January 2022 – Living With the Music

At the risk of sounding like old man yelling at cloud…which is a risk I’m more than okay with as we slide into 2022…remember when we truly lived with albums?  It was common from all genres for you to keep a CD in rotation for months. You’d play that son of a gun until it was worn, scratched and faded.  Your CaseLogic cd holder had a permanent spot missing where the likes of Rollercoaster, Diamonds and Gasoline or #2 Dinner originally had a home.

The convenience of streaming has pushed that mode of listening to a distant memory.  Sure, vinyl is cool and has its place, but it’s not mobile. And in the sea of Spotify, TikTok, YouTube and Apple Music there is the flood of playlists, multiple singles dropped over the course of weeks, the dreaded “exclusives” and it all feels so cavernous that it’s difficult to stay honed in on one album or artist before the next shiny thing comes along.

Convenience is scoring high.  Connection is at an all-time low.

How do we bridge that gap?  Does it truly matter?

I’m not sure.  And it matters to me.

I like living with the songs.  I rather enjoy delving deep into the meaning behind the songs.  I rack my brain and re-listen continually as I attempt to decipher arrangements, melodies, pickers, producers.  I’m not built for casual consumption.  I want to immerse myself.  I need to immerse myself.  It’s a requirement.

If I lack that personal connection that starts with hearing something that grabs my attention and doesn’t let go until I know everything about that particular song, album, band…then I’m out.  I can’t halfass it.  It has to be full go.  

Which is why when I look back at the albums mentioned above and others of their ilk I am transported mentally, physically and spiritually.  They take me to a specific feeling, time, place.  It’s not impossible for the modern listening methods to cause that transition, it’s just much more of an uphill battle. 

That’s the nature of the beast these days.  Binge a show.  UberEats your grub.  Use the app.  

As a society we’ve never been so interconnected and instant yet so disconnected and distant all at once.

Music is a bridge.  At least it is for me.  I hope it is for you as well.

With all this convenience you must force yourself to stick with something.  So, I’ve found creating playlists such as our The Drop or many of my own have been a tremendous remedy for bridging the connectivity gap.  Tap that repeat button.  Lay back.  Hit shuffle.  Crank the earbuds. Soak it in.  

I mean, I don’t even know if I love a song until I’ve heard it at least 17 times.  I might like it at first blush, but I need some time for it to stew in my soul.  

Fans of this type of music and of this scene are the same way.  We aren’t the disposable kind. We’re the mom and pop kind.  We are like the Anthony Bourdain’s of music listening.   We need more.  My suggestion to you is to make time for it.  Your body, mind and soul will appreciate it.  And, so will the music.

MINOR CHORDS:

-Another year, another Cowboys broken heart. I´d like to think I´m numb to it at this point. But my gutteral reaction on Sunday night belies that.

-Man, the REK news was a gut punch. I´m planning hitting umpteen of those farewell shows.

-It´s nigh Mile 0 time. Much more to come.

-I hope you are taking care of yourselves. The past 24 months have been absurd. Hang in there.

-Turnpike could be selling out arenas. Think about that. Wild.

-It´s our 20th anniversary around here. Got a lot going on! Shirts, interviews, podcasts, reunions, festivals oh my!

-This month´s recommended album: Jamestown Revival – Young Man. Effortless harmonies and breezy melodies power the latest collection from this Texas folk duo that reminds of Shovels & Rope with a smoother edge.

-¨Of all the things I´ve lost, I miss my mind the most.¨ – Mark Twain

Brad Beheler

Raised in Waco, refined in the Hill Country, escaped from DFW. I've worked in just about every facet of the music business for 20 years. I like to write about it all. e-mail Brad Editor-in-Chief