Music has this way - to be more specific, actually certain songs and albums (hey - that's what they called 'em when I was a kid) have this way of putting one in a sentimental spot.  I think most people of reasonable age can hear a certain song or put on a certain album and recall where they were and what they were doing the first time they heard it.  This very thing came to light the other day, when I was leaving the house to head off for my day and in my need for some music to listen to while driving, I reached into my CD wallet and grabbed the first thing that I could get my hands on.  In this case, I grabbed "Trace", a classic gem of an Alt-Country/Americana first album by Son Volt.  I began listening to this record (another term we used to describe a collection of songs by an artist) in earnest when I first began taking to the road and performing outside of my hometown of Buffalo.  Upon this particular spin of "Trace" in my car's CD player, I was immediately transported to the days when Jeffrey Mikulski and I would head off to play coffeehouses in places like Brockport and Corning, NY and the drive to these places played like a vignette in my mind - in particular the 3 hour drive to Corning, driving that stretch of the 390 against darkened Winter skies, a lonely stone quarry lit up in that darkness somewhere between Bath and Corning.  "Trace" would often be part of the soundtrack for these road trips, with songs like "Drown", "Loose String", "Tear Stained Eye" and "Live Free" keeping time with the sound of tires against asphalt and wipers on windshield.  I became a student of this music, learning so much about writing in metaphorical and image laden ways listening to lines like "Walking down Main Street, getting to know the concrete" from "Tear Stained Eye" and "I want to see your smile through a pay phone" from "Live Free".  Whether playing with an edge or laying back on acoustic based numbers like "Mystifies Me", there is an undeniable dark melancholy in Jay Farrar's voice which has always lent to the attraction of Son Volt's music for me and inspired me as a songwriter in so many ways.

I also have a similar moment of reminiscing every time I hear the song "Analog Kid" by Rush from the album "Signals".  Each time I hear that song, I cannot help but think of the first time I heard it, driving down Yonge Street in Toronto on a bright Summer day - hearing Geddy Lee sing the line "you move me, you move me - with your buildings and your eyes, Autumn woods and Winter skies".  Each time I visit Toronto, I cannot help to think of that song, much less be "moved" by its "buildings and its eyes". 

And today, on a completely different note, I realized by today's date that it has nearly been one year since Jeffrey, Bill Hawley and myself attended the Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis, TN.  My, how quickly that year has passed, with so much asphalt behind us, so many memories made, new friends to treasure and so many new adventures ahead, spread out on that road before us.  For all of us, should we choose to accept the challenge.....

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