Troubadour: one of a class of lyric poets and poet-musicians often of knightly rank who flourished from the 11th to the end of the 13th century chiefly in the south of France and the north of Italy and whose major theme was courtly love.
Today the Troubadours still exist making their living from their music one night at a time. Walter Finley is a great example of a Modern Day Troubadour. I asked him what it felt like to have his sole income be generated by his voice and the instrument in his hand, what does his day to day life look like… “I am a troubadour, I travel around to different towns and cities looking for places to play. I literally walk into venues and say can I play here just like the poet-musician’s of times past. Nobody knows my name when I get started, I have to play a few cover songs to win them over and get them to like me, I have to start up some kind of dialogue and get them involved which is when I am able to introduce my original music. I love to tell the stories behind the songs.”
What’s your biggest high when you’re out playing? “…when I'm playing songs I have written I can't help but pour my heart into it and I feel the audience and myself become one for a few minutes that gets me higher than anything I know.”
What is the toughest part of what you do? “When I play a show and become background music. In the same respect that it’s exhilarating to have those moments when you and the audience become one it’s very difficult to poor your
your heart out to a room full of people and just be viewed as some kind of noise that they have to rise above to have a conversation, those moments feel very lonely.”
Why do you do it? It seems like a hard way to carve out your spot in this world. “Because at the end of the day, whether I was background noise for a moment, the star of my own one man show for 30 people or standing on stage in front of thousands… those moments when you hear a crowd singing your song back to you, when someone comes up to me and lets me know that they loved one of my songs, that the words touched them it makes me feel good and I know I made a difference.”
The Troubadour still exists, going from town to town, place to place, making a living pouring their heart out through their music one night at a time.