Saturday, September 24, 2011

favorite of favorites

Saturday mornings move slowly around here. Hours feel like whole days, and Monday's return to the routine seems far away. This morning has been particularly pleasant. I dove into our CSA vegetables and made breakfast burritos. The open windows let in cool, rain-soaked air, but two pots of coffee have kept me warm. A ball of red wool found its way onto my needles. But by far the best part of this morning has been the music. 

Tonight we've got tickets to a Nanci Griffith concert, so I dug out all of my Nanci records and CDs. I've been playing them the whole morning. Nanci's voice is tied with many memories for me. My dad and uncle listened to her music when I was a kid. Certain lyrics transport me across the world and time. 

Bicycles squeezed down alley ways into view
And towels warmed on oven doors
To not freeze
Was the only thing to do

I hummed this song all over Amsterdam for months as I rode my bike through cobblestone streets. Her words reminded me of home and made me feel less alone among strangers.

One winter night in Japan I walked home from work late at night listening to Nanci's album of torch songs. Snow was piled high around me as I trudged through an empty park. The only sounds were the crunch of snow and Nanci's voice singing "Bluer than blue." The whole world seemed cast in blue--the  pale ice, glowing streetlights, and dark sky.  In those moments I felt both melancholy and the happiest I'd ever been.

One of the Nanci Griffith records I found at a shop in Ann Arbor has notes taken during a concert she played on December 7, 1985. The album is also signed by Nanci and includes her book recommendations: Carson McCullers's Reflections in a Golden Eye and Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel. I think these two need to make it onto my reading list.

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Do you have any special memories tied to music? Who is your favorite musician? What do you love about their music? I'm such a word lover that lyrics are the most important part of music for me, and Nanci's songs always tell stories. She's definitely my favorite of favorites. I can't wait till tonight!


  1. What a wonderful Saturday. I love how music can take you back to places, very magical. Have a wonderful time tonight!

  2. Hope it's fantastic- sure it will be.
    I agree- so many times I will hear a snatch of something on the radio, and be transported to a time and space I had forgotten.
    Also am with you on the lyrics thing- I always think of lyrics as a form of poetry

  3. I'm a lyric person too! My brother picks on me because I'm often quoting lyrics for various situations in life.

    I can't say that I have a favorite artist. I'm tempted to say Ani DiFranco, but I know there are so many more I love just as much.

    Hope you had a great time!

  4. Oooh! Hope it was fun! I love her too!
    Right now I love the Wailin' Jennys and the Weepies. Both have music that I can listen to no matter how I'm feeling and I come away feeling even better than before.


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