Sunday, November 11, 2012

We’re the Same, When You Dream

My son is asleep. He’s resting peacefully right now, a bit exhausted from a trip to the doctor earlier today. Occasionally his slumber is interrupted by a series of harsh coughs. It’s a sound you don’t expect to hear from an infant – a hacking that would surprise you even coming from a chain-smoking tuberculosis victim. Bad stuff. For now, he’s quiet, peaceful, and hopefully having sweet dreams.
This takes me back to the day he was born, and to a song. In the weeks leading up to his birth, I learned to play “When You Dream” by Barenaked Laides to play for him in the hospital. It’s a soft lullaby at the end of the album Stunt, and it’s written from the perspective of a father to his newborn son wondering what goes on in his head as he dozes.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It’s all about you

I was driving home on Highway 101 on a September evening when a spark finally lit a fire in my mind. I was thinking about how again and again through the years I’m drawn back to make an attempt at songwriting. And again and again the inspiration fizzles out in frustration. It started in college during a music theory class when I wrote my first, simple instrumental piece. Over the years, I tried a few similar instrumentals and eventually a few simple songs. But I’ve never found my songwriting groove.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Listening to those Three Little Birds

In many ways, Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” must be one the simplest songs ever written. One repeated chorus, one repeated verse. 45 words. 3 simple chords. A pleasant reggae groove cycling over and over, driving home a simple message.

When I listen to this song, it carries me back to a Zen meditation center in Mountain View, CA.  Although I never once heard it there.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mystical Roads

This song is a spell. Black Magic. One day not long ago, I sat silent in a room entranced by this song, a lie detector taped to my finger and a heart rate monitor strapped to my chest. For me, it is an enchantment -- and now I have scientific proof.

More later.

I’ve sorted my Resonance playlist by the characteristic of each song that makes them great to me – lyrics, music, etc. – and “Roads” by Portishead falls into the most nebulous category: Tone. It’s the overall ‘feel’ of the song, which would be impossible to convey perfectly in words alone. So, if you haven’t heard the song, I encourage you first to check out this video of the song played live in NYC:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Reuniting with the Leader of the Band

I was introduced to Dan Folgelberg as a child, on the highway in the back seat of a car with 14 hours standing between me and Grandma's house. It was dark, my brother was asleep, and the mile markers couldn't come fast enough.

There's a whole genre of music in my head defined by long car trips stretching across the midwest. Kenny Rogers, Elton John and Dan Fogelberg are some of my earliest musical memories. This was an era of cassette decks, and my Dad only brought so many tapes on a particular trip, so often I'd hear the same albums over and over again. As such, these songs are also some of the most deeply etched musical memories that I have.