An Ode to Guy Clark

guyclark

Oh Guy Clark.

You wordsmith.

You craftsman.

You Texan.

A few years ago I went to a show at the Country Music Hall of Fame. They have an “artist in residence” series in the Ford Theater there. The place seats like 200 people and these amazing people play there once a week for a month….it’s one of the ways that Nashville IS Music City. One of the first people to be the “artist in residence” was Guy Clark.

I hate to admit it, but for most of my life I’ve taken Guy Clark for granted. His music has been a constant for me, and I didn’t even know it. So many hours on road trips listening to Jerry Jeff Walker cassettes with my dad and I didn’t even know how those words were permeating my being, let alone who wrote so many of them. I knew I liked any song that talked about vanilla wafers, but didn’t know of my fondness for the man who wrote them.

Upon getting immersed into the world of “Alt-country” or “Americana” or whatever you want to call it, Guy Clark is like one of the apostles.  While standing in the Georgia Theater in Athens GA selling CDs for a band I loved, “Desperadoes Waiting for a Train” came on and I just started singing it. I don’t recall hearing the song before, but I knew it and it knew me. The headliner of the show that night was from Texas and he happened to walk by while I was singing. He nodded at me and said “Ain’t nothing better then Guy Clark!” I nodded in agreement and made a mental note to find some more Guy Clark music ASAP.

A couple years after that fateful night I was in the Ford Theater. I have only fleeting memories of that evening because it was all simply TOO GOOD to take in. I know that Rodney Crowell performed (always a good thing) and that Guy called Vince Gill out of the crowd to join him onstage (also a good thing!). But the clearest memory I have is the feeling in my stomach when I heard him sing the opening lines to “Dublin Blues.”

I wish I was in Austin
In the Chili Parlour Bar
Drinkin’ Mad Dog Margaritas
And not carin’ where you are

My stomach dropped, in that horrible yet wonderful way it does when you are on a roller coaster.  Those 21 words encapsulated my general feelings that day more then any I could have come up with myself.  I looked at this man who is 15 days older then my father and fell madly in love. I’d heard the song countless times, but that night, sitting in that room, it was all different.

I have since seen Guy play a few different times and a few different places. I love to hear his stories about his home here in Nashville during the ’70s, which sounds like my dream scenario of a “Home for Wayward Musicians.” I love hearing the way he talks about his wife Susanna.  I long to own one of his handmade guitars because I am sure that it is built in such a way that even I could make beautiful music with it.

The life that Guy Clark writes about isn’t always easy and isn’t always fun, but it’s always good and it’s always the way it should be, whether we like it or not. His song “The Cape” in my opinion, distills his general theories on life in the following words:

He’s one of those who knows that life
Is just a leap of faith
Spread your arms and hold you breath
Always trust your cape

1guyclark

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Lone Star state of mind

Texas, you big beautiful state you!

Texas has been a part of my life since before I was born. It’s part of family lore that my paternal grandparents missed my birth because my grandpa was afraid they would hit freezing rain in Missouri on their way to their winter home in South Padre Island Texas. I would bet that they day she died, my grandmother was still pissed about that. I would also guarantee that if he had it to do over again, my grandfather would not have risked freezing rain in Missouri.

Shortly after I was born my grandparents moved to Padre permanently. Sure, I never knew what it was like to have grandparents live in the same town as me, but they lived on a freakin’ island!! How cool is that.  Back in the day there wasn’t much to do at Padre, but I never noticed.  They lived less then a block from the beach and when I was there…which was often…the vast majority of my time was spent on the beach, in the gulf or in the swimming pools at the small condo buildings that lined the beach. Seriously, it was an idyllic experience.

Around the age of 6 I started spending long summers in Padre. Sometimes I flew, by myself–such a big girl, but more often then not I was driven down. My dad and I would hop in whatever vehicle he had at the time and set out for a two day trip that only went through two states. Usually we would stop in Dallas and see a family friend who lived there. I’d swim in the pool or we’d go to another friend’s house for brisket or some other such Texas fare. Then early the next day we would take the long drive to the Island.

