Yes, I also know today’s title is also close to the name of one of the blogs I follow . . . but so be it.
There are two reasons for today’s post:
First: I have been a bit, if not totally depressing and morose and I just don’t think that’s a fair picture of myself. Yes, I’ve had a hard time. Yes, I still have to go Saturday to the monument company and empty my bank account. But no, I’m not a tittering ball of depressed exposition all the time.
Second: I found an amazing gift item and it ties in with a thing from my past…and a frustration I have with music today.
So the gift item: a company called Suck UK (I didn’t pick the name, but I like it!) has some of the most amazing gift items. If you haven’t looked at them you should. They’re reasonably priced, do the currency exchange for you, and just cool. On their site I found this:
It’s a mixtape. Just like the old days, a good, old-fashioned mix tape! I bought it the instant I saw it and the reason I did so is twofold: first, I watched an old John Cusack movie, High Fidelity, with my daughter. The whole film swirls around mix tapes and every thing. Second, I am just sick and tired of all the crap that’s out there . . . even in current motion picture films. Romantic comedies or straight comedies: crappy, bubble-gum, Jessica Simpson meets Katy Perry crap. Entertainers who start feuds with Madonna (herself, not so much a musician as entertainer and fame whore) in order to get attention and stay in the spotlight. Indie films: singer/songwriter music that I know is used because it’s cheap and meant to make you realize “HEY! You’re watching a depressing, angry, hipster portion of the film that could have been better served by Ray Charles “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Cryin'” but we think this is alternative and cool” even though singing off-key and not tuning your acoustic guitar doesn’t mean you’re cool. It means you’re lazy and looking for hipster fame.
So my challenge to you all . . . think about what you’d do for a mix tape! I don’t want you to think about what you want people to think you listen to. Think about what you’d send to your best friend; to the girl you’ve had your eye on; to the friend who has held your hand or given you a shoulder at your lowest. That is what these always were. When you didn’t have a ton of cash but wanted to give of yourself, you gave music. It showed you put thought, effort, time and soul into your choices. While this doesn’t make you time it all out and hope you hit the end of the mylar just before that leader splice slips over the heads . . . you still have to do the work. Why? Because a computer tries to put everything in alphabetical order, so you put the order together, write it out, import the songs, and put a playlist together. Then you have to rename and number the songs so that they are there . . . for your recipient in the order you want them to listen.
A great tape tells a story. It tells an emotion and takes the listener on a journey.
This one is on the way to the same friend who got the video of my kids and I singing a Tom Petty song. Why? She deserves it! I enjoy it . . . and we all love her.
There are alternative versions of old songs:
Changes by Cat Stevens…but performed by Santana
Powerful Stuff by the Fabulous Thunderbirds, because every tape needs 1 Jimmie Vaughan presence
But there are also new songs that have soul:
I’ll Find My Way by Derek Trucks
Falling Slowly by The Swell Season
Don’t Let Me Slide by Tedeschi Trucks
But there’s a bigger mission from me here. Last year I posted about things I lost – things that Andrea took with her when she passed away. It was like a thief snuck into my head and stole some of the best and most emotional things that I’d brought to our relationship. Songs that I loved and listened to constantly are now sources of horror and sadness for me. I hope they aren’t somewhere down the road, and to that end, I’m giving them to friends in order to get them back
Holy Mother by Eric Clapton – a beautiful song I hate her for taking because I’ve always loved it. But it’s too close to home now.
Life Without You by Stevie Ray Vaughan – I love that song and SRV has always been close to my heart, but now I can’t even listen to the song.
But more than anything else, it’s a chance to just tell a friend or loved one you’re thinking of them and show them how. Today, where we are auto-tuned, fame seeking, and crazy, it’s good to see things like interviews with Derek Trucks and know he won a Grammy for his record that is recorded analog an no auto-tune and see how he notices the difference at the ceremony between those who love the process and the music and those who love the attention.
We’re a house filled with music and always have been. From before they were born all my kids heard me play guitar or heard us listen to others play. It’s nice to know that, after all this time, you can still share a mixtape.