Music soothes the savage beast

Hi, all–

Hope the weekend treated you well. I wanted to talk about music, because I’m a huge music fan, and I listen across genres and time periods. And yes, I do play a couple of instruments, but I’m way out of practice; I’ve also been a radio DJ and a sometime dance DJ. Anyway, music is one of those things that, as a writer, sets the mood for things that I’m working on. Plus, there’s a soundtrack to your life, no matter what generation you are. There are certain songs and certain genres that can instantly take you back to parts of your past and you’re right there, remembering something that happened like it was freakin’ yesterday. Like smells, music triggers memories, both bittersweet and good.

With that in mind, I thought I’d share this great piece from a recent issue of Rolling Stone Magazine. I’ve been a subscriber to RS for…oh, geez. Too long to talk about without tipping my age. 😀 A while, now.

Anyway, RS does these “playlist” features (and sometimes whole issues) that features various artists who list a few of their fave songs/artists in a particular genre. This recent piece featured Mick Jagger listing his fave reggae tunes; Norah Jones and her Neil Young playlist; John Mellencamp on protest songs; Dave Guetta on dance-floor classics; Adam Levine of Maroon 5 and his fave Stevie Wonder tunes; Merle Haggard and the songs he wish he’d written; Lou Reed on jukebox awesome-ness; Tom Petty on his fave Elvis tunes; Miranda Lambert’s fave revenge songs; Patti Scialfa and girl groups; Billy Gibbs and his fave blues guitar tunes; Cee-Lo on southern hip-hop…basically, a seriously super groovy funkalicious major-ass playlist that will open your brain, dredge up some memories, and maybe even introduce you to some folks and songs you didn’t realize were out there.

I had a blast looking these up on YouTube (easier than doing the iPod thing in this case) and remembering the first time I’d ever heard these tunes. Almost all of the songs you can find easily, and, if you’re like me, you’ll go dig some of your old albums/CDs out, turn on the ol’ stereo (“SHUT UP! You still have one of those???” Um, yes. I do.), sit back with a tumbler of Jack Daniel’s and your beat-up guitar that you haven’t messed with in a while, and have yourself a solitary jam session.

So here you go. The link to the awesome-sauce playlist in the recent issue of RS.

Rock on, peeps.

Sunday readin’ tip

Hey, kids–

I read a lot of different things, as I’ve explained in the past. That includes magazine articles. I’d like to call your attention to a fascinating piece Rolling Stone mag did in February on former president Jimmy Carter. I wasn’t quite old enough to vote yet when Carter was elected in 1976, but I do remember some of the big things that happened during his administration.

I’ve always been intrigued by Carter because he seems approachable as a man, but also aloof. Enigmatic, I think, is one of the words I’ve used to describe him. He’s a mixture of idealism and hard, cold statistics and it seems he’s been able, to a certain extent, to balance those two things, especially in the years since his presidency. Currently, he’s engaged in some big humanitarian issues, and he has said some immensely unpopular things, but what I find fascinating about Carter is that he is a man of conviction — whether I agree with him or not — and he’s also willing to consider different angles and possibilities when confronted by different facts and situations.

This piece clarified a few things for me with regard to Carter, and I find looking back on people who were representative, to a certain extent, of a particular aspect of an era I lived through (in this case, Carter as a representative of a political context) a useful exercise in comparing what I was thinking then with who I am now and how my views and perspectives have changed or not. So regardless of your political leanings, reading about political leaders and figures is always helpful to shed some light on historic context.

Anyway, here’s the link to the piece, at Rolling Stone Magazine. It’s called “The Riddle of Jimmy Carter.”

Happy Sunday, whatever you celebrate.