I love all the small towns in Texas. They are all so different but are all so similar and are all so….Texas. There was a Dairy Queen we would stop at in some tiny town.  There I would just sit and people watch, even at six, and wonder what it was like to live in such a small town. Sure, Edmond Oklahoma is hardly a booming metropolis, but our streets were streets, not farm roads.  We would drive through King Ranch….which takes forever….and then soon we were in the Rio Grande Valley. So many little random business and so much agriculture. I’ve been a lot of places in this country and none are anything like the RGV. Once I started seeing seashell shops, I knew we were close. We would take that drive along the super tall causeway and I was once again home, or at least in my home away from home. My grandparents and parents would talk shit about Texans and how they acted like Texas was the be all end all, but secretly I think they sort of agreed.  My grandma had a decorative plate that had two angels on it and one of them had a speech bubble over it’s head that said, “And if we are very good, we will go to Texas!”  I have all of her plates…but that one is missing. I so wish I had that plate.

Once I moved to California in 1985, trips to Texas became fewer and further between. Plus I was a teenager and let’s face it, teenagers suck and don’t appreciate anything at the time.  When my grandparents moved to Florida around 1994, my trips to Texas ended. I didn’t even knew I missed them until…

September 2005.  While the gulf coast was still reeling from Hurricane Katrina and anticipating Hurricane Rita, I was on my way to the Austin City Limits festival. When I stepped off the plane in Austin, my love for Texas came flooding back. The smell of breakfast tacos, the live music, sharing a plane with Ray Benson and wishing him luck on getting to the festival on time for his slot. It all was perfect. I dropped my stuff off at the hotel, grabbed a cab to Zilker park and I was off. The natural beauty in Texas isn’t easy for some to appreciate. I, however, am truly enchanted by it.  The scrubby mesquite just standing there against the heat and wind. The long stretches of land untouched by “civilization.” All of it resonates inside of me like few other places I’ve ever been. Austin has the lovely Town Lake, the refreshing Barton Springs and so many trails and byways that it’s easy to forget you are in a city. I spent the next three days sweating and breathing dirt and loving my life more then I knew I could. I didn’t eat, I drank water. I took long showers in the evening to remove the mass quantities of soil that seemed embedded in my flesh. I loved it all. It probably didn’t hurt that the first night we were there my favorite band, Reckless Kelly, was playing at Threadgill’s across the street from my hotel.  I’m not usually one to go solo to a show, but I couldn’t miss it and my traveling companion thought slee sounded like a better option. Then I remembered, you’re never alone at a Reckless Kelly show because RK fans are all friends you just haven’t met yet. Sure, the members of the band aren’t FROM Texas, but the heart of the band is from Texas and that all worked out well in my mind.  The next night I had, what I consider, the ultimate Texas evening. Drove down to New Braunfels in the darkest of nights, ate dinner overlooking the Guadalupe river and saw Reckless Kelly at Gruene Hall. Sweet Jesus, I’ve never been a churchgoer, but if church made me feel like that night did, I would be up bright and early every Sunday morning. Of course, Reckless Kelly doesn’t see many early Sunday mornings, so I think I can keep sleeping in.

My next trio to Texas was for SXSW. Lifechanging trip. Ate the best BBQ of my life at Kreuz’s. Had more fun then should be allowed by law. It was confirmed on this trip that Texas had played and continued to play a huge role in my life.

I’ve only been back once since SXSW in 2006 and that was for a Reckless Kelly live cd recording, obsessed? me? surely you jest!  I was there for 16 hours, but what I 16 hours it was. I made friends that night that I still keep in touch with. We were all part of something super special that night…and I don’t think it could have happened anywhere but Texas.

Lately I’ve been NEEDING to go back. Sure, my best friend since first grade had a baby 8 months ago that I haven’t seen in Chicago. Sure, I never visit my family in Florida. But dammit all to hell I need to go to Texas.  I need to breathe that thick air. I need to shop for random things, and cowboy boots!, in Austin.  I need to drink crappy beer and good liquor with some of the most fun people on the planet.  I need to sit in Zilker park and just think. I need to sit on Town Lake  and drink coffee at Mozarts. I need to roam the stacks in Waterloo. I need some Lone Star time.

I guess I’m kind of a lone star myself. But I hope that, much like Texas, with it’s quiet strength, that there is a nobility with me being a lone star. Texas isn’t about the jerks who act like when you cross out of the state line you lose any reason for living.  Texas is about knowing that when you cross into Texas, you are crossing into a special, stark, beautiful, lush and dry land that has endless opportunities and room for endless heartache.

Don’t mess with Texas! 🙂

Eddy Arnold RIP

Eddy Arnold passed away this morning.

Not only was he the number one selling solo artist in country music history, but he’s also been a sort of common thread in my life.

My paternal Grandfather was from Manchester, TN. He wasn’t a huge music fan, as far as I knew, but he always had some Eddy Arnold 8 tracks around and played them when I would spend summers with my grandparents in South Padre Island, TX.  When you’re a kid, you tend to think a lot of that type of music is stupid or bad, but it definitely laid the groundwork for some of my musical tastes later in life.

