I am a fan of Bob of Dylan – 9/28

In theory, I would say that our first loves of music comes from what we hear from our parental units. Subsequently, I grew up in a household listening to my mother’s tunes; classic rock and classical music. Wagner and The Who, Vivaldi and Van Halen, Beethoven and Beatles, Dvorak and Dylan…

It was an odd pairing for certain, and it all depended on what my mother was feeling in the moment; if the classic rock music she was listening took her to a place of remembrance that was fun and enjoyable it stayed on, but if it triggered something in her that was painful she would switch the channel with an indigent “we don’t listen to rock and roll”.

Still through these twist and turns of the radio dial, my love of classical music and classic rock came from her. When I was in my pre-teens I “found” Bob Dylan on my own and learned about what he wrote/sung about. I remember reading with horror the events that unfolded in Bob Dylan’s song about Hattie Carroll, I liked the sense of optimism in “the time’s they are a-changin’ / blowing in the wind”, I even liked to some extent the rawness and stripped away nature to his song “all along the watchtower” (but yes, later on I “found” Jimi Hendrix’s version).

I wasn’t a troubled youth externally, but internally I was. By getting in touch with the protest songs and folk music scene of my mother’s era I was able to work out some of that internal struggle…well, to some extent, that was prior to me making friends who gave a damn about me and my welfare. Still, I liked and still like Bob Dylan for his music and what he communicated in his lyrics.

***

Music is one of those things where you can find a band or a tune to suit your every emotion. Sometimes it makes you think, sometimes it puts you in a place of meditation, sometimes it just fills the silence because you can’t handle it…all the while, I think it’s a good thing to find tunes accordingly. Bob Dylan’s tunes of yore have gotten me out of my funk before, they’ve shaken me out of my complacency and have encouraged me to be optimistic (which isn’t my default mode too much of the time, but I’m getting better at it).

So here’s to Bob Dylan, a talented musician whose music has many articulate and ornate layers in his lyrics.

~Nathanael~

Last train home from a summer concert – 21/28

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2 summers ago a few friends and I boarded the Aurora IL train out to Chicago, it was free concert night! Iron & Wine were the main attraction, with a few opening acts, and it was good…but before any of the bands hit the stage, we had to get through the crowds.

People? I’ve never seen that many people gathered in one place in Chicago! I’ve seen a lot of people at the Chicago Art Institute, but they’re spread out; they’re all not gawking and being entranced by Night Hawks despite how good a piece of art it is. I’m fine with crowds, I really am, but this was ludicrous or at least so this is what happens when Iron & Wine plays for free was what crossed my mind.

Trying to find a seat was a crap-shoot, my bro and his girl went one way while my friend and I went another way. We lucked out and found two seats that were comfortable and enjoyable…apart from the fact that while the sun was setting I was in a position where my forehead was burning. We watched the show, had a good time, and walked back to the train station to catch the last train home…

Now that experience I had of being around a big crowd was magnified 1000 fold aboard the train! Packed in like sardines would be one thing, but that statement does injustice to sardines and whomever was on that train. I think it was overwhelming for the conductors and other train staff as well, because I was never had my return ticket stamped! So it might have been the most crowded and free train ride ever, I’ll have to get in touch with Guinness Book of Records about that one 😉

The Aurora IL is the last stop of the train line, so it became less and less crowded by the time we got back into town. Our lesson was certainly learned; when free and concert are paired together, everyone, and I mean everyone, will show up for it.

~Nathanael~

I was a musician (and eventually I will be a musician again) – 16/28

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Growing up I played classical piano for 6-7 years, but the thing was, it was more for the normalization/”paying my dues” to my parents than me. At this particular time in my life my youngest sister took up piano as well, and excel…well excelling is an understatement; if my siblings and I are quintessentially The Royal Tenenbaums (Great movie if you haven’t seen it, and if you seen it, see it again!) with me as the writer, H* is the artist, A* is the athlete, K* is the musician.

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, pulling teeth without anesthesia…er…playing classical piano. I probably would have liked it to some degree if I had been allowed to play what I wanted to play; yes Vivaldi, Brahms, Beethoven are my homelads but there’s so much more to play on the piano than the classics and that was never afforded to me.

So I quit, and I haven’t looked back.

Yet when I was taking one of my first college courses, an elective called “Music of the World” taught by an awesome guy who liked his music loud and ripped Christopher Colombus a new one pertaining to colonialism and genocide…well, in that class, apart from it being my first (and not last) A in a college course, I learned about Indian music, I learned in particularly about the sitar.

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Now what I like about the Sitar is that George Harrison played it. Not so much my favorite member of The Beatles, but the guy who I appreciate most for his solo career post-Beatles. I liked listening to the music of India in Mr. Becker’s classroom, it stirred my wanderlust, it stirred my desire for more of the world and less of me, a truly musical transcendental moment if there ever was one. 😉
I also liked how there were regular notes, and then notes between the notes! Who’d have thunk it but Indian musicians?!? It kind of reminds me of hidden rooms and easter eggs in a video game, not that I play much of them, but just discovering something that’s there that might be glossed over or just hidden in plain sight…that’s pretty cool.

I haven’t started yet, as the instrument is pretty expensive, but I do know where to get one and I do know someone who teaches the sitar so it’s all a matter of time.

All in due time playing one heck of an instrument, the Sitar.

~Nathanael~

3/30 – Those eclectic oldies

Those eclectic oldies

Growing up the music my mom made us kids listen to were classic rock, classical music, and whatever tunes were played on the “Christian” radio station. I still listen to a good deal of classical music, Four Seasons by Vivaldi is one of my all time favorite pieces, the pieces do indeed sound like the seasons they’re representing! 🙂

But I’m a fan of classic rock, big time. Apart from having a massive collection of wax, I have listened to it for so long I can usually tell a song from the 60s to the 80s from the first few notes, but I make it more interesting. On long drives my mom and I will usually play guess the song, but we take it a step further, here’s how we play:
1 point for naming the song
2 points for naming the band who performs the song
3 points for naming the album the song is on
4 points for listing the track number said song is on said album
Have I blown your mind yet? 🙂

Every now and then I put in a request to hear a song I like on the classic rock station. When I was younger so much younger than today I would mostly request Thus Spake Zarathustra (2001: A Space Odyssey’s theme) because I mostly liked the intro, and you really can’t go wrong with kettle drums. But lately I’ve been asking to hear this little oddity, Hocus Pocus by Focus

It’s an odd one for sure, but more often than not it gets some air time because of me! I like the eclectic and obscure oldies; Boris the Spider by The Who, The Black Widow by Alice Cooper….hmmm…spiders is the theme of two weird songs, I just made a connection.

Anyway, I love classic rock and I enjoy when they play my requests, because maybe there’s someone else out there in Radio-Land who has never heard that song or couldn’t remember what that one song is called (to which I probably know). Music is better for the eclectic and obscure musicians and songs, it doesn’t make this thing called music so stiff and regimented.

~Nathanael~