends and family posting some of their songs and videos and we’d laugh at them and joke at them, that was the original plan.”
Instead, the page has become a
place where musicians – amateur or not – are encouraged. Many of the
videos are uploaded by people who don’t perform publicly, and are
hesitant and humble in their posts, but who receive encouraging comments
from those watching, including the site administrators, Brent, his wife
Annie, and nephew Aaron.
“I’m just blown away with how people have responded, and so impressed with the local talent,” said Brent. “People I grew up with, like Kevin Fairey, I didn’t even know he sang. I didn’t even know he played guitar and he just lived down the road from me.”
Brent is self-employed and usually has the winter off, but joked that being an administrator on the site – making sure the videos stick to the rule of being live-recorded or live – is “a full-time job.”
“This just makes your days go by,” he said. “I’ve had probably 30 people calling the house saying ‘this is incredible, we don’t even watch Netflix anymore. We don’t watch the videos during the day, we have an early supper, and we spend the whole evening watching music videos.’”
said the site is beneficial to those who want to see familiar faces and
find comfort in the music being shared, but also to those who find the
courage to upload videos of original music, songs sung in the quiet of
the front seat of a car, and songs that are usually sung alone or with
“I’m probably the shyest guitar player in the world,” said Brent. “But when I’m sitting on my favourite couch with my guitar, and the iPad set up on my music stand and I play a song, I’m not playing to anybody. I’m just sitting with my guitar. You don’t get the comments that there’s 1,500 people. When you hit post, now you’ve got three Minden arenas listening to you, technically, you’ve got 1,500 people sitting in their living room looking at you playing the song, but there’s no pressure when you do the song.”
Brent noted there are also well-known local musicians posting videos.
“It’s like a personal concert in your living room,” he said. “They’re in their living room stuck, singing a song to you.”
But he also gets a kick out of, “the little kids playing a ukulele for grandma and grandpa.”
In a video posted in the group March 31, Annie thanked members for sharing their music with each other.
“You have given us all a warm welcome into your homes, and lives,” she said. “You have placed us beside you on the couch, and put us at your kitchen table. You’ve kept us warm beside your wood stove and let us peek at you making maple syrup. Everyone has come together like a very large family. Isolation is difficult, especially anyone suffering from mental illness or living alone. Music connects us all, whether we can play, write, sing, listen or heal from it ... Please stay safe, and look each after each other, as we are all making memories.”
To listen in or share a tune, visit Music From Home on Facebook.