Jump to 2001. I started volunteering at the new Country Music Hall of Fame. I hated it. Well, not at first, but pretty quickly I realized that spending 4 hours of my Sunday helping people find the bathroom and hearing snippets of songs OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER wasn’t my cup of tea. However, there was one film that I loved to watch and when it was slow I would sneak in and watch the short documentary on Country Music in Television as many times as possible.  Eddy Arnold was featured in it and he was so handsome. Handsome in that 50’s tv kind of way. Handsome in the way that can only be captured in black and white. He had a soft drawl and a sweet face and I couldn’t believe that this was the same person my grandfather had listened to for so much of my youth.

Shortly after I became enamored with this documentary, I went to lunch at Melpark (now Sylvan Park in Melrose). Eddy Arnold was there. He ate lunch there pretty regularly. He looked nothing like the suave TV persona that I thought of him as. He was, rather, a frail old man. But there was still a twinkle in his eye. He was so sweet to all the staff there and they loved him right back. I’ll never forget one day he walked past my table and told me I had “lovely, shiny hair and amazing blue eyes and a silly laugh”….I wanted to say “Um, you’re Eddy Arnold!” But I think he already knew that and it’s Nashville, we don’t do that kind of thing here.

I continued to see him there at lunch time quite often. Just a few months ago I was sitting in the booth behind him and two other men, who had obviously been in the music business for a long time, and they were discussing Britney Spears….I loved it! I made it a point to make eye contact with him when he would walk by and he would always smile back.  Years simply don’t change a person’s smile.

A few weeks ago I heard his wife had passed away. I had seen her with him a few times and she always looked even more frail then he did. I worried that her death would speed up his trip to the end of his life. Turns out I was probably justified in my fear. But this man lived a life that few can imagine. He entertained countless generations of people. Sang songs that became a part of the patchwork of our American culture and always had a smile for those he passed, even at the little meat & three on Franklin Rd.

I’ll miss Eddy Arnold being on this planet. But I’m sure thankful for the numerous memories I have of him and the interesting role he played in the first 34 years of my life.

God Bless Reckless Kelly!

They’ve posted some preview tracks from their upcoming cd and I’ve been listening to them ALL DAY!

I can pretty safely say that they are my favorite band….and hopefully not sound like a teenager when I do so. To write tearful ballads, hard rocking songs and now a “topical” tune (American Blood) shows the extent of their talent. Seriously, just when I think they can get no better, they prove me wrong.

I look forward to a lifetime of them proving me wrong and cannot wait until June 24!!

If you want to be in the know go here. Just don’t tell the IT guy at my office I’ve been streaming all day 🙂

I’ve got the Austin itch….

Don’t worry,  it’s  not some strange disease that stems from too much Shiner Bock, queso dip and swimming in Barton Springs. It may be contagious though.

I want to go to Austin so bad I can’t stand it. It is one of my favorite places on the planet. I can honestly say that arriving in Austin makes me happier then arriving in any other city. NYC has some power over me, but nothing like Austin. You get off the plane there and you are greeted with live music and taco carts, even in the morning….AHH breakfast tacos, *sigh* You go out and grab a tacky turquoise cab courtesy of Roy’s Taxi and the adventure begins.

The last time I was in Austin, I arrived at 2:30 in the afternoon on a Friday.  I picked up a rental car and drove towards Zilker Park.  I remembered there was a Whataburger right there and stopped to get some grub.  Took my burger to the picnic tables by Barton Springs and just sat there, ate and smiled. The late March air was warm and sweet and intoxicating. After a walk around the park and recalling the last time I was there during the ACL Festival and how it was quite a different place, I hopped back in the car and set off to drive. I just drove and drove and drove. I got caught in rush hour on Capital of Texas Highway and even that made me happy.

After my hours long driving around Austin, I parked near La Zona Rosa, my ultimate destination to watch the live recording of my favorite band’s new live record.  Since it was so close to Sixth Street, I set out just walking around and ended up needing a cocktail. I strolled into Katz’s Deli and hopped into a seat at the bar. The bartender was just starting her shift and was in the lovely mood that I come to expect in Austin. There are no strangers there. There are some strange folks, but they only add to the happiness. So I ordered my Tito’s and Tonic and we started chatting. She opened a fresh bottle of Tito’s for me and we talked about how awesome it is that this great vodka was made right there in Austin and how H.E.B had some great juices to use as mixers with it. Good times.

