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Michael J. "McDaniel" Cox Keeps Making Smooth Sounds in Music City
by Rich and Laura Lynch
There's something about a solitary saxophone blowing in the wind the can convey real feeling - perhaps even sadness. When we met horn player Michael J. "McDaniel" Cox on September 2, 2020 it was under circumstances that neither of us wanted or could have ever imagined. Then he told us his own personal story on why he was playing for tips on a street corner in a tragic tale of two ways Nashville has changed - and not for the better.
Michael J. McDaniel Cox Keeps Making Smooth Sounds in Music City
Michael J. McDaniel Cox hasn't really worked in his chosen profession since the day after Thanksgiving in 2019 when he returned home at one in the morning following a gig downtown. Any good feeling from the holiday was quickly erased when the talented sax player was robbed at gunpoint losing his instrument, briefcase, phone, computer and other valuables. Then - to add injury to insult - he was pistol whipped in the face resulting in a broken jaw.
McDaniel had his damaged mouth wired for repair and was ready to get back out on the scene in March when he was struck down again - this time by a much less visible assailant - the threat of Covid 19 that has decimated the music industry here in Nashville and around the world. Michael reported to us that he was scheduled to be on two major tours that were canceled resulting in the loss of a hefty yearly salary.
Cox - who calls himself "The Saxologist" - has been forced to take up less glamorous stages in town consisting of parking lots and shopping centers to simply survive and pay his bills. He has to compete with an ever growing number of pan-handlers and homeless who have been displaced by the devastating economic impacts of the pandemic. But, the difference and advantage he has over others is the amazing powerful sound of his horn that can flow un-amplified like a pleasurable calling card for hundreds of yards on a clear day.
McDaniel is surely not alone in this miserable moment for Nashville musicians. But, if our politicians don't do something quick to get our players back to work in their normal settings soon a much larger band could emerge on the side of this town's roads - and that's not music to anyone's ears.
For more information on MICHAEL J. MCDANIEL COX and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -
Michael J. "McDaniel" Cox on ReverbNation