Monday, November 16, 2009

Music: The Scenic Route

I don't listen to the radio very often.

Every now and then I'll hound loved ones for what they are listening to. I don't really You Tube either apart from nabbing links for The Whisky Bar, and forget Myspace. I've always wanted a job in a music store, but they're harder to get than a job in a surf shop when you're a teenager.

It's not that I want to avoid technology despite being fairly technologically inept. It's more because I am desperately holding on to the rituals of flicking through cds at music stores on solo missions that can last for hours, reading Rolling Stone, or issues of NME and Q passed on to me from my Britpop fiend friend. I love reading an artist's cd jacket or typing in one name on Google, Wikipedia to see who influenced them during their rise to fame. I continue to idolise Nick Hornby's Rob in High Fidelity (by the way, what was John Cusack thinking with this new movie 2012? Hideous!)

It doesn't matter whether these influences have been correctly identified by the biographer/Wikipedia jock or not, it can often be band/artist I've never heard of, or better yet, can lead to making 'that' discovery we have all had at some point: imagine only just discovering that Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison & Jeff Lynne were the men who comprised Travelling Wilburys... thinking 'who is Jeff Lynne?' then encounter the magical hit Evil Woman sung by Electric Light Orchestra- Lynne was lead singer.

Discovering (thanks to one of NZ's best guitarists) fallen-through-the-cracks rock band Ten Years After, and growing to love their epic blues numbers and guitar riffs has been a fantastic little epic journey for me. Then to read that they are named so because in 1966, it had been ten years since Elvis Presley burst onto the scene, and changed the face of music, rock n roll, society, forever made me smile even more.

It makes me a massive nerd, this I realise, but how much fun it is to be on a seemingly endless little journey through music history. The greatest thing about music is how it's replenished decade after decade with new genres or dynamics that have facets of ingenuity combined with elements of music that harks back to previous eras of blues, soul, jazz, rock, country, bluegrass, roots, taking a little bit of world music and combining it with pop (think Graceland, think Michael Jackson, think Timberlake. Think Public Enemy's remake of Buffalo Springfield's For What It's Worth). Cross-pollenation of genres when Chris Cornell lends his voice to Billie Jean, when Pavarotti sings with Bono on Miss no, even better, Bryan Adams.

I plan on marrying (one of many weddings to musicians...) Ray La Montagne. This self-assurance cemented when I read that he turned his back on music due to a rubbish father who was a musician. Ray was terrible at school, got a job in a shoe store, heard Stephen Stills' (Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young) Treetop Flyer and bang. Done. Musician. Heartbreaker. Heartwarmer. All thanks to Stephen Stills. And I thought everyone only focused on Crosby and Young...

In December Fleetwood Mac visits New Zealand as yet another classic band to hop on the bandwagon of reunion tours. Sold out for the first concert and no doubt hugely popular second concert, New Plymouth will be home to tonnes of black and purple velvet, white gypsy skirts and black eyeline for three days as folk from all over New Zealand flock to hear their favourites. Fleetwood Mac t-shirts will be aplenty. But what makes Fleetwood exciting is that a) there are 2 'eras' of the band which both have so much to offer, and b) you could put a song like Go Your Own Way or Everywhere (late 80's Fleetwood, focus had shifted from Buckingham to the girls by this point), on at an event today, and most people will know their songs.
This is what is exciting about the scenic route in music: the more you know, the more you want to learn. You get hungry for more music. And why shouldn't you? It's an international language. Everyone can take what they want from it, whenever they like. And sometimes, the only way you'll find some of this music is by stopping into a record store, having a sift, a peruse of the bargain bins or the store guy's recommendations...or for those who are content with technology, checking out Last FM...

Until next time!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Think this is a dram worth recommending?