Wednesday, March 9, 2016


I have a birthday coming up in a couple weeks. 55. Which feels harsher than 50 did, those 5's ganging up on me now.

My mom's death last year hit me with, among other things, an inescapable feeling that there's not a lot of time left, and most of the anxiety of that realization clusters around my work, my career. Just when I've only in the last few years begun to have some grasp on my talent or power or ability, the future no longer stretches out beyond seeing.

Big thoughts!

On that subject, I've been looking at songs and songwriters that have been models for me, conscious or unconscious influences, and I was reading the New York Times review of Disaster! this morning in which Charles Isherwood mentions the K-Tel compilation albums that were ubiquitous in the 70s and I remembered one in particular that I was obsessed with as a tween -- called Good Vibrations, it had a sort of acid trip yellow cover -- so I Googled it and it turns out it was Ronco, not K-Tel, but y'know culturally speaking more or less the same thing, relentless TV commercials hawking these albums with scrolling song titles over excerpts from the songs, only available by mail order.

Reading this playlist, suddenly everything about me as a songwriter makes sense. I was 12 when I got this record. It predates Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath and Heart, it predates Judy Garland and Joan Baez, musicals, it even predates The Partridge Family (all those Wes Farrell songs I always kind of thought of as my earliest musical influence).

Two songs on this record still play in my dreams: If You Don't Know Me By Now, and Melanie's Peace Will Come. And the Association's Darling Be Home Soon. Handbags and Gladrags. All the Young Dudes!

Possibly the momentousness of this is lost except on me, but I feel like Mary Leakey discovering the Lucy bones this morning.

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