This all started when our daughter was born 18 years ago. From the very beginning I sang to her and she would sing back to me. Sharing music together has been one of the best parts of being a father and it inspired the song "Collide the Generations" which is also partly about the feeling I think all parents have about their kids passing them by at the speed of light. That got me thinking about how over the years just about everyone I know gets excited when they talk about sharing their favorite music with their kids and that younger musicians talking about older musicians influencing them is pretty interesting too. So here's a place for all of that stuff. — Garland
Stories about how music gets passed down the line, whether parents talking about sharing music with their kids or young musicians talking about the older performers who inspired them.
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The idea of sharing or receiving music from or with another generation is one of the most natural and uncomplicated of all human exchanges. In my experience there are many roads to discovering and sharing music. For me it began before I entered this world, with the music that my mother was listening to. In my case there was a good deal of music in the house, both created by my parents, their friends as well as from the records that were played in the house.
After entering this world I think we begin to associate music with the experiences that we have. A broad musical palette takes a true curiosity of the unknown. I could be wrong but it seems like there’s a window of opportunity through our twenties for us to push our musical interests in every direction. I’ve never met an adult who challenges their musical tastes if they weren’t doing so when they were young.
My first departures into the unknown came via my transistor radio and my dad’s record collection. I did something that a surprising number of my friends didn’t do; I changed the channel on my radio dial and found music beyond Top 40. I also reached for random records in our collection and eventually listened to all of them. I was so lucky to have taken that risk because it changed my life.
There are those records that you can turn people on to. And know that it will give them pleasure. When I first heard the JJ Cale album Naturally, it sounded like a long lost friend and at the same time he sounded like he was from another galaxy or at least another planet. As well he should, he’s from Oklahoma you know. At a gig recently, the bartender let the needle rest for the whole of side one. And after a long unrewarding night of humping equipment and kicking around songs, the sound of that record immediately lifted my spirits and changed the mood of the room.
At another gig in Louisiana a few years back I vividly remember hearing it spilling out into the St Francisville cabin park, after three days of rain, the air was hanging thick -- the crickets were cricking and the major 7th chords of Magnolia mixed in with the sticky atmosphere. It sounded beautiful and smelled heavenly. Made me wish I could freeze the moment. 190 miles from the Angola prison.
JJ Cale’s Naturally was one record that we could agree on in the Green On Red van. I used to listen to this record in the dark with Stephie. Music brought me together with Stephie. When we started singing together – and I heard our voices together. I thought we might get married someday. And it happened. Maybe I’ll put it on later tonight. That’s the best music. The kind that brings people together.
My daughter Natalie was about 11 when the Spice Girls hit with "Wannabe," and naturally, with other kids her age falling prey to their dulcet tones - or perhaps more importantly - their awesome stage names, she was not immune to the charms of this fluffy piece of pop.
Then she heard the Beatles. Or rather, saw them on TV. The combination of old Beatles footage and those timeless songs had her in thrall, and even when she found out that one member was dead and the rest were older than her parents and that they had not even been the Beatles since 1970, it didn't dent her enjoyment one bit.
I tried but failed to turn her on to the Stones, though. She found Jagger absurd and just laughed at the very idea. How about some Beefheart? I thought. Well, as any young man in 1971 found out to his chagrin, if you asked a girl "So...do you wanna come back to my place and listen to some Beefheart?" you would find yourself going home alone that night.
The Captain didn't impress any better in the 90's either, and my daughter - after suffering half a side of "Safe As Milk" - cracked up laughing and told me that in her mind she pictured Beefheart and his musicians as a bunch of really old men, dressed in overalls and straw hats, and performing on a porch like something out of a black and white western.