Over the last few months, I have had an opportunity to engage in “binge” listening to some of my favorite performers. I do this usually when driving for many hours by myself and I will go through an artist’s entire collection that I have on iTunes. This first happened last year when driving home from the birth of my granddaughter and I listened to Chris Wall.
Chris is a Texas singer-songwriter that writes what I call Texas country, but others call progressive country or Americana. Nothing like the pabulum that comes out of Nashville; in fact, he has a verse in a song that states, “I’d rather be a fence post in Texas than the king of Tennessee!” I agree! I once heard that the reason Nashville country all sounds the same is they market test every song on a scale from 1-5, throwing out all 1s and 5s; turns out those are people on the tails of the bell curve and tend to either hate or love songs, but not in between. I fall into that group!
So, here I was in music heaven tooling down the highway listening to Chris and, ironically, stopped in his hometown of Austin about the time I finished all his albums! Despite his talent and repertoire, like another Texas singer-songwriter Ray Wiley Hubbard, he is known for one wacky, not-so-great (at least in my opinion!) song that another group got on the Country Top-40 chart!
Speaking of my opinion, I know my tastes in music are strange, but then I guess in many ways I am too! I recently sent an email to a British colleague to ask him a cultural question in which I described myself as, “an eclectic mix of anti-USA puritanical thinking, quaint southern US/Texas charm and traditionalism, progressivism, and roll-your-eyes New Ager” and my music reflects that.
The easiest way to describe what I like is to do so in the negative; I do not like any “hard” portions of genres, be it rock, jazz, country, R&B, classical, etc. Further, my favorites really do not fall into so much an individual ranking, but more by grouping. I like Texas Country, New Age, and World music the best, and then Rock, the rest of Americana next, followed by Jazz, Classical, and Alternative. I know, the definition of eclectic!
On Facebook, I have seen posts that ask, “If stranded on a deserted island and you could only listen to one performer/group, who would it be?” Up until now, I have always answered Yanni, but he has just been the first among many equals. Right beside him are Brian Crain, George Winston, David Anthony, Suzanne Ciani, Enya, and my new favorite, Paul Cardell, but they are only in the New Age group!
In the Texas group (every bit as much “top tier” as New Age and along with Chris Wall, I love Michael Hearne (he, Shake Russell, and Jimmy Stadler wrote the song Suz and I chose as our father/daughter wedding dance!), Gary P. Nunn, Shake, Tish Hinojosa, and Michael Martin Murphey (his early music, not so much his new albums). Under the World genre, it is Jessie Cook (some call is music Jazz), Rondo Veneziano, Bau, Willie & Lobo, and Isreal Kamakawiwo’ole (okay, he probably should be in Americana, but I have him in World!).
There are no real Jazz, Classical, and Alternative performers I am really excited about, but in Rock, there are, of course, the Beatles, Beach Boys, ELO, the Moody Blues, CCR, and ABBA. Yes, I know some of you are gagging and going to quit reading with the mention of ABBA, but it is true, if stuck on a deserted island, I would be just a happy always listing to them.
I feel they have great lyrics and tunes and on a recent long flight, I got many of them in! Hate the movie, but love the play, Momma Mia, seeing it several times. So that is my life in the music fast lane. Now if I could only 2-Step to Angel Eyes!