Once I was nicely “titoed up” I strolled a couple of blocks over to La Zona Rosa. Reckless Kelly is a huge reason I love Austin. I have met some great folks through them and they are some of the sweetest and most fun guys you will ever know, musician or not. The crowd that night was thick with die hard fans. Folks were there from California, Florida and even England. That is how beloved they are!  Luckily I had met some “Millicaners” earlier and they saved me a spot up front by Cody, where I always like to be!  The show, well, it rocked. Nearly two years later and I am still trying to understand the wonderfulness of that night.

After the show and some post show drinking at the bar next door, the party moved to “The Shed”–if you are an RK fan, you know what that means. The party continued until all hours of the morning. I had a 7 am flight, so I had to leave around 5:30 and as I walked out there were people who were just arriving.

So—even though I spent only 17 hours in town….it was glorious.

But I didn’t get to have migas, or Amy’s Guiness Ice Cream. I didn’t get to go shopping on South Congress. I didn’t bar hop on Sixth Street. I didn’t swim in Barton Springs or see the bats. I didn’t get to have late morning coffee at Mozarts’s on Lake Austin or go shopping at Central Market. I didn’t get a stomach ache from too much Sweet Leaf Organic Mint & Honey Green tea or take a short trip to eat meat at Kreuz’s 
in Lockhart. All of these are reasons that I must go back. I must go back to Austin soon. I would love to take a road trip there with a couple of girlfriends (to help me look at all the cute Texas boys) and Noodle (because he would LOVE it there) and just hang out for a couple of weeks. Being cool, even though it’s almost always hot there. Eating good food. Talking to great people and just remembering that this is one of the best cities on the planet.

However, for what it’s worth, Nashville will always be home……..

Christmas Music: the great debate

The other day I made a mix cd of my top holiday tunes and have been listening to it pretty much non-stop. I’ve read a bunch of the best and worst lists concerning this seasonal entertainment. I’ve gotten into heated discussions with friends and acquaintances about various songs merits and faults. It’s amazing how this genre that most claim to be completely annoyed by can conjure up such emotion. I guess it’s just that way this time of year…..

Here is my mix and my justification for each song.

Winter Wonderland, Johnny Mathis: My mother has worn out more copies of the Johnny Mathis Christmas record then I can even imagine. You know the one, he’s on a “snowy” scene with skis and such. I think circa mid- 1960s? It used to drive me nuts. Now it isn’t Christmas until I hear it, this song in particular. I used to think that “Parson Brown” was actually “parched and brown”—I lived in Oklahoma. Oklahoma in winter is parched and brown–on a good day. It’s just a good song….

Santa Baby, Eartha Kitt: First off, I like the Madonna version too. It’s a controversial stance, I know, but I am a child of the 80’s and Madonna is my gal. Eartha Kitt, where to start. I like the sex of this song. I like to imagine her singing it to a hot Santa (is there such a thing) in a sultry outfit and ultimately getting everything she asks for. One drunken evening the conversation turned to all the sexual allusions in the song—chimneys and such, but I won’t put you through all of that here.

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, Brenda Lee: Argue with me about this one, I dare ya!

Mele Kalikimaka, Bing Crosby: Try to sing along with this and not smile. If you can do that, well, I don’t know what to say to you—there are some great anti-depressants out there, check ’em out. This song also rocks because you can “croon” to it and there is the bitching girl back up singers.

Last Christmas, Wham!: Did I mention I am a child of the 80’s? This song is so heartbreaking, you HAVE to love it. I had the biggest crush on George Michael when this song came out (shut up! he claims he was straight then) and I vividly remember being pissed at the idea that any woman would just give his heart away. Ahhh youth, before you know that giving your heart to anyone is the most dangerous thing to do ever.

I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Mindy Smith: This song tears me apart. I know that it came out during WWII and when I learned that, it killed me even more. This song played a pivotal role in an episode of Facts of Life when the girls somehow (the details are fuzzy) end up singing Christmas carols in a prison. Jo, who’s father had been in prison of course…bless her heart, remembers that his favorite song when he was in the joint was “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” This version by Mindy Smith is particularly poignant. Her voice has an intrinsic sadness that so works with this song.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Judy Garland: “Meet Me in St. Louis” is one of my favorite movies of all time. I used to watch it each year with my Grandma and just delight in young Judy Garland and the wonderful, but sad world portrayed in that movie. I SO wish that I had seen it a couple of weeks ago on the big screen at The Belcourt…..but alas, I celebrated my birthday a bit to hard the night before and slept all day. This song is so sincere and sweet and such a simple sentiment that is encompasses my desires for this holiday.

