As I’m writing this column, we are all coming to terms with the impact and disruptions caused by the virus pandemic. But, perhaps it will be felt in no greater place than among our local performing musicians. And of course, the servers and owners at the many venues where live music happens.

With health guidelines dictating no gatherings larger than 10 people, that pretty much shuts it all down for the time being. So what can we do, as lovers of live music, to ease the disruption and help ensure our music scene can survive and prosper on the other side of this?

I caught up with Jimmy Davis, one of our full-time professional musicians here in Madison, and he had these suggestions. “Buy merch,” Jimmy said. “All the musicians have T-shirts and stickers and CDs and what have you available on their websites. Show your support and buy that stuff, now is the time. (If you go on Jimmy’s Facebook page and search his posts you’ll find a link to a really cool JimiD shirt.)

“The other thing you can do if a musician has recorded music is to stream their stuff. Go on Spotify or Apple Music and listen to it or download it. A portion of the revenue makes it back to the artist.”

Rusty Bladen echoed Jimmy’s thoughts. “Yeah, we all have merch on our websites and would really appreciate the support that way. Another thing I’m doing is looking at streaming performances on Facebook Live. That’s where you watch in real time as it happens, but on Facebook instead of in person.

“I’m going to start up some live streams in the next few days and probably do a little show every evening for a while. There will be an online tip jar, so show your support if you like what you hear.”

Something similar is happening this Friday, March 20, at 8 p.m. at Red Bicycle Hall. The very talented country singer Cody Ikerd will be performing on the Red Bike stage, but with no live audience. The entire show will be “live streamed” on Facebook Live. Go to the Red Bike’s Facebook at 8 p.m. to tune in.

Tony Novello, one of the partners at Red Bicycle Hall, is working with the guys from Unbroken Circle Productions to put on the show. “It’s a very exciting concept,” says Tony, “We’re calling it our COVIDeo Music Series. Our hope is to stream a new show at least once a week, for as long as this virus thing lasts. It’s a way to keep the music alive, and support the musicians.”

Which brings us to the final piece of the live music puzzle, the places where the music happens. The venues here in town that support and feature live music are going to be struggling just as much as the musicians. This goes for the servers, bartenders and kitchen workers as well the owners.

We all need to keep up our consistent support and patronage of these local businesses. The Taproom is still serving food on a carry out basis and I’m sure Thomas Family Winery is selling bread and wine. Mad Paddle Brewery is still selling their beer in the big 32 oz. cans they call Crowlers. The coffee shops are still selling carry out too.

Whatever you used to spend weekly on entertainment and going out, make sure you keep it up and spread it around, if you can. And if you have a favorite server or bartender, maybe seek them out and give them a little something extra to help hold them over. It’s going to be really hard for restaurant workers.

Hot tip of the week

Check out the fun live stream shows that are happening in the next few days. Rusty Bladen will be doing shows on a daily basis from his living room and the Red Bike will have weekly concerts on Facebook Live. I’m sure many more artists will get in the swing of live streaming too as things settle into a groove, so keep an eye out. Live music doesn’t stop, it just goes virtual! Let’s support these online music events and make a whole bunch of lemonade out of these lemons.