Thursday, March 5, 2009

I Heart Americana

As always, my husband has a lot to do with my latest music obsession. He has always been plugged into music in a way that does not come naturally to me. I don't know where he finds it, but every week there its something new playing in the house or car. He also has the annoying ability to memorize the lyrics to every song he hears (I, on the other hand, am always singing the wrong words and have to be corrected, which is always all too embarrassing).

For the past 12 years, he has been making me mixes. At first of course, these were on cassette tapes. He would decorate the tape jackets with odd characters and give each mix a funny name, like "Songs to Eat Mac Salad By" or "Blah Blah Blah Blah" (I hate Mac Salad by the way, but it is a Rochester, NY favorite). Making mixes is an art to him. He's like John Cusack's character, Rob in High Fidelity (except Steve is getting his Ph D. in microbiology and isn't commitment phobic).

I've given him a new mix assignment: Create a mix CD (more like CDs I hope) that will be the soundtrack for my novel. I've committed to writing three pages a night now that I've finished a rough outline of the plot (and a 5 generation family tree in excel). Yes, I'm type A when it comes to writing. Anyway, my husband has been the poor victim who has listened to me work through the details of the plot for this new project. He also has his own brilliant ideas and I have stolen nearly every one.
For the past year we have been listening to Americana nonstop: Brandi Carlisle, Allison Kraus, Neko Case, Gillian Welch, A. A. Bondy and countless others have graced our CD player. In addition, Steve writes and plays for the Freeminer Birds, which has an Americana vibe. His guitar would never touch the ground if he could help it (see above), therefore I listen to the evolution of his songs as they unravel in our living room.

Recently, I spent most of the drive from Baltimore to Woodstock trying to memorize the lyrics to "One More Dollar" by Gillian Welch. If I could have anyone's singing voice, it would be hers. I almost drove off the road a few times trying to read the lyrics from the CD book. When I listen to these artists I am transported into the world (or mood) I want to create in my novel. I want to put in my earphones, tune out my surroundings (except the beautiful harmonies of my Americana songbirds) and write.

I'll post the tracklist here once he is done with the first CD. Hopefully, this weekend. Tomorrow is Steve's first committee meeting for his thesis project, so I'll given him some slack (until tomorrow night that is).

1 comment:

Allie said...

Have you ever listened to Jeffery Foucault? He's amazing!