I know I’ve said it before, but really, I don’t give a shit. Music has a way of brushing up alongside of me and finding its way into my bones. Growing up, I spent weekends on the sidelines, traveling in the cold autumn with my mother and a tartan thermos, to cheer on Lea’s soccer games. After the game, we’d try to warm our hands and faces, pushing them against the heat vents in the car. Shivering. And when we finally arrived home, we’d still feel the cold. We’d try cocoa or soup or tea, but we all agreed nothing worked. So we’d fight for the showers and insisted we weren’t warmed through unless we thawed in a long bath. We’d use baby powder and emerge from the steamy room wearing wool socks. Then the next of us had her turn to melt our insides. Music does that to me, sticks with me on repeat, runs through me and moves me, deeply. It inspires me, in my bones. It’s why I love to sing and to play it loud.
When Dido first came out with "White Flag," she was featured on Regis & Smelly. I was running late for work, but I couldn’t stop staring. It was a Friday. I was leaving the television on for the housekeeper, and for Linus, but I couldn’t leave. I was stuck in awe. Just now, it happened again with James Blunt, singing "Goodbye My Lover" on Oprah. Ache and awe, it’s all I could feel. I began to cry. Ray LaMontagne has done it for me too, for a long time now, and I cannot wait for his new album (released already), along with the release of The Barenaked Ladies new album (releasing only days before my wedding). Oh my God, I can’t wait!!!
I’ll always think of Philip when I hear Rhett Miller (click link to scroll through samples of his songs). I remember when I had to take a train out to Long Island and sign the last divorce papers. I felt sick and trembled about my life. Philip, who then still commented on this blog as ‘The Suitor,’ had made a mix of cds for me. "Your Nervous Heart" was on it, and on my train ride, on repeat, I listened to the words, imaging my suitor there beside me. "Can I kiss your furrowed brow and calm your nervous heart?" And in just that line, that’s the safety I felt with him. I’ve been struggling to figure out what our song is, for the wedding. And really, that’s it. Right there in a Rhett Miller song. I will never think of anything but him coming into my life at that time, with that song, on that train, him beside me without being there. In a song. That night, my girlfriends met me for champagne, and we celebrated my new life. And Philip met us, upon my insistence. It was one of the best days of my life, a day I’d dreaded and lost sleep over. That night, my life felt like a movie, where all the conversation was muted and a soundtrack played over the din of champagne glasses, stares, and lifelong memories on the make.
*As for Regina Spektor, I’m still a huge fan of Samson, even though it doesn’t make me think of anyone.