My parents appreciate good music. They love the classics and are open to the new stuff, my dad especially. I get him music almost every holiday/birthday. Kid Rock, Old Crow Medicine Show, the Beatles, and She & Him to name just a few. Growing up, my mom would put on the Beatles or Simon and Garfunkle, and she and my brother and I would dance together in the family room. Sometimes she even taught us dances steps from her aerobic dance class. I’ve known the words to Strawberry Fields, Penny Lane, and Mrs. Robinson my whole life. In the car we listened to the oldies station almost exclusively. I think 60s and 70s pop brought back childhood memories for my mom. She once told me that American songs would come out in Holland, and she and her friends would sing along not knowing what the words really meant. She had a Neil Diamond poster hanging in her room. As a result, I was the kid in middle school who awkwardly (please, everything I did in middle school was awkward) avoided the question of favorite music because oldies weren’t “cool.” I was so insecure. (Ha, was? Who are we kidding, I will always be the epitome of awkward and insecure.)
We didn’t only listen to classic rock though. My parents were avid symphony goers, even if my dad sometimes fell asleep in the theater after long work days. Classical made appearances in our stereo, too. Every Christmas, even now, my dad picked a classical CD to play while we cooked and opened gifts. The rising and falling of strings and horns mixed easily with family chatter. My dad actually owns and really enjoys a copy of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. I think we must have listened to classical shows on NPR because I remember my parents always writing down the names of composers and symphonies.
So anyway, I have this soft spot in my music heart for anything classical or classical-esque. Today’s song of the week reflects that. James Blackshaw is a guitarist and pianist. NPR calls his music “transcendental chamber music.” I don’t know. I’d go with like riding a slightly angsty and dark but somehow inspiring wave. This is a track from his new album All is Falling Apart. I can’t seem to find the full length version of it that I can embed here, but I can find a seven minute version.