Christmastime is Here, Vince Guaraldi (vocal version): being born three weeks before Christmas, my first Christmas pictures are of a teeny tiny baby. One picture is of me with my first Snoopy doll. I got it from my Aunt Yip Yip…who wasn’t an aunt at all, but had been my mom’s roommate her first year in college. I received a Snoopy doll pretty much every year for MANY years. I carried that thing around with me everywhere so they got worn out pretty quick. The Charlie Brown Christmas special is the best, no comparison. This song is so sweet and sort of sad….like many Peanuts things. It’s gentleness and the young voices singing make for a lovely thing indeed.

Sleigh Ride, Johnny Mathis: see the above Johnny Mathis entry for the general gist of how this made the cut.  This song used to represent what I was sure Christmas time with a boy would be like.  I’ve never been on a sleigh ride, with a boy or not. Boys can be scarce around the holidays, many times it seems like relationships were “on a break” or there was some tragic fight right around Thanksgiving that would all be forgotten about December 29, when the prospect of not having a NYE date seemed horrible. Ahhhhh love.

Christmas Wrapping, The Waitresses:  I SWEAR, I am not scary 80’s obsessed girl!  I swear! This song ROCKS!  It’s silly and sassy. It shows that being a bit on the “bah humbug” side can be cool. It talks about a boy. What more do you want people?

Christmas in Hollis, Run-DMC: “It’s Christmas time in Hollis Queens. Mom’s cooking chicken and collared greens!” This is the penultimate in contemporary classics.  You can take your Josh Grobans and Michael Bubles and stick it….this is what I want from a Christmas song.  Rap when it wasn’t scary. Rhymes that talk nothing about bitches or Benjamins (well, sure Santa brings some dough…but there are no guns discussed in obtaining it)

Carol of the Bells, The Bird and The Bee: This version of this song, by a band that is a darling of influential radio station KCRW, doesn’t exhibit the gothic intensity that many versions do. There is something so cinematic about this song. The frenetic intensity and simple words make for a song that stands out. Please don’t get me started on the Mannheim Steamroller version…I CAN’T STAND IT!!!

Blue Christmas, Elvis: I’m sensing a sort of theme here….lots of sad Christmas songs.  This song is perfect. Elvis sings the hell out of it. The lyrics are simple and to the point. Holiday loneliness as a theme, long before Dr. Phil, etc. got a hold of it.

Baby, it’s Cold Outside, Dean Martin: I used to have a friend who HATED this song. He had no concept of the wonderful flirtation that was going on. He had no patience for how the two folks in the song just wouldn’t part ways. Ahhh, silly boy. This song ROCKS.  I love that point in an evening when you know you should leave but would love for him to ask you to stay and the push and pull of the conversation weakens you until you are looking for any reason to stay.  You always stay and if there is that much discussion about you staying, it is usually a VERY GOOD decision.

All I Want for Christmas is You, Mariah Carey: The cover of the CD this song is on makes me want to vomit. When I worked in a music store I HATED having to deal with it. Mariah before she got slutty and sad, but was trying a little to hard to be sexy…..and failing.  That being said, this song is catchy, fun, flirty and good. I’m not proud of it’s inclusion here, but I stand by it.

The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late), Alvin and the Chipmunks: From year to year, my ideas on this song go between wanting to poke my ear drums out when I hear it and loving it.  This year is a “loving it” year.  It’s SO DAMN cute and silly and I remember my parents hating it, which made me love it even more.

Same Old Lang Syne, Dan Fogelberg: Not really a Christmas song, I know.  Dan Fogelberg passed away the day I made this mix. I have ALWAYS loved this song. Yes, I like soft rock, what of it? This song seemed like a good ending to the mix and I LOVE the idea of running into an old boyfriend randomly…well, not all of them, but you know what I mean.  I also like to drink beer in the car.

So there it is, my mix.  In no way shape or form does this mix make me seem cool.  I could toss in some Ramones or Vandals or Kirsty MacColl & the Pogues…all of which I like. But Christmas to me isn’t about being cool, it’s about the familiar and the soothing and the things that make me happy.

Who’d have thunk it?!

Yesterday was my birthday. My 34th birthday. That, for some reason, sounds middle-aged. Regardless of my pending senior citizen status, it was an AMAZING birthday.

I am never one to shy away from reminding people of my birthday. So I sent out an email with a variety of events for people to celebrate me.

