Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thoughts on Music Down by the River

Yesterday around dinner time we were listening to our Avett Brothers Channel on Pandora. If you haven't listened to Pandora before it's an interesting take on a radio station where you put in a favorite band/artist and the program chooses similar music for you. By the end when I was cleaning up and it was just me and my daughter dancing (my husband cooked so he was relaxing) we rocked out first to The Band's The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down and then to Bob Dylan's Like a Rolling Stone. I suddenly realized I could have been a kid in the kitchen with my mom because the music hadn't changed. Just maybe my attitude.

When I was young I defiantly hated Bob Dylan and The Grateful Dead. I remember admitting that Dylan's songs were good, but his voice was unbearable. "Mom, he can't sing," I would say. She would shrug, in a that's not what really matters kind of way. I'm not sure about the Dead, the songs were probably too long or something. I don't think it was my mom that won me over, but more than likely D.A. Pennebaker; having watched Don't Look Back so often I finally had to learn to love appreciate the voice of the reluctant prophet. And so I dance in the kitchen.

Thinking about downtown Wilmington, the Cape Fear River, and the Grateful Dead reminded me of a few months I spent years ago grading standardized tests. We had this very dry, very boring grading scale. The only "essay" that I remember is one where the student had written down all the lyrics perfectly (I sang it in my head to check) to Friend of the Devil. I had to give that student a zero, but I often think I wish that I knew who he/she was because I think there was a spark there. The student could have left the essay area blank, but didn't. This is why teachers need to grade their own tests.

Some of the music my parents listened to I didn't object to so much, in fact it was mostly those two, I needed to rebel against something. My parents also listen to John Prine on a fairly regular basis and when he played with Patty Griffin (a personal fave) a few years back my husband and I had to go. You can check out a clip from the show here, though it's not the whole song it's still enjoyable. Be prepared to sing the song all day long, it's that good. Though I do have to say if I had a nickel for every time either of my parents has said, "Jesus...the missing years." I'd be fairly well off.

And, yes, mom I know you're smiling right now. Enjoy it.

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