My first memories of having an actual summer revolve around my post-kindergarten summer. Prior to that, as a toddler, every day is like summer. But, after actually putting in the grind of a schoolyear for the first time, I was actually loving this thing called summer break. I mean coloring within the lines and cutting out new shapes can be stressful for a 5 year old.
Both of my parents worked, so that left my summer itinerary up to my older sister. This meant plopping me in front of MTV for hours on end and plying me with health foods like Dr. Pepper and pop tarts. Or running up to West Pool for some mischief. If I wasn’t outside running amok, I was inside mesmerized by music on television. My eardrums were slammed and eyeballs were crammed with tunes from Duran Duran, Tears For Fears, Huey Lewis, David Lee Roth, Twisted Sister and Prince. Even if they were songs I’d heard previously in a different setting, something about summer made them resonate harder.
This was my first exposure to the summer song phenomenon.
As I grew older and was able to wield more independence and influence in my pop culture samplings, my musical tastes evolved past what I could find right in front of me. Friends word of mouth was the Internet of the day and if the band sounded cool or dangerous, I was all in. By the time I was driving that meant heavy doses of CCR (not the Ragweed version kids), Pantera (something about Phil’s screams sounded more primal in the summer), gangsta rap (rolling the streets of the country and suburbs is rough, yo!), Gary Stewart (nobody throws a better party), and Hank Jr. (ditto).
Again, you could hear those songs all year long, but they just sounded cooler from mid-May to Labor Day.
By the time I immersed myself in “Texas Music” in the late 90’s, there were no shortage of summer anthems from my new favorites. Half of Pat Green’s catalog and every Cory Morrow gig were cause for summer celebration.
It’s that feeling of reckless abandon and the notion that anything can happen. The days are longer and the caution less tangible. The songs of summer reflect that. It can be lyrically or melodically, or both. The fact remains that certain songs capture the essence of summer better than others. Perhaps, no song has ever done this quite as well as Bob Seger’s “Night Moves”.
Seger captures the essence of youthful, reckless summer abandon and exploration. Many Texas songwriters have utilized this same, fertile inspirational ground.
There are many others. But the inspiration is the same. Long days, longer nights (for a completely different reason), and the irrepressible Texas spirit that causes you to chase your own good times down no matter the cost. The soundtrack has a different feel than that of the autumn, winter or spring. Isn’t it cool how each season has it’s own rhythm, sound and viewpoint? The good Lord sure knew was he was doing.
This dynamic seasonal shift causes much consternation for artists and radio promoters as they determine which songs to release to radio and when. You don’t want to put a ballad out in June. You probably don’t want to release a rocker in December. There are other guidelines, and yes even exceptions, but there are reasons why certain songs click with people at specific times throughout the year.
What summer song resonates with you?
-Speaking of summer, headed to the Hangout Beach Fest next week. So stoked it’s unbelievable. White sands. Groovy tunes.
–Greenfest tickets are now on sale. Stay tuned for a special deal we’ll be running next week only!
-I love Texas…hate her allergies and her thunderstorms that tear up stuff and injure folks.
-Kudos to all tour managers. Organizing and getting musicians where they should be on time is akin to herding cats. If the cats were drunk.
-Patio. Baseball on the tube, bbq on the smoker. Technology. 2016. Love it.
-The Texas Autobahn around Austin is a beautiful, beautiful thing.
–This month’s recommended album: Ryan Beaver-Rx. Ryan Beaver is one of the most talented singer/songwriters to spring from our borders over the past decade. After knocking around here doing the Texas thing for several years, he headed off to Nashville. It was a bold move, but the correct one. He’s spent the past couple years in the Music City Woodshed and come out of it for the better. Rx is a testament to many things, but artistry is at the top.
-“Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.”-Mark Twain