Monday, August 24, 2009

I was born, bred, and raised in a house where music was always present. My parents, who both discovered their musical prowress while in New Orleans at Tulane Medical School, beat it into us. Music is everything. Music is freedom. They especially loved live music- I did the pilgrimage to Telluride Bluegrass Festival at 11 months old for the first time. Every summer we had a choice: we could go to the Telluride festival or we could go to the Winterhawk (now known as Grey Fox) festival. Not an option not to go, we just had to pick which one we felt like going to. In someone's cassette player at any given time was always Dr. John, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Miles Davis, Allen Toussaint, Allison Krauss, Jerry Garcia, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Bela Fleck... you name it, we listened to it. We learned the classics, the masters, and spent hours watching my dad pick along to "Wind Cries Mary" with Jimi, or "Friend of the Devil" with Jerry. He would sit with his eyes closed and we would watch him be completely transported to another place. It was magical, and as a little girl, I always wished I could go to that place where he went when he played.

Which brings me to this entry. As I have grown up and matured in my music taste (and learned the hard way I have no real musical talent of my own), I can honestly say that I will listen and appreciate any type of music. I love everything, and depending on my mood, my iTunes will be playing anything from Etta James to Jay-Z. Thanks to my parents I learned to appreciate not the type of music, but the way it was played and the feeling behind it. And I have to say I honestly don't have a "favorite" genre of music, but rather favorite musicians. One of these favorites is John Mayer. I hate the cliché that goes along with him- you all know, your body is a wonderland and no such thing and hysterical teenage girls...blech- but he is legitimately the only one I know who can remotely do a song like "Bold as Love" or "Everyday I have the Blues" justice. I connect instantly with his complete removal of himself while he plays. It reminds me of the place my dad used to go, and the place that so many musicians get to when they truly throw themselves into a piece of music. The way a musician loses control is so rare and so beautiful and I think being in that place it is the only way one can completely capture a song and makes it his (or her) own. And let me tell you- John Mayer is boss at that. If you have any doubt, log onto youtube and search his version of Panama by Van Halen or Free Fallin' by Tom Petty or Crossroads by Eric Clapton...or Bold as Love by Jimi Hendrix...or Wait Until Tomorrow by Jimi...or really any other songs he has covered, and just watch how he inexplicably captures the spirit behind a song, and not just the notes. Especially when he plays blues or jazz music. Truth be told, most of my favorite John stuff comes from the John Mayer Trio, when he gets to play off of other equally talented musicians. I love how their instruments seem like they are having a conversation while they play. In some ways it's like watching a silent movie- you can still understand what they are trying to say, even though there are no words. These guys just let their instruments talk for them, and the notes speak wonders for both the music and their talent. It's truly incredible, and if you're a fan of music, you should just sit and appreciate the talent that these guys have.

They say that good music speaks all languages and brings people together, so I hope that Mr Mayer could bring you a bit of joy tonight, no matter who you are.
Until next time!

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