Wednesday, January 10, 2007

music machine

Like so many people, I love music. As a child I had sleeping issues, so I would lie awake singing every song I knew then making up my own. I wanted to be a songwriter, a creator of music, and though I never followed up on that particular dream, I still adore those little black dots that float along five black parallel lines to make sweet, sweet sounds, though, except for that one time in Ireland where part of our tin whistle education was to write notes into an exercise book, I’ve never created my own music. Instead, I’ve satisfied my love by teaching myself to play the piano and broadening my musical horizons.

Because my parents are very devout Christians, secular music of any kind was strictly verboten. But we still had plenty of music around, just different music. I grew up listening to Nathaniel the Grublet, Antshillvania and Psalty the singing songbook and many other Christian kid tapes. When I hit my tween years, I began listening to Amy Grant and several other Contemporary Christian artists. I never knew what I was missing. One night I was at a sleepover birthday party, and one of the games was to stick a word or phrase on the back of the guests and through hints, you were to guess who or what your were. Everyone else had long-since guessed hers, but I was the last one standing. Finally the mom stepped, because she realized I had no clue. When they took the sticker off my back and showed me the name, I shrugged in ignorance. Nirvana. I didn’t even know who Nirvana was.

So in recent years, I have been discovering artists to whom I was never exposed before. Steve has introduced me to a realm of 70’s and 80’s music I have come to adore, though my s nineteen year-old sister, who is firmly grasped by the twenty-first century is appalled by my new musical tastes.

But I am amazed by all that there is out there. I’d never heard of Roxy Music or the frontman Bryan Ferry, David Sylvian, or Al Stewart, and now I adore their music. David Bowie and Queen I’d heard only negative things about and of course Queen’s arena songs, but there is so much more to them. I’ve been devouring and entrenching myself in these new sounds that are old to so many: ELO, Kraftwerk, Leonard Cohen. I have however discovered newer recent artists as well. I was one of the first on the Snow Patrol wagon, I fell in love with Rufus Wainwright’s musical majesty, I adored Damien Rice, and Maria Mena, Rachael Yamagata, and Hooverphonic.

My favorite discovery of 2006 is definitely Regina Spektor. The depth and variety and creativity in her music confirm that she is a truly gifted musical genius, everything I dreamt of being as a child, I’ve found in her. She is me, the me I would be if I were true to the fullness of my childhood dreams.

So in the spirit of furthering my discovery of the world of music, I turn to you. Who is your favorite musician and/or 2006 discovery?