Where would we be without the music? What kind of world would we be living in, without the near constant accompaniment of sounds organized into rhythm, pitch, timbre and so forth? Where would we be without the beauty of Beethoven and Mozart? Without such strange notions as country, rock 'n' roll, blues, jazz and hip-hop? What if the world were always filled with noise, but never music? "Without music," wrote philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, "life would be a mistake!"

I'm assured that my friends, Laurel Hay and Ben Tomandl, two talented musicians, agree with me. We sat at a table next to a vacant stage and discussed the Half-Moon Rising Singer/Songwriter Showcase, a monthly music event orchestrated by none other than Ben and Laurel. Each showcase features performances of at least three talented singer-songwriters from the Wisconsin/Minnesota area. Lifelong career musician, PK Mayo, provides jaw-dropping rhythm/lead guitar during each performance.

I highly encourage anyone with an appreciation for music to attend the First Year Anniversary

Showcase of Half-Moon Rising, taking place at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 17 at Ziggy's Restaurant in Stillwater. An awesome total of 25 local musicians will perform their songs live. This is one unique event you will not want to miss!

Ben and Laurel will perform at this showcase as well. Together they have formed a touring duo known as "The Pickled Beats." They also perform separately. In late 2016, Laurel released her debut album, "Oh, the Places I'd Go," a wonderful record with a distinctive, yet varied Americana/Country tone. To learn more about Laurel and/or to purchase her album, one needs

only to search: www.laurelhay.com

We're fortunate to be living in an artistically rich community, and in such an interesting time. An

underground scene of music, painting and writing is blossoming all around us. In New Richmond alone, musicians are making debut albums left and right, painters and photographers are featuring their work in coffee houses (see Dunn Brothers Coffee), and provocative writers are infiltrating their city newspapers with columns solely about art (hmmm)!

In other news ...

There's an old saying, which voters in the most recent election will understand: "all politics is local." Well, all art is local too! It all starts right here ... in our schools, in the galleries, in this

newspaper, in the live music venues and more specifically, at the New Richmond Friday Memorial Library.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, April 18, a Local Authors Showcase will be held at the Library. Jim Guhl will read from his first novel, "Eleven Miles to Oshkosh," and answer questions from the audience. Several members from the Willow River Writers Group will be reading aloud their work as well (to include yours truly). Do you love to read, or even dabble in writing yourself? Make sure to mark your calendars.

I will now share our creative quotation for the week, this one from the brilliant musician and composer Frank Zappa, who wrote, "Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom.

Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is THE

BEST."