At least a few times a year, I rediscover some music that I haven’t listened to in years.
This reconnection may be due to the random shuffling of my music player. Sometimes I hear a friend playing it or I catch it on an old TV show or movie. Or, perhaps, it’s just a CD the dog pulled off the shelf to chew on.
However it returned, it reminds me that if, somehow, all creation of new music ceased (please don’t), I would still have plenty for my listening pleasure. I’m rocketed back to the original days of that artist or album in my life. I’m cranking the volume knob and singing along as I drive down the road as if the music were new again. I’m remembering who I was in those moments and the distances traveled since.
My latest Way Back Journey comes thanks to one of my favorite playlists, labeled simply in my library as “Americana.” It carries the likes of Skynyrd, Springsteen, American Minor, The Peacemakers, Drive-By Truckers, Avett, and pretty much anything folky, twangy, or steel-guitary. Official genre-ists may take issue with the contents, but for my purposes, the title suits. It takes me back to much of the music I heard as a child and follows into my current tastes that grew out of those early experiences, with a hint of acceptance of my redneck roots on my father’s side.
It’s my go-to playlist when nothing else suits the mood and that’s just where I was when I kicked it on the other day, after having blasted through the new Weezer disc for the upteenth time. Three songs in, I was treated to an old friend, The Long Way Around by The Dixie Chicks. From there, it was nothing but the entire album, Taking The Long Way.
That first, album-title referencing track was a welcome adviser.
I’ve never done anything in my life on schedule, in the proper order and I’m generally more than OK with it…it’s a source of pride for me. But the signals that come from the world contradict the concept and, man, some times they add up. I’ve struggled lately with my “progress” in life; have I accomplished enough, am I as responsible as required, am I heading anywhere? Just typing that sentence reveals how ridiculous a concept all of that really is and The Long Way Around served as another reminder…there is no correct path. There is no schedule for life. There’s just life and you live it and you blow by anyone that will tell you otherwise.
There’s plenty more to laud on the album…it’s such a defiant collection, sometimes quietly and other times in your face, always without apology. The obvious track would be Not Ready To Make Nice (and fantastic it is), but let’s leave it with my favorite from the album, I Hope: