Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Soundtrack of my life

(Thanks to Friar Tuck for the idea for this blog post)

I love music. I love to play music. I love to listen to music. And my musical interests are quite varied. And for that, I can thank the following people:

My Mom:

Since my Mom was a stay-at-home mom, she was the earliest and, probably, strongest influence in the music I listen to to this day. My Mom had piles and piles of contemporary Christian cassettes, of which, my favorites were Micheal W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Carmen, and, Amy Grant. The highly synthesized gospel/pop of Carmen, the piano-driven ballads of Micheal W. Smith, the vocal ballads of Amy Grant, and the acoustic-guitar driven light rock of Steven Curtis Chapman all grabbed my attention and interest and laid the foundation for my musical interests in the future.

Yet, when we would drive to Pueblo or La Junta, there were no good Contemporary Christian stations, so we would listen to country music stations. My favorite was a Country Top 40 station that was 101.9 on the radio dial. We would sing along to Garth Brooks, George Strait, Tim McGraw, and Reba McEntire. I remember hearing Alan Jackson's "Neon Rainbow" for the first time. Thanks to my mom, I was able to experience and appreciate the value of a good two stepping song. It was this constant exposure to good country music that made me the dancer I am today (as well as learning how to "pretzel" in 4th grade to, I believe, "T.R.O.U.B.L.E." by Travis Tritt, "Burn Me Down" by Marty Stuart, and Garth Brooks' "Rodeo").

My love of country music even lead me to purchase, as one of my first compact discs, the reissue of "Urban Chipmunk" in which Alvin, Simon, and Theodore sing popular country tunes, including "the Gambler", "I Love a Rainy Night", and "Boot Scootin' Boogie". I'm not ashamed to admit, I loved that CD.

My Dad:

Almost all of my musical memories from my dad revolve around rock and roll. One of my earliest musical memories involves singing "Old Time Rock & Roll" with my dad as we drove to the high school gym so he could play volleyball on a Sunday night. In Dad's car, we would listen to the "Oldies" station. My favorite "Oldies" band was, by far, the Beach Boys. My parents even took me to a Beach Boys concert that followed a Denver Zephyrs (think pre-Rockies era) baseball game.

My dad also listened to a lot of Folk rock while he would work in his garage. He had countless 8-track tapes of John Denver, Jim Croce, Don McLean, and Harry Chapin. I grew to love acoustic guitar soft rock from the hours I'd spent helping him in the garage.

My love for various eras and styles of music came in the middle of the 90s, in my formative musical years, when my dad and I watched the Beatle's Anthology mini-series on tv. I loved every second of it. I loved that mini-series so much that from the moment it aired until December 25, 1995, I begged and pleaded with my parents that they buy the two-disc CD that accompanied the tv show. And, of course, they did. I can still remember seeing the green apple that was on the cover of the CD.

My Parents:

As I grew, and matured, my parents (especially my mom) both allowed me to spread my wings and try out new music, as I continued to enjoy the music of their day. By the time I hit junior high school, I was a rocker at heart, and they didn't seem to mind. I can remember one Christmas my mom bought me the latest Billy Joel CD that I had been begging her to buy me for months. Yet, she also would buy me CDs that I wouldn't expect. I remember that she bought me a copy of the Beatles "Rubber Soul" album.

From junior high on, every chance I would get, I would buy a new CD. And my CD wallet was quiet eclectic. Some of the artist I remember enjoying included Melissa Etherige, Gloria Estefan, TLC, Aerosmith, the Beatles, Joe Diffie, and the Dumb and Dumber soundtrack.

Then came high school.

My friend Brad:

Brad introduced me to VAN HALEN.

I shouldn't really have to say much more than that, but I will. I grew as a music fan in high school, and most of my musical schooling came from Brad. Brad turned me on to 98.1 KKFM, the best classic rock station in Southern Colorado. We spent countless hours listening to the constant stream of AC/DC, Aerosmith, Boston, Def Leppard, The Eagles, Foreigner, Jackyl, Hendrix, Journey, Zepplin, Skynyrd, Pink Floyd, Queen, REO, The Stones, Steve Miller, ZZ Top, The Who, and, most of all, Van Halen.

While we would listen, I would always try to name the song and band sooner than Brad could. I rarely won, and Brad would always quiz me with trivia, who were the members of the band, what album the song was from, what other band(s) the members were a part of, etc.

But Brad's true love was Van Halen. And they would become my band as well. Brad owned almost every Van Halen CD, but his favorite was "5150". We would listen to that CD as we drove to the drag strip each Friday for Friday Night Races, making sure that the song "5150" was the last song we heard when we got to the track.

Brad was also a founding member of a DJing service and we would travel around the Arkansas Valley DJing dances. As DJs, we had to know many different types of music intimately so that we could be successful. We played polka and hip/hop. We played classic rock and country. We played Top 40 pop and dinner music. We played every classic dance song from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. And I loved every minute of it.

Then came college, and Brad introduced me to the Dave Matthews Band. And then DMB became my musical identity. I loved Dave's crazy singing style. I loved the mixture of Leroy's sax and Boyd's fiddle. I loved how Stephan's bass accented Dave's (and Tim Reynold's) acoustic guitar. But I especially loved Carter Beauford and his drums. Hearing them jam for upwards of 10 minutes on a song always lifted my spirits. And they opened my mind up to even more music.

Through DMB, I grew to like artists such as Jason Mraz (thanks in large part to my sister Dana's influence), Jack Johnson, John Mayer, Matchbox 20, and, recently, Mat Kearney and O.A.R.

Over the years, I have grown to appreciate live music as much as recorded music. I've been to the concerts of the Beach Boys, Def Leppard, DMB, Jason Mraz, POD and 5 Iron Frenzy, O.A.R., Mat Kearney, and many others.

So, should Hollywood decide to make a movie about me, I would hope that they would use the following songs as the soundtrack of my life:

Burn Me Down ~ Marty Stuart
California Girls ~ The Beach Boys
Friends ~ Michael W. Smith
American Pie ~ Don McLean
With a Little Help From My Friends ~ The Beatles
Right Now ~ Van Halen
Bicycle ~ Queen
You Can Leave Your Hat On ~ Tom Jones
Crush ~ Dave Matthews Band
Beautiful Mess ~ Diamond Rio
You're the Inspiration ~ Chicago
Here We Go ~ Mat Kearney


  1. I think this list might make Journey a bit sad.

  2. I know, but "Don't Stop Believin'" seems kinda cliche and I picked "Inspiration" to be my love ballad over "Open Arms". It wasn't an easy decision, but it was one I felt compelled to make.

  3. A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. Well done.