Saturday, June 30, 2012

hear i am.

There are certain moments and times of days, times of years, that can only be filled with certain songs and certain bands. Rainy, cloudy days seem to call out for a song from the Counting Crows, playing in the car, with raindrops singing right along. The Civil Wars are good for that as well. I find Ryan Adams' music, especially "Two," "Oh My Sweet Carolina" and (most especially) "Come Pick Me Up" to be good late-at-night, headphones on, music. I like listening to Ron Pope's music riding around in the car, playing "Virginia" and "Headlights on the Highway," and pretending to be traveling somewhere. The same kind of going somewhere feeling happens when I listen to Ray LaMontagne. Dave Matthews has always been my go-to when I can't decide what to listen to, and so I guess there is something to be said for that. Rob Thomas reminds me of summer, and Norah Jones is best played in the fall. I don't know why. But it's true.

And then, there are those special songs and bands that fill the moment with memory and remembering. With familiarity. Matchbox 20, for example. I've listened to their songs for years, over and over, and they never get old, they just linger. "3 AM" and "If You're Gone," especially, are always there in a peaceful, haunting kind of way. Train has had a similar impact over the years, with songs like "Mississippi" and "Getaway" making a permament mark somewhere inside. Ryan Adams reminds me of the beach, of the road trip, "Let It Ride," in particular. John Mayer's songs have always been good for moments of hesitation, knowing I could find a sincere warmth there. Kings of Leon will forever remind me of driving to work with the lights of DC behind me. With the nighttime slowly but surely creeping in. That's a feeling that will never be shaken, but nevertheless, the memory is there. Taylor Swift's songs, on the other hand, remind me of coming home, and Sara Bareilles' of getting it back, when the lights went out over the big city.

Listening to.. many different songs tonight. Thank goodness for iPods. "Funny The Way It Is," Dave Matthews Band. "Mockingbird" by Rob Thomas. Sara Bareilles' "King Of Anything."

I think I could write about music forever. It's certainly been the easiest theme, so far, for me to write about. And I know it's because it's such a big part of me. Always has been. It's something that emphasizes the moment, that secures the feeling, good or bad. It's something that has been playing right beside me as life decided to sing along.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

boogie shoes.

Listening to… “Ours” by Taylor Swift.

Sometimes, I dance in my room at night. Usually, I put the headphones on and find a catchy song and dance. Little embarrassing to admit, but there you go.

Dance, like music, has also always been in my life. I’ve heard I was tapping my feet and dancing around to music from the very beginning (I’ve seen it, too, in our old home movies, dancing on the stairs to “You Can’t Hurry Love”). I quickly earned the nickname Boogie. And from the time I was three until I graduated high school, I took dance lessons and taught dance my last two years of school. Dance has remained a part of my life since, thanks to countless ballets and dance performances and music videos and dance shows (I think I could watch dance all day, especially ballet). And we can’t forget the classic kitchen dances...

Music has forever moved me to dance.

And, every now and then, I just have to dance. It’s always a bit silly, random, but there I am, listening to the music and boogie-ing around.

Florence and the Machine has a couple songs in particular that are fun to dance to, including “Shake it Out.” Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger”? Also a good dance-around-your-room song. I remember the first time I heard Hanson’s “Give a Little,” and I literally jumped up and started dancing. It’s impossible not to when it comes to that song. But, no matter the song, I move, I smile and I’m happy.

Music has always stirred in me in one way or another. It’s a feeling, a rush, it’s moving. But, just as often as it moves me emotionally, music moves me.

And then, all she wants to do is dance.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

flowers follow.

Of all the Counting Crows’ lyrics that have stuck with me throughout the years, there’s one phrase in particular, from a little song called “High Life,” that has attached itself to me in particular.

A sea of flowers won’t bloom without the rain.
I’ve written about it before. I think I even said at one point that if I ever got a tattoo, it would be a tattoo of those nine words. And, in a lot of ways, that statement could kind of define this blog altogether… and the last four years or so.

