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?