I love music of many genres and generations. My brain has a corner where a personal, internal DJ lives and provides a soundtrack for me. Sometimes it’s all over the map, sometimes I get repeats, for instance, often when bicycling I hear Nancy Wilson’s instrumental 60B (Etown Theme), from Cameron Crowe’s 2005 Elizabethtown.
An unofficial “keyword” kicks off a song and sometimes this happens repeatedly. I call these “songs I live with for awhile.” Currently I’m living with Bruce Hornsby and The Range’s The Valley Road, written by Bruce and John Hornsby, released in 1988 on Scenes from the Southside.
This song has more than one keyword that prompts my internal DJ to play it:
“Maybe” starts me off in the last two lines of the first verse:
“…maybe today maybe tomorrow Go deep in the woods down the low valley road…”
“Walk” shifts me down to the chorus:
“Walk on, walk on alone Walk on, walk on, walk on alone”
(An aside, if I hear the phrase “walk on” my internal DJ becomes my internal projectionist and I see and hear the crossing signals in a street scene from what has to be one of my favorite, noir science fiction movies, Blade Runner, Ridley Scott, 1982.)
The printed words “Valley Road” from the “Fern Valley Road” sign on the Bear Creek Greenway where we cycle, takes me to the fourth verse (though it appears earlier in the song, but for whatever reason I hear this line):
“She came back around like nothing really happened And left him standing on the old valley road”
I’m glad I love this song because it has been with me since August of 2019 while vacationing in Maui. One afternoon, after a morning of snorkeling I was sitting on the lanai reading Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84, first English translation, 2011. Music plays an important role in Murakami’s stories. Anyway, at one point something in the story prompted my internal DJ to play The Valley Road. To this day I cannot recall what that prompt was. In any case, I put the book down, put in my AirPods, picked up my phone and found the song and played it. I’m actually pretty shy, but out there, in Maui, the lanai felt rather private and I danced and sang along. Twice.
To this day, when one of the keywords kicks off this song, I get the benefit not only of a song I really love, but also the happy memory of a good morning’s snorkel and a happy afternoon of dance in Maui.
This was our final trip prior to Covid-19 lockdown. It is a good memory to hold onto while we wait.
(If you don’t remember the song, check it out, not only is it a good song, Hornsby’s keyboard work is simply lovely and enhances the mood and hearts and guts of the song.)