Goodness knows it hasn’t all be easy. But, without fail, everything “bad” has been followed by generous, genuine good that, without the “bad,” would simply not have happened. Sure, other good would have followed, but not this good. Not the good I know, love and treasure. The good I wouldn’t change for anything. The good that was worth the “bad.”
There is a peaceful feeling that has settled in. A familiar sense of quiet and calm rising out. I can’t say I am happy every second of every day, but I can say there is an underlying, ever-constant feeling of happiness within. The trustworthy feeling that everything will be all right. Plain and simple. The understanding that, even with the rain, flowers follow.

Listening to… The Wallflowers, “One Headlight.”

Thursday, June 14, 2012

in my car.

One of my very favorite things to do is drive around listening to music. I know it seems simple, but I enjoy it and always have. I’ve always thought that music sounds best in a car (or with headphones on). It’s as if you can hear it better, really hear it. I like to turn the volume up especially loud, to the point the side-mirrors are shaking a bit and I can feel the sound in my heart.

I find it particularly fun to listen to new music in the car. New music in itself excites me, but it’s especially exciting to purchase a new cd and rush to the car to listen to it, and listen to it loudly. And then, I begin my usual new-music-in-the-car-routine, listening to each song briefly, and finding those three or four songs on the album that almost instantly become my favorites – the songs I end up listening to about twenty times in a row (literally). There’s something about listening to one of those songs in a car – it’s a certain feeling, a very special kind of happiness.
The newest album I picked up was John Mayer’s Born and Raised, and right away, I found my favorites, driving along. “Something Like Olivia” got to me first. It reminds me a lot of Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason,” another song I’ve always loved. “A Face to Call Home” also hit me from the very beginning, with its lyrics and memorable sound. And there I was, driving around and tapping my hands and feet to the songs.

I can’t remember all the times I’ve jumped in the car, eager to turn the music on and just drive. It may seem simple – it’s anything but.  To me, it’s happiness ringing in.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

beautiful words.

Lyrics have always had a special place in my heart. And my happiness. I read them like poetry. I read into them for deeper meaning. I keep lists of them, even a journal of lyrics. To me, lyrics are nearly-equally important as the music itself. Inspiring, understanding, moving, and some lyrics, just plain beautiful.

Inspiring.. encouraging.. a pick-me-up, a mental note
Get right to the heart of matters
It's the heart that matters more

If you've never stared off into the distance, then your life is a shame

I can't remember all the times I tried to tell my myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass

Understanding.. meant for the moment, the moment's feeling
A long December and there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can't remember the last thing that you said as you were leaving
Now the days go by so fast

Moving.. chill bumps and all
I wanted to see you walking backwards
And get the sensation of you coming home
I wanted to see you walking away from me
Without the sensation of you leaving me alone

Carrie's down in her basement all toe shoes and twinned
With the girl in the mirror who spins when she spins
From where you think you will end up to the state that you're in
Your reflection approaches and recedes again

Beautiful words
I walk along these hillsides
In the summer 'neath the sunshine
I am feathered by the moonlight
Falling down on me

On certain Sundays in November
When the weather bothers me
I empty drawers of other summers
Where my shadows used to be
She is standing by the water
As her smile begins to curl
In this or any other summer
She is something altogether different
Never just an ordinary girl

Step out the front door like a ghost
Into the fog where no one notices
The contrast of white on white.
And in between the moon and you
The angels get a better view
Of the crumbling difference between wrong and right

All of these lyrics are from the Counting Crows (listening to.. "Mrs. Potter's Lullaby"). Though I have been a lyrics-enthusiast for many years, their lyrics have always been the ones I come back to again and again, and read over and over. They call me back. And whether they move me personally, or just move me because of their beauty, their lyrics are the lyrics that move me, stick with me, like no other. Happiness, in the lines of a song..

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

listen in.

