Local Beat: ALittleBlind sees value of small community

Big music can often come from tiny towns. John “Gusty” Gustavson and Jason Hill know this all too well. The pair makes up ALittleBlind, a community- oriented alternative jam band from around Livonia, New York. Recently, ALittleBlind has been performing in Geneseo where the small-town lifestyle is alive and well. Vocalist and guitarist Hill and bassist Gustavson have been playing together since high school. Each of them has been immersed in music from a young age; Gustavson has loved music since he was 3 years old and Hill has been playing since he was 13. Both are self-taught musicians.

Livonia is not exactly a booming metropolis––a small- town environment can make it difficult to gain a widespread fan base. A small community does have its perks, however. Hill ad- mits that coming from such a town “has driven [the band] to be better dreamers.”

Both band members spoke about the closing of Muddy Waters, the recently closed coffee shop on Geneseo's Main Street that was well known for hosting open mic events. “There needs to be somewhere around here where musicians can come and express themselves,” Gustavson said.

Despite the closing of their favorite venue, ALittleBlind is doing everything it can to stay relevant in Geneseo. Their goal, however, is to see success in their hometown. “It’s tough to gain a fan base locally, especially with the Internet these days—it’s just so much easier to sit at home on your computer and watch Beyoncé’s newest music video [than it is to go out and see local live bands],” Gustavson said.

The band’s name is unique and the decision to eliminate space between the words is sure to stick with those who stumble upon its performances. The meaning behind the name is an idea very close to the band: be- ing in love. “If you’re in love and someone is messing with you, you won’t really notice ... because you’re in it, you know?” Gustavson said.

ALittleBlind enjoys cover- ing groups such as Dave Mat- thews Band and Phish. Along with a plethora of covers, the band has about 10 original songs. The duo prefers acoustic numbers and timeless folk vibes, which may be a product of their small town roots.

Gustavson writes most of the chord progressions and melodies, while Hill provides lyrics and voice along with some acoustic backing. “We’re emotional about our lyrics,” Hill said. “Family is so important when it comes to musicianship.” This sort of emo- tion is what attracts and embraces a community audience like Geneseo’s.

The band can often be found performing on Thursdays be- tween 3-6:30 p.m. at the Geneseo Farmer’s Market located on Main and Center Street. These perfor- mances are free and open to both students and community mem- bers. ALittleBlind’s next live per- formance will be on Oct. 16 at the Market. Some original and cover music can be found online at facebook.com/alittleblindband.