Sunday, September 26, 2010

Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout the Good Ole Days)

"Grandpa, everything is changing fast
We call it progress, but I just don't know
And grandpa, Let's wander back into the past
And paint me the picture of long ago."
-The Judds
"Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout the Good Ole Days)"
(Rockin' With the Rhythm, 1985)
I've always been older than my actual age. I was born with what my mother likes to call an "old soul".

While all my other elementary school-aged friends couldn't wait to get home to watch cartoons and superhero shows, I was busy pondering what was going to happen on my soap operas that were taped and waiting in the VCR for me.  Would Bo figure out that Hope wasn't Hope but actually Princess Gina?  Would Stefano come back to life for the tenth time and go after the Brady's? Oh what thoughts would entertain my seven-year-old mind. 

At night while my peers were snuggled up viewing their favorite Disney movies I was anxiously waiting to see what plot Lucy Ricardo was going to convince Ethel into going along with this time. 

At recess when we'd pretend to be famous singers my friends would pick artists such as Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey.  Me? I was content with being Barbara Mandrell and singing "Crackers" or "I Was Country (When Country Wasn't Cool)" until the kids would squeal for me to stop.

Sometimes I feel so out-of-place with people that are my own age that it's uncomfortable for me.  I don't like many of the same things as them and so it's hard for me to relate to the things they want to talk about, listen to, and watch at the movies.  Going along with this, I also have very old fashioned values and views about things.  This is both a blessing and a curse to me.

LeAnne and I outside the "Mother Church of Country Music".
I miss turning on my battery powered radio to the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman to hear Roy Acuff sing "The Wabash Cannon Ball".

 I miss when Doug and Julie and Patch and Kayla were the supercouples of "Days of Our Lives".

I miss the Glenn Miller Band. Simplicity. Working hard for what you got so you appreciated it. Gentlemen. and classic novels instead of smut.

 The thing is: I wasn't alive to experience these things first hand. Yet, I'll be driving down the road or be at school and get this sudden pang of longing and missing for these things.  Is it possible to miss times you've never lived through before?  I wonder this all the time.

One thing I really miss?  I miss the times when singers could actually and on a stage.  Where they sounded just as good live as they did on a cd.  This used to be something that wasn't even thought about because if you couldn't prove yourself worthy as a singer then you weren't going to get a record deal.  This was way before the times of the lipsynching Milli Vanilli and out-of-tune whining of Taylor Swift.  I want to be able to go to a concert or watch an awards show and not worry about holding my ears because they sound so much different than the records I jam to in my car. Scratch that--sounding different is alright, sounding horrible is not. 

 My iPod is overflowing with old artists and many of the mp3 files that I have are live versions.  These recording stars understood the importance of performing and sounding like their fans expected them to.  Legends like Loretta Lynn still grasp this understanding.  In 2004 when she and the White Stripes, Jack White, cut the album "Van Lear Rose", she didn't record the songs multiple times so they could edit the best from each take to paste together a good version.  Lynn recorded each song just one time and didn't let them enhance her sixty-nine-year-old voice in the least.  What happened in the studio is exactly what a listener hears on the CD: laughing, talking and everything in between and is perhaps one of the rawest and most country albums that's been produced since the genre changed over to pop-country.  This is perhaps why I idolize this lady so much; she's genuine and not afraid to let you hear the real her.

This being said, I don't just stick to the oldies that were produced decades before my time.  I find it impossible to stay still during a Lady Gaga song and am not ashamed to admit that I love her to pieces.  This chick may be a tad flamboyant in her appearance but she's got a true voice that doesn't just come to life behind a microphone in Studio XYZ where producers spend hours trying to alter it.  She proved this when she took stage during the VMAs this month and belted out some of her new song.  Even Kanye didn't dare jump the stage and interrupt this super power mid-line.  Another pure voice emerged on this night, as well: Hayley Williams of Paramore.  She can sing anything live or acoustic and make it sound impeccable.  If you haven't heard her then she's definitely worth looking into.

The only thing that's constant is change, but this IUS history minor is proudly going to keep enjoying the old classics and rolling my eyes at the newbies who can only hope to be one day.

"...crap drives out class, our tastes grow coarse, and the life of imagination grows smaller.  And when the good stuff's gone? It ain't coming back, son.  That's what I'm really afraid of." -Stephen King

<3 Kellie

Sunday, September 19, 2010

All You Need is Love

Signing the wall outside of Graceland in 1996
   "Nothing you can do
But you can learn how to be you in time
It's easy."
-"All You Need is Love"
The Beatles
(Magical Mystery Tour, 1967)

Music has been apart of me since the day I took my first breath of life on a cold January night in 1989.  Born fourteen minutes after midnight, I was just in time to celebrate the birthday of Elvis Aaron Presley, or more simply known as "The King" by millions of his adoring fans.  This coincidence should have been a flash in front of my parents eyes of the years that were to come: forever going to concerts, digging through piles of vinyl records at flea markets to find just the right ones, and putting up with me listening to the same song over and OVER until I had learned every rise and fall of the artist's voice.

If I had to make a soundtrack to my life there is no possible way I could even begin.  Every time I hear one of my favorite songs it brings to mind another memory; a flash of nostalgia that can only be aroused by the cry of that old steel guitar, a saxophone howling into the night, or that singer's lyrics that strike so close to home that it touches my very soul.

Loretta Lynn's "You're Looking at Country"?  Sitting in the Ryman Auditorium where all the greats have played, and being so awe struck that I couldn't even stand up as the one I've sang to, repeated every line to her movie of, and adored since I was a kid: the Coal Miner's Daughter herself started to sing.  Practically crying as this seventy-six-year-old beauty belted out the notes that sounded just as good as the day she recorded them as the audience nearly drowned out the first stanza from their cheers.

Bob Seger's "Night Moves"?  Being in my mom's room listening to old LPs and spinning around so fast that I fell and my tooth decided to take a nice dive into my cousin's forehead. [Que some blood, a killed nerve, and lots of dental work.]  Or to sound like Sophia from the Golden Girls..."Picture it: Freedom Hall, Louisville, Kentucky, 2006.  The lights were low, my heels were high..." [Que a fall  right down the stairs from row J straight to A and a knee so bruised that I had to walk around thug-style with my pants rolled up at school for the next month]. The Ramblin' Gamblin' man has caused me some aches but all have nestled themselves warmly inside the covers of my heart and dang well make for some good stories. =]

Point being, music has always been there for me if I'm lonely, having a bad day, or just need to jam out with my best pals.  My hair brush serves as a microphone, my steering wheel a drum, and the air as a guitar as I show Tom Cruise that he doesn't hold a candle to me when it comes to sliding across a hardwood floor to classic Bob Seger.

This blog is going to be about life, my life, and the struggle for me to 'get rhythm', so to speak, along it's twists and turns.  It's going to be about the things I love and the rants I want to make up on my soap box.  Music, of course, will play an intricate part in my writings because that's just who I am.
The sass of Reba.
A crush on Conway.
And all the upbringing of a child who could match any older generation's knowledge of musical melodies.

<3 Kellie