February 3, 2009
Recently I’ve been aware of how important music is at this particular moment in my life. I suppose it always has been; however, it's been my tendency to remark on its significance after the fact. I’m one of those members of my generation who fills his iPod with songs from the past, dredging up memories of spiky haircuts, girls in legwarmers and sweaty, flailing college students on beer-sticky dance floors from years gone by.
Or, in the more distant past, if I hear anything that was in the top 40 between 1973 and 1977, I’m transported back to Rocky Ledge, a local swimming club, hidden away in the hills of North White Plains, where my brother and I spent our summers swimming, looking at girls and listening to people like Paul McCartney and Wings, War, Rod Stewart, Earth Wind and Fire, Frampton and the Bee Gees being piped constantly through loud speakers around the grounds.
So now here I am in this new place, this new city so well known for its music, and I’ve been introduced to KGSR, a station that does its best to honor Austin – not only musically, but by making sure to profile people in the community who do good works, in the areas of charity, education and the arts.
And every day, between the hours of 7 and 8 in the morning and then, after work, between 5 and 6, I turn on the car radio and listen to GSR’s programming. (Yes, I admit to sometimes switching over to Bob-FM during commercials, for the aforementioned fix of 70’s and 80’s one sometimes gets to hear there.) I’ll also occasionally dial up kgsr.com on my office computer when I’m anchored there with a lot to write. I never complain about the songs they tend to repeat, this due to the realization I mentioned at the start of this entry; these are the songs that will evoke this special time in my life in the years to come: “Real Love” by Lucinda Williams, “Sister Lost Soul” and “Always a Friend” by Alejandro Escovedo, “Love Song” by Sara Bareilles, “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz, “Strange Overtones” by David Byrne and Brian Eno, lots of Lyle Lovett, some Dixie Chicks, a smidgen of Johnny Cash, and the occasional Willie Nelson, of course.
This list is incomplete. But I know that wherever life takes me in the future, the moment I hear any of these songs, I’ll be driving down I-35 from Pflugerville to Austin, pulling into my numbered parking space at Austin High, pointing out the longhorn statues walking across the roof of the car dealership to my kids, or wondering why the hell all those birds descend upon the La Frontera Shopping Center every evening at dusk…