Shure PE50SP Vocal Microphone

This Shure PE50 pictured in the photo belongs to Donna Rawlins (my wife). She used it, on and off the road, in her band for ten years. The PE50 is a pro-version of the SM58, the most popular vocal mic in the world. Every singer and sound engineer knows this mic, and it’s little brother the SM57. It’s almost indestructible; I swear you can pound nails with it. 

As you can see by the photo, this mic holds many stories. The on-off switch was locked down so Donna wouldn’t accidentally turn it off when she threw it in the air or dropped it on the stage. Each dent in the screen is evidence of a power-performance. The paint’s worn off from handling it rehearsal after rehearsal and performance after performance, thousands of times. The wear speaks of the mastery-of-the-art of stepping on stage, fronting a band, staring down an audience until you don’t care––and then you can’t care. 

When I look at this mic, I think of Donna and my other singer musician friends. I see the years of commitment and work, lugging gear from gig to gig, the songs written and recorded, the agents and promoters, the record deal that didn’t quite happen. I also see the sacrifices, passed on relationships, families, homes, and jobs. But ground deeper than the dents in this mic are the scars I can still see in their faces … the broken dream. It’s a heartache that never completely heals.