Monday night was my “trivia birthday” @ Corner Bar.  What used to be a weekly event has become much less frequent….but it was fun just the same.  Three good friends. Good, cheap cocktails. Attentive and lovely servers. Random conversations…….ALL GOOD!

My friend Jenn Franklin had a CD release party/show on Tuesday.  I’m so proud that she has completed her EP. She is stupid talented and gives me chills every-time I hear her sing.  She also announced from the stage that I had a birthday coming up and all of Third and Lindsley wished me happy birthday. God I love Nashville.  I then went to dinner with my pops and had my last corn nuggets of my 33rd year. YUM!

Weds. found me @ Peter’s Thai Sushi (YUM!) having lunch with Ear Injury.  After a near miss with the devil, I mean my old boss on my way in, the rest of the meal was a tasty and delightful experience. Man the food there is SO amazing. Add to that wonderful company and it doesn’t get much better.  I spent Weds. night chilling at the house with the furry friends, watching ANTM and Project Runway (sorry to see ya go Chris–ya coulda been a contender!)

Thursday—my ACTUAL birthday. My phone started ringing at 7:30.  I have numerous voice mails that I saved with folks wishing me a happy birthday. I had cards on my desk at work and my mom even sent me a huge cookie cake with a balloon on it to the office.  My dept. took me to lunch at Yellow Porch (delish)  where Alison Krauss and John Waite had also decided to grab a bite (have I mentioned I love Nashville?) I basically did no work all day and just chatted with folks and hung out. Well, I did have a vendor change the laws of physics and help me solve a problem with a project—but hey….that’s what happens on my birthday.

After work I went to dinner at Eastland Cafe with my dad. We ate tapas style–which is my favorite.  It’s the only way to get shrimp & grits, herbed carrots, green chili mac & cheese, buttered asparagus, coconut rice and a decadent cheese platter at one meal without being sick at the end.  You would hate to be sick at the end also since there was a pomegranate martini, triple chocolate tart with raspberry sorbet and blueberry beignets to be had.  MMMMMMMM

I took my happy mouth (and the rest of me) to meet the Thursday night trivia gang.  I have so much fun with these people I can’t even explain it.  They truly get as much joy out of every situation possible. I usually laugh so much that my stomach hurts. I got a wonderful Sephora giftcard from my super pregnant friend (seriously…the packaging for their gift cards is AMAZING!!!) and we got her soon to be born son making all kinds of moves for us all night. We decided he likes the bar scene already. We didn’t do so well at the actual trivia part, but we had a blast otherwise and I could hardly believe that while a few of the same people were there as had been at my last birthday—the mood was so much different.  My last birthday kinda sucked…mostly because of me….but that is so in the past and I will bask in the afterglow of this birthday instead.

There is still more celebrating to be had.  Pub crawl. East Nashville. Good times! It’s not only my birthday festivity, but that of the lovely Snikki.  It should be a good time. Anything that can celebrate the great way my life is going is a good time to me. Now if I could only have a mega makeout session…………

Once

I just got home from seeing the movie Once . If any of the following things ring true to you, RUN to see this movie, drive a couple of hours if you have to:

  • You are a sucker for a musician
  • Stories of unrequited love speak to you
  • Irish accents, even when impossible to understand, make you smile
  • The process of making music might as well be magic
  • You never give up hope
  • You want to bring happiness to people, even if it isn’t in the exact way YOU would like them to be happy

Seriously, I LOVED this movie. If I had seen this on a date, I can’t even imagine how the rest of the night had been, but I guarantee I wouldn’t be writing this right now. I saw it with my Dad. He paid AND bought me killer chicken fingers afterwards. He liked the movie OK, but wasn’t as enamored as I was. He was irritated that a movie so focused on music had three basic songs that were played over and over. I get that. Life is like that, three songs, played over and over, each time the words take on new meanings and importance. I SO get it. There is also the aspect of unrequited love and words unspoken. The male lead kind of throws it all out on the table early on in the movie, but it’s out of a kind of desperation, a desperation you feel when you first meet someone and they make you happier then you have been in awhile and you might say things because you fear you will never get another chance to say them. It’s an honest desperation. As the film progresses, he says less and less in words, but the desperation never leaves. It starts to invade the movie-goer’s stomach and draws you even further into this simple, sweet, complicated story.

I can’t even begin to go into how much I enjoyed this film and how it seemed to take over my being while I was watching it. I can, however, discuss how it made me think about some things in my life, mostly (this is a big shocker) boys.

