Thanks for All the Music

"Dilate" cover art, Ani DiFranco

“Dilate” cover art, Ani DiFranco

Once upon a time well it was around 1996 in a job not so far away a co-worker of mine, Amy, said she had a CD she thought I’d like. We shared a lot of the same tastes in music. She was amused at my constant outrages when the local radio station that normally did a pretty good job, would see fit to play Steely Dan songs on new music Tuesday! So I never was sure what musical time warp prompted this playing of a, to my mind bland band with pretentious lyrics from the 70s–on, I’ll reiterate: new music Tuesday (sadly this station has gone totally MOR, voice processed “music” and all). One day Amy came in talking about someone she thought I’d like. She was going to bring me the CD. I thought she had said “Yanni”–oh dear…I thought about as much of this music as I did Steely Dan or Kenny G. I responded with that shock covered by faux smile and nod of acknowledgement and appreciation. I resolved to be polite and even open-minded enough to listen once through in case there was more in the music than what I thought. So the next day I steeled myself as I saw her approaching with a CD in hand. She handed it to me and I was not expecting the image of a woman dressed in black, semi-crouched with masses of tiny braids hanging down, greenish backdrop and the letters filling the background almost like lines of wood siding spelling out Dilate. I looked at the back, Ani! She ‘d said Ani, not Yanni and when I first heard the distinctive rhythmic ringing guitar and the voice stepping in with “think I’m going for a walk now, feel a little unsteady” of “Untouchable Face” I was relieved and hooked. Dilate remains among my favorite Ani DiFranco releases and she is one of my favorite artists. Thank you Amy, to this day I often think of you when I listen to anything off of Dilate.
"Out in California" cover art, Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men

“Out in California” cover art, Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men

I have another former co-worker, well boss actually, to thank for introducing me to another now favorite artist. We too shared tastes in music. Andy used to drive me crazy though. I’d be talking about some performer or group that I really liked and invariably he piped up with something to the effect of “I saw *him/her/them* at a small club in Cambridge.” Envy. One day Andy said something about Dave Alvin. I made my curious face, Andy made a shocked face. Given the range of genres and music I liked he was shocked that I was not familiar with Dave Alvin and looking back, so am I. Andy proceeded to bring me three Dave Alvin and Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men CDs to listen to. Wow! I was lucky enough later to see Dave Alvin in a small yurt at Marymoor Park when we were still fortunate in having a WOMAD venue. One thing I’d still love to be able to do is just sing a halfway decent harmony to the Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men’s live version of “Blue Boulevard”.
"Selmasongs" cover art, Björk

“Selmasongs” cover art, Björk

Sometime in the early 2000s we returned home from one of our yearly trips to Ashland, Oregon for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Our niece Elle and her wonderful Cairn Terrier, Zuzu, had been kitty and house sitting. Well the day after our return I was going to pop a CD into the player…I don’t remember which one, but there was already a CD in there that I didn’t recognize. “Elle must have left this CD.” I said and we proceeded to listen to it. We immediately loved the distinct sound of Björk. Elle had left behind Selmasongs: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack Dancer in the Dark. We did eventually return her CD and purchased it from iTunes. We now have some more recent Björk added to that. I enjoy her unique sound anytime but particularly enjoy listening to her while stretching and doing PT. Elle and Jimmer have continued to share good music with us. And it has been fun to discover musical tastes that we have in common.
"Let's Be Still" cover art, The Head and the Heart

“Let’s Be Still” cover art, The Head and the Heart

Finally and most recently, I have my, well, is she a cousin with some number removed or a niece? I don’t really know, but in any case, via my, I’ll call her niece, Tennyson, from Texas, living in Colorado, posting in Facebook, I was introduced to a local Seattle group that is now part of our playlist, The Head and the Heart.

We find a lot of our music from listening to KEXP, and when I was still going to an office to work I frequently streamed Mad Ferret Radio. Sometimes we hear something we like used in a movie soundtrack or one of the Turner Classic Movies beautiful shorts. Between the KEXP playlist app or SoundHound we continue to find new music we enjoy, but there is an added enjoyment of the music when it has a story, when it came as a gift from a friend. Amy, Andy, Elle, Tennyson: thanks for all the music!

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