Better late than never

A few additions to my iTunes library

Back off, whippersnappers. You can’t call me an old fuddy duddy anymore. I have officially joined the ranks of iPod users everywhere. Yeah, I know. The iPod Touch came out about four years ago, but I would rather interface with people than machines.

I don’t keep up with the latest gadgets. I still have my hot pink iPod Shuffle, but I haven’t used it much because, frankly, it’s been hard for me to let go of CDs. There’s just something special about holding the music in my hands. It’s almost as if I can touch it the way it touches me.

Plus, I love reading liner notes.

When I was working on my master’s in journalism, I took a creative nonfiction class. We had to pick a place and convey a message about life by SHOWING the details about the place. I wrote about the Troubadour on Santa Monica Blvd. in California. Inspired by the lyrics of Joe Walsh’s “Sad Café” and the accompanying liner notes, I did my own research and found myself metaphorically there. I wouldn’t trade that homework assignment for anything. And I got an A on my paper!

It’s not that I don’t like anything new. It’s that I deplore reading instruction manuals. It’s slow torture. Blame it on my attention deficit syndrome—my trig teacher actually called me a spaz—to my face. I’d rather somebody tell me, better yet, show me, than have to wade through written details. So I chucked the instructions to the iTouch and asked my techno wizard son to help me.

That’s when I fell in love with iTunes.

I’m not a dummy. I’ve been handing out iTunes cards to my students as prizes and gifts for years, but I have never indulged myself. My laptop and I went for a little visit for coffee and free Wi-Fi, and while I was supposed to be revising my manuscript, I clicked on the iTunes Store.

Like a kid in a candy shop I wandered through the delectable selections. I didn’t realize how easy it was just to click and buy. Click and buy. Whole albums if you want to. Yeah, I hear you. You’re saying, “She’s just now figuring this out?” You’re rolling your eyes too. Stop it. You’re embarrassing me.

My credit card statement hasn’t come in yet. I’m still clicking and buying, but I’m also transferring my old CDs to my iTunes library.As Tom Petty says, “The waiting is the hardest part.” The cool thing is I’ve re-discovered some old tunes that have been stacked up and covered with dust because I’ve been too lazy to trade out the disks in my dinosaur disc changer.

The little listening device is blues heavy right now, and I haven’t even gotten to my Stevie Ray Vaughan collection. I have so much more to load. Back in the late 90s when I wrote for several music magazines, my mailbox overflowed with free CDs sent to me via publicists. (The best perk of writing about music!) I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to transfer all my CCM. My classic rock collection is already there waiting on me, as are Dierks Bentley and Taylor Swift.

The Internet is a wonderful thing for obsessed music fans. It’s like a nice genie that grants unlimited wishes. All I have to do is Google, and I have the lyrics and chords to any song I want. Now I can own my own copy with just a click.

I remember the day I first heard “Hotel California” by the Eagles on the radio. I begged my dad to  drive me to the store so that I could buy it. Back then singles came out on 45s, so I flipped through the record bin, searching for a song with the word California in it. (BTW, Dear students, 45s are round pieces of vinyl that play songs on a record player. Never mind. Go Google it. You’ll figure it out.) Anyway, it didn’t take me long to fall in love with the Eagles. Now I have pretty much their whole collection, and I’ve seen them live. And did I mention Joe Walsh called me? What? Did you really think I wouldn’t say that–again?

So what’s today’s pick?

When I was transferring music today, I found a little surprise tucked inside the sleeve of a re-discovered Sheryl Crow CD, 100 Miles to Memphis. I’m talking about her Detours album. Wow. Didn’t know I owned that one. I downloaded it to my iTunes and randomly clicked on a track, and like serendipity I discovered a song that resonates. Sheryl Crow’s “Drunk with the Thought of You.”

So guess what I’ve been doing all afternoon? Here’s a hint: I’m armed with a six string, and I’m sitting in front of a laptop, lyrics, and a tab. I’ve been playing with writing my own stuff, but I like to learn how to play the songs of artists that inspire me. Sheryl Crow is one of those. I may not agree with her politics, but I envy her voice.