Things I wish I hadn’t done (situations that involved boys I’ve liked only) :

  • A dubious (drunken) hook-up with someone that I knew better then to hook up with
  • Getting so drunk in front of them that I could not stand up
  • Being the first to pull away when we hug
  • Drunken texts (um–I’m sensing a pattern here–perhaps my issues are with alcohol more then boys)
  • Slinking out after a night of sharing the same bed (totally platonicly) when they  snuggled up to me
  • Not realizing how wonderful a person they are  for so long

Things I want to say or do every time I see a boy I like (and know):

  • Hug them so long that my arms go numb
  • Bury my face in their neck and take in their smell
  • Tell them that I think that we have a lot of fun together and that we could have even more and know that this would be only an addition to our relationship
  • Not look away when they look at me in the eyes and I fear they can read my mind
  • Be myself, silly and stupid and even smart sometimes and know that it won’t change they way they think of me in any way but a positive way
  • Grab their ass
  • Rub their shoulders
  • Put my hands on their face and just look at them
  • Countless other things that I won’t let myself do

The end of “Once” was quite ambiguous. I have already come up with about 10 scenarios as to what happened next. My life these days has been quite ambiguous also, but I have only a couple of good endings for that.

Viva La Reckless!

I would never be able to call any musician or band my absolute favorite…but if I had a gun to my head the first band that would come to mind (and would be pretty much as close to the truth as I could come to answering that question) would be Reckless Kelly.

My first time seeing them was at the dreaded Bluebird Cafe in Nashville.  A room where you can’t talk without being rudely “shushed” and where “rocking out” is not on the menu!  But it didn’t matter. I loved them about 2 minutes into the set. It doesn’t happen very often with me, to have an instant connection to a band that I have no real prior knowledge of.  But it happened that night.  I knew off the bat that these guys were the real deal. That they LOVED what they do.  That they have a good time with each other. That the lead singer is T-R-O-U-B-L-E!  All of this was before I even realized that there were brothers in the band. I am a sucker and a half for bands with brothers in them. Not sure why…but oy!  Those Braun genes got some good mojo and I was instantly a fan. That was in 2004.

2005 saw my love for them move into “superfan” world….sort of. They played a show on Feb. 13 here in Nashville at Third and Lindsley.  It was two days before “Wicked Twisted Road” was coming out, but I had already procured an advance copy.  Micky and the Motorcars (yet ANOTHER Braun brother band) opened and it was a much more rocking, much more “Reckless” show. If there was any question I was hooked…that question was answered when I came out of the ladies room, ran into Cody (whom I had briefly met earlier) and he gave me a hug and asked if I liked the show. Hugs from musicians are pretty much like crack to me.  Add to that the fact that he seemed to genuinely be concerned that I enjoyed the show and it was all over. I was Reckless to the core.

The rest of 2005 was amazing. I saw them 9 times in 5 different states. I got to know Cody better and meet the rest of the band.  I learned all their songs, even favorite covers. I made friends with other fans. It was great! Becoming a RK fan is like joining a family….it’s pretty amazing.

2006 wasn’t nearly as Reckless a year.  I only saw them play once, although it was THE show to be at, the live recording at La Zona Rosa.  I was in Austin for a total of 16 hours that trip. I ended up at the infamous “Shed” after the show where I stayed and had one of the best times of my life until about 5:45 AM when I had to go catch my flight home.  That year definitely goes into the “quality vs. quantity” world.

2007, in the life of me, opened with a bang. I got a new job, a new dog and an email from Cody that the band was coming through town on the way to a show and inviting me to hang out.  They did, I did, a GREAT time was had by all.  It wasn’t as wonderful as a show, but time with the Brauns is always good.  This brings us to this past weekend. It took them over 2 years, but those boys got themselves back to Nashville to play a show.  They were playing the Exit/In, a venue they had played countless times.  I got my tickets early, just in case and started counting the days. Once I was able to buy milk that had an expiration date after the date of the show I started getting REALLY excited.

Saturday night arrived and I could hardly contain myself.  As we’re waiting in line it was announced that the show is sold out!  While a part of me was thrilled and oh so proud, I was concerned about the friend I had with me who didn’t have a ticket.  Luckily the guy working the door likes me and he let her in.  Then the real excitement began.  The opener, Stoney LaRue, was good.  He even has the same mouth as the boy who has me twitterpated. But, unfortunately for him, he only represented an obstacle between me and my Reckless boys. His set ended and the torture truly began.

