As the band, Gilbert flawlessly finished their first tune on stage at the Ridgefield Playhouse, I almost couldn't believe what I had just heard and seen.

Gilbert is a rock n' roll band out of Westchester, NY, but they're not just another rock band, they are five exceptionally talented teenage musicians who won first place honors at the 2017 Ridgefield Bandjam. Thankfully, I was in the audience as one of the judges, so I needed to pay close attention to all the different aspects of their performance which got me to thinking:

How can a rock band that sounds like a cross between Heart, Led Zeppelin, and Janis Joplin both musically and vocally not be destined for success?

Winners of the 2017 Ridgefield Bandjam - Gilbert
The High School Winners of the 2017 Ridgefield Bandjam - Gilbert

The success rate for breaking into the music business where you're able to pay rent, drive a car, and pay your bills is only about 1%. That's a 99% failure rate. I know, because my son Ethan James, who's a gifted singer/songwriter, has been working at breaking into the music business as a performer.

There's no denying that it's tough out there for rock bands and singer/songwriters trying their very best to acquire a fan base by selling their music and merchandise while playing as many gigs as humanly possible. It's the applause and accolades from the crowd. It's the lyrics inside your songs that tell a story you want everyone to hear. It's the passion that drives every up and coming musician.Tom Petty once said it perfectly:

Music is probably the only real magic I have encountered in my life. There's not some trick involved in it. It's pure and it's real. It moves, it heals, it communicates, and does all these incredible things."

This young band called Gilbert is the real thing. Just ask Rob Thomas when he caught them in Katonah and tweeted, "You guys killed it this Halloween in Katonah!! Great band!! Glad I caught it!!" Check out their new tune titled, "Way Back When" and then do yourself a favor and go see them play live!

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