I am definitely not unique in my love of music. As far back as I can remember I was drawn to the pull that music offers, specifically the words and lyrics. I was astonished recently, when my husband made the remark concerning some lyrics he had listened to in some country songs. He commented about how appropriate they were to life, and to what someone we know was going through at the time. The bubble in my head responded with, “Are you kidding me, why else would you listen to a song?” Sure there are some songs that are just entertaining in and of themselves, but the good ones go much deeper.
I started this love of listening to music at an early age. I am not sure what other elementary students were doing in the 60’s, but I was scanning the 45’s in my Mom and Aunt’s collections. They each had a case to hold them. Some of you may remember these. I would play them on a record player, and then sort them in two piles, my favorites in one pile, to listen to again later. I would do this for what seemed like hours. I can still see the room at my Aunt’s house. (I am not sure where my parents were?)
My first 45 that I purchased was Henry the VIII by Hermits Hermits. Riding home from the store, with all three of us kids in the back of a station wagon, it got a chip in it. I played that record with the chip for years after. I also remember perusing the record bins at a store called Zody’s in Adrian, Michigan. (Once again, I am not sure where my parents were?) I would get to pick out some each time, anxiously awaiting their play on the turntable. At that time it was Jim Croce and Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl”.
It was also my parent’s albums of Petulia Clark, Nancy Sinatra, Herb Albert, and Charlie Pride. My system was the same, play the album, pick out my favorites, and play them again. It was during this time, that I started paying more and more attention to the lyrics. I had discovered a world within the music and how certain lyrics made so much sense to a young girl who was figuring out where she fit in the world. I recently played “Downtown” for a group of girls I work with. It was so much fun and even relevant.
I finally hit the age where I could start buying my own albums. I would listen to CKLW Radio, a station that reached Tecumseh, Michigan, as my guide. The most exciting thing about any album purchase was the album jackets, which almost always included the words to the songs. This was often more important than the album itself. My favorite songs always included a line or two that were bound to end up in one of my poem books and journals. I still write down lyrics when they hit home.
In the fourth grade I met a boy named D.J. We became friends and we even did a stint as “boyfriend and girlfriend”. But, more importantly, in the eighth grade, D.J introduced me to Jackson Browne. This is when I learned how music can find a place deep in your soul. I would guess that most of you know what I mean. My husband will tell everyone, that when we first got married, if I was listening to Jackson Browne, it was a clue to leave me alone.
Thanks to this husband, I have seen Jackson Browne in concert three different times. Most recently, was Labor Day Weekend. As my husband does not share my deep love of Jackson Browne, he got me tickets to go with friends. I am never disappointed. Well maybe, with the lady behind me at his acoustic concert who kept saying in this high pitched voice, “I love you Jackson.” all concert long. (I was thinking it, but kept my thoughts to myself!)
In preparation for this last concert, I was listening to three of my Jackson Browne favorites: These Days, For Everyman, and The Pretender. (My night was complete, as he played all three.) What I discovered in the lyrics to these and some other of his songs, was that there were lines that were just as relevant to my life now, as they were in my teens and early twenties. As Jackson Browne was always my go to, to get me through heartache and difficult times, he too can get me through a possible mid-life crisis, worry about the state of our world, and figuring out what to do about my life as an empty nester.
Jackson Browne has a new album. I heard some really good lines in these songs. My heart and soul are happy…