The period of time between the opener and their set was like excruciating foreplay.  You’re all hyped up and excited and feeling good, but dammit all to hell, you just want to get down to business. After maybe 40 minutes of this, on walked the band! For lack of a better word, and to keep with the metaphor of sex, the next two hours were like the best sex ever. The best sex ever with LOTS of orgasms! I didn’t care about the drunk girl next to me who looked like she was going to puke at any time. I didn’t care that I was sweating like a crazy person. I didn’t care about anything except those 5 boys on stage and the music they were making. I get completely mesmerized by them.

After the show I got to briefly hang out with Cody before my hunger and tiredness forced me to go home.  That time with him was like post-coital snuggling.  Lots of smiles and happy talking and praise for performance.  Promises that this needs to happen again, sooner rather then later, and lack of desire to leave each others presence.

When I finally woke up on Sunday, I was still smiling. My hair smelled of the smoke from the show and I wasn’t quite ready to get rid of it. I didn’t want to wash the stamp off my hand that had allowed me to drink. I didn’t want to forget any minute of the show. I wanted to live the night all over again.

I feel sorry for people who never feel this way about a band, or anything. An all encompassing thrill derived from watching someone doing what they love and supporting and appreciating every second of it.  I feel sorry for people who never know how much a band they loves appreciates them, let alone gets to hear it first hand. Mostly I feel sorry for me because I don’t know when my next Reckless Kelly show is going to be.

Not really, there’s no crying in Reckless-land!

VIVA LA RECKLESS!!!!!

A Brief Accounting

Here is a brief list of my faults, issues, and confessions. There is no way in the universe that I would ever be able to list all of them, but here are the ones that seem to be causing me the most trauma lately.

  • I fear commitment
  • I fear being lonely
  • I like the wrong boys for the wrong reasons
  • I have big pores
  • I have a tendency to want people to like me so much that I don’t actually let them get to know the “real” me
  • I feel too much
  • I think too much
  • I eat chips and dip for breakfast sometimes
  • I don’t always brush my teeth twice a day
  • I wear my contacts for days on end when I am not supposed to
  • I love my pets too much
  • I REALLY love my dog too much
  • I’m self-centered
  • I can be self-destructive
  • I take insults well
  • I take compliments horribly
  • I don’t speak up for injustice because I still believe that people are doing the best they can with the information they have at the time
  • I have no tolerance for stupidity
  • When people say “Do what?” instead of “pardon me” “what was that?” or even “huh?” I want to scream
  • I bite my fingernails
  • I don’t like to clean my kitchen
  • I rarely put away my laundry
  • My good intentions outnumber my good deeds exponentially
  • I expect return phone calls
  • I have no problem sleeping with someone on the first date
  • I have dozens of pairs of shoes and handbags
  • There are 5 handbags in my possession that I have never used
  • I let my dog kiss me on the mouth (mouth closed!)
  • I’m easily entertained
  • I’m easily discouraged
  • I start lots of things that I never finish
  • I get ridiculously happy in the presence of musicians
  • I fear clowns, little people and lawn work
  • I put on a brave face when I want to cry
  • I spent so much of my life trying to not talk too loud that I now get accused of talking too softly
  • I sleep in my clothes more often then anyone with an actual home and actual pajamas should
  • I still believe in fairytales
  • If it wouldn’t make me sick I would only eat appetizers and desserts and only drink Tropicana Light Lemonade or Vodka Tonics
  • I like to get drunk….even if I sometimes fall down
  • I have a list of boys that I want to “lick from head to toe”–it’s a VERY short list and easier to get off then get on
  • I have a freakishly short tongue
  • Sometimes I would rather sit at home alone on Saturday night then go out with actual people
  • If I stay at home alone on Saturday night instead of going out with actual people, I will be pissed at myself about it on Sunday
  • I still draw on myself from time to time, but now I call it “tattoo research”
  • I want better cleavage
  • I rarely make my bed
  • I can’t find the right lipstick color
  • I need something to wear to the agency anniversary party
  • I’m more excited about the open bar at the anniversary party than Ricky Skaggs performing
  • I need a date to the anniversary party—ok, I don’t NEED one, I want one, one particular one.
  • I obsess over boys
  • I quote song lyrics a LOT!
  • I have an oral fixation
  • I want to go canoeing again, with pretty much the same exact people and a whole bucket full of new knowledge
  • I need new panties
  • I have bouts of insomnia and bouts of “whatever you call it when all you do is sleep, but not because you are depressed or physically exhausted”
  • I’m not participating in “Hands on Nashville Day” because I don’t want to be too tired to raise hell with my buddies Reckless Kelly that night
  • I still haven’t finished Harry Potter book 4 and it’s making me want to abandon the series all together
  • I’m tired of listing my faults