The power of the network

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_D5C5045brianby Brian Clarey

The kid had the decency not to ditch me until the first band had finished its set on the small stage at the Creative Center in northeast Greensboro.

I admired his restraint. Fully half the people in the room were his classmates at Weaver Academy — musicians, singers and dancers, mostly — and he had been eyeing the group since we first walked in.

But this piece is not about my son or his school. Not exactly. Nor is it about the show we caught together Thursday night or even the building it was held in — though that building and some of the people who gather there saved my life just a few short years ago. But all of these things came into play in the life lesson I wanted to impart.

I’m talking about the network: that web of human interaction that makes incredible things possible. And I’d been thinking for months about how to make my firstborn son understand that concept.

I ran into the Boston Boys at Crafted in downtown Greensboro on Thursday; they were eating tacos with my friend Russ Dunn. I’d heard they were going to be in town — frontman Eric Robertson is a local kid and, as it turns out, a Weaver grad.

I made a halfhearted promise to try and get to the show, and then went to pick up my kid.

When he got in the car, he was raving about a band that had stopped by his school that day, that they were playing a show that night and that we should go.

Yep: the Boston Boys.

From that point on I let fate guide me.

We went to the show, where my son sat with all of his classmates after the first set, a sophisticated performance from Jordan Robertson — Weaver student and Eric’s younger brother.

Then the Boston Boys erupted onstage with a hipster boogie that at once gave me hope for the future of music and instantly reminded me of the Infamous Stringdusters, my old friend Andy Falco’s band.

Turned out the Boston Boys were headed to see Falco in the morning. They were playing a set at the Festy Experience, an annual outdoor jam the Stringdusters hold in Charlottesville, Va.

Furthermore, Boston Boys drummer Nicholas Falk went to grad school at my alma mater, Loyola University in New Orleans.

In the aftermath, with all the connections in the network reinforced, I saw the light of recognition in my son’s eyes. He finally understood what I had been talking about all these months.

“It really is a small world,” he said in the car on the way home.

It really is.