So what’s the next step in my better late than never iPod journey? Playlists. But I’ll save that for the next blog. What’s new with you?

Monday Mentor Songwriter Appreciation

For this week’s Monday Mentor post, I decided to pay homage to a few of my favorite songwriters. I didn’t mention the singers’ names or the song titles because I wanted to focus only on the craft, the writers’ abilities to tap our emotions through their carefully chosen tools of diction, imagery, juxtaposition, metaphor, simile, personification. I admire their art.

Songwriters are amazing artists. The masters of the craft can take a story and lay it out before us in three minutes. When they mix their lyrics with the right music, they make art that moves us to laugh, dream, think, sing and love.

I am always inspired by quotes and lyrics. What is your favorite song lyric? Why is it so powerful? What special meaning does it have for you?

The Indian summer both of us laughing

Hackberry trees and fireflies flashing

So many holes in the soles of our shoes

You don’t choose life, life chooses you

Floatin’ on a raft we built from scrap wood

Mosquito scratching felt so good

And I’ve never seen eyes your color of blue

You don’t choose love, love chooses you ~ Rodney Clawson

 I’d change it if I could, but I’m really not that strong

I might be understood if I knew where I belong

I might fly beyond this room

And kiss the cheek of the moon ~ Wayne Kirkpatrick

If I could reach the stars I’d pull one down for you
Shine it on my heart so you could see the truth
That this love I have inside is everything it seems
But for now I find it’s only in my dreams ~ Gordon Kennedy, Wayne Kirkpatrick, Tommy Sims

 But every time you hold me

You take away some lonely

Everytime you love me

The further away I get from the edge ~ Pete Sallis

Questioning those in powerful position
Running to those who called His name
(But) Nobody knew His secret ambition
Was to give His life away ~ Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Wayne Kirkpatrick

Oh, it seemed like a holy place, protected by amazing grace
And we would sing right out loud, the things we could not say
We thought we could change this world with words like “love” and “freedom”
We were part of the lonely crowd inside the sad café ~ Don Henley, J.D. Souther, Joe Walsh, Glenn Frey

Would I know by sight if I met you in the street
Clandestined collision by shuffling feet
I’ve only seen your face on museum walls
But your everpresent eyes don’t miss the sparrow’s fall. ~ Justin Vigeant

In open fields of wild flowers, she breathes the air and flies away
She thanks her Jesus for the daises and the roses in no simple language
Someday she’ll understand the meaning of it all ~ Matt Bronleewe, Dan Haseltine, Charlie Lowell, Steve Mason

You’ll see mountains and the valleys

And the rivers far down below

Oh the high road might get lonely

But it’s the only way to go ~ Pete Sallis

And I don’t know how it gets better than this

You take my hand and drag me headfirst, fearless

I don’t know why but with you I’d dance

In a storm in my best dress, fearless ~ Hillery Lindsey, Liz Rose, Taylor Swift

 Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses

You been out ridin’ fences for so long now.

Oh, you’re a hard one, I know that you got your reasons

These things that are pleasin’ you can hurt you somehow ~ Don Henley, Glenn Frey

Just to know, just to know that you love me gives me hope to carry on
What can this world do to me? No, no
Just to know, just to know that you’re with me
On all these roads I traveled on
When all I have is gone, I confess my dependence on you ~ Jamie Slocum

I run from hate, I run from prejudice
I run from pessimists, but I run too late
I run my life or is it running me, run from my past
I run too fast or too slow it seems
When lies become the truth
That’s when I run to you ~ Tom Douglas, David Wesley Haywood, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott

 And now I’m singing my songs

Standing up on a big and bright stage, yeah

And I do my dance while the music plays

But when the music stops

Am I doing the walk? ~ Steven Curtis Chapman

Even when you’re gone,
Somehow you come along just like
A flower pokin’ through the sidewalk crack
And just like that
You steal away the rain, and just like that
You make me smile like the sun, fall out of bed
Sing like a bird, dizzy in my head
Spin like a record, crazy on a Sunday night ~ Jeremy Bose, Blair Daly, J. Harding, Matthew Shafer