I enjoy finding and hearing new music. I will admit, though, I tend to stick with the same bands and singers and look forward to new music from my regulars. Every so often, a new band or singer will pop up, whether on the radio, or in a movie, or even on a television show. Many of my favorite songs can be found in the background of a movie, like Ryan Adams’ “Answering Bell” in Bridesmaids, “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray Lamontagne from I Love You Man, and Norah Jones’ “Come Away with Me” from Maid in Manhattan.  I even found one of my all-time favorite songs, “Poison and Wine” by the Civil Wars, in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

Part of this month, I plan to try out new music altogether. But for now, I’m going to check in on some new songs by my old favorites… John Mayer’s new album came out a couple weeks ago, and I have to say, “Walt Grace's Submarine Test, January 1967” – a song about a man who builds a submarine and travels to Japan to start a new life –  is my favorite off the cd. Jason Mraz also has a new album out, and his song “I Won’t Give Up” is, well, beautiful and moving and something I can’t stop listening to. Sara Bareilles, another of my favorites, released a few new songs recently as well, and I can't wait to listen to her new stuff, just as I’ve enjoyed hearing her previous songs, especially “Basket Case,” “Gravity” and “City.” Finally, the Counting Crows put out a new cd called “Underwater Sunshine” about two months ago, and the album featured all cover songs – with songs like “Amie” and “Mercy.” It’s been a good season of music, and I still have more music to check out, including the recently-released newest Norah Jones album, “Little Broken Hearts.”

I get really excited about new music. It’s nice to have so many of my favorite singers and bands with new music out now, all within the last couple months. New music overload. Almost. So, while I plan on finding brand new singers and bands this month, I’m content knowing my usuals are still around.

Listening to… Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up.”

Monday, June 4, 2012

where music rests.

I can’t remember a time when there wasn’t music in our house, when music wasn’t in my life. Whether it was new cds being shared with my mom, dad and brother, or my dad and brother playing guitar, music has almost always filled our home and hearts. One of my favorite memories… the four of us sitting around, listening to the sounds of guitars being played.

My family. That’s how I grew to know and love music.

It’s been a constant friend of mine for nearly 28 years now. A driving companion, a nighttime lullaby, a quick and dependable pick-me-up, a reassuring and understanding ally, a hopeful whisper, and a lyrical connection to everything that means, and has meant, the most to me in life.

Listening to.. "Answering Bell" by Ryan Adams (with a little help from Adam Duritz).

To me, music has always been a feeling, something to be heard, not just listened to, and felt within. I guess it all comes from my strong ties to it from the time I was very young until now. Just like my family, it has forever been by my side, it has forever been a part of me.

Friday, June 1, 2012

the music begins to play.

So, I’ve decided the theme for June is music (I also decided it will probably be August before I tackle my closet)… the music that has made me happy for years, and finding new music that, more than likely, will lead to even more happiness.

Currently listening to… Taylor Swift’s “Eyes Open.” Headphones on.

Music has always played a big part in my life. And it all began about 27 3/4 years ago, thanks to a very musical family. Oldies were always on the radio in our minivan, and songs like “You Can’t Hurry Love” and “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” still move me (literally, gotsta dance) to this day. Other family favorites included Dwight Yoakam, Ricky Nelson (there’s an old home movie of my brother and me performing “It’s Late” in the basement… singing into microphones and my brother playing the guitar), Rodney Crowell and the Eagles (I’ve always loved “New Kid in Town” the most), and I don’t think there has been a beach trip yet that hasn’t been filled with their songs... with my dad singing and my mom humming along, and my brother's foot tapping right alongside mine. We’ve never been a big “sports family” or “outdoorsy family,” but we have always been a family of music and concerts. And over the years, the oldies have been joined by… John Mayer, Counting Crows, Hanson, Ryan Adams, Rob Thomas, even NSYNC for a brief time about 14 years ago (and, yes, I can still do the Bye Bye Bye dance). We’ve shared concerts together, cds (listening to them loudly in the kitchen or the car, complete with feet-tapping), concert specials on tv, and that very special sound of guitars in the basement rising up.

Currently listening to… the Eagles, “New Kid in Town.” Headphones still on.

Not entirely sure where the month of May went, but here we are in June, and I’m excited to start a new theme… especially one that involves music (and lots of it). Old music, current music, and music I hope to find soon. Music in itself is a very special, very specific, kind of happiness to me, and I’m looking forward to writing about it.

Recent News