Of all the gifts my parents gave me growing up, the most important was one that they probably took for granted. I had a half-brother, Sam, who was much older than me, and whenever he used to stop by for a visit, he usually had his guitar with him. He came around a lot the year before my dad died and he’d entertain us with a variety of songs. He had a twelve-string guitar that had the most amazingly clear sound. It was his guitar playing more than anything else that mesmerized me and developed in me a deep love of music that has carried me through the darkest of times. It has also been the biggest influence in my writing.
Like so many others, there are certain songs or artists that I hear and I am instantly transformed back to a particular time and place. Rod Stewart will always be associated with coming to Los Angeles. Bruce Springsteen is all about the time my sister and I drove across the country to see him perform at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. That is a trip that holds a million memories and it would not have happened had there not been that love of music.
“You Get What You Give” by the New Radicals is all about my daughter. I remember being so discouraged that my Mr. Right hadn’t come along and that I wasn’t ever going to get to have the family I had always dreamed of. That song came on and opened up the floodgates. I remember crying and crying, while both loving the song and bitterly arguing with it in my head. At the same time, I became more determined than ever that one way or another I would get to have more kids, and I did.
I am so grateful that when all else fails, I can put in a CD or (if I’m really lucky) go to a show and gain a new perspective on where I am and where I’m headed. Music has literally saved my life on more than one occasion. So, how about you? Do you have a favorite song or memory that’s all about the music?