06 January 2010

Ruminations on a Past Decade

(Picture by Leslie Bivens. This might have been late 1999, but was about as close to 2000 as I could find in my archives)

It must have been mid-December when I started thinking about composing an end-of-the-decade blog. At first I had planned to compose a blog that captured the last ten years of life, you know, a where I’ve been, what I’ve done, what I learned, what I didn’t learn. Upon returning back from Charlotte with a trunk full of journals and pictures from the last ten years, I commenced to writing. And I wrote three pages about the last ten years. I thought about each year, pouring over the pictures and journal entries. So, why haven’t I posted it?

I’ve re-read what I have written for the last several days trying to decide upon posting both the three pages and 75 pictures I had selected. But then, I realized, I can’t. While the process was extremely cathartic, I realized it was more important for me to travel through the years than it would be for me to share it. With that decision, I’ve decided to print out what I’ve written and post it in my new journal for the New Year. It’ll serve as a reminder of the joys and sorrows of the previous years, with an overwhelming hope for the upcoming decades.

But what did I learn?

In the last ten years, I’ve lost two people that I loved dearly- both my dad, Greg, and Joe, an ex-lover. While I, in complicated ways, dealt with their passing, I’ve learned how to forgive and remember. I was also engaged twice to be married to two very different men. Through the ups and downs of my relationships, I’ve learned how to open myself up to love and also how to find happiness on my own. Over the years, I’ve self-published the last two issues of my zine, bittersweet, run my own promotional company and record label, Bittersweet Promotions and Records, and started my own blog, www.musicismemory.com. Through these experiences I had the wonderful opportunity to work with dozens of excellent musicians and find ways to express myself through the written word. In addition, I’ve written two and half unpublished novels and two chapters for a book proposal about music and memories. I recorded, with the help of a friend, four songs based on my prose. I also worked at a school uniform company, Coca-Cola Bottling Company, and at various schools and universities. I earned my masters degree and started work on my PhD. I overcame one of my biggest fears about lecturing in front of a class only to discover that I loved it more than anything else I’ve ever done. I adopted two fantastic cats, Sabine and Igor. I’ve traveled all around the country and ventured to Puerto Rico twice. I’ve lived in Charlotte, Myrtle Beach, and Nashville. I’ve seen hundreds of incredible rock shows and even seen a couple of legends. I got sea-sick on a casino boat ride and flew over the ocean in a helicopter. I’ve welcomed the life of my nephew, Emmett. I've always had the constant of my family, my Mom, John, Ashley, Jambe, and Taylor, and best friend, Jennie Ann, for laughs and love. I’ve shared my life with so many wonderful people in the last ten years that it’d be difficult to name them all. But I thank them and know, for a fact, that life would not have been worth living without them.

Recollecting on the last decade has been (for lack of a better word) bittersweet. And so, I raise my glass to the new decade, with the following resolutions for the New Year…

1) Use lots of conditioner. I’ve heard it works for getting things disentangled.
2) To ‘rosetta stone’ my way to fluency.
3) To be more thoughtful in my reactions to people when they are a) kind to me and deserving of recognition and, b) not kind to me and deserving of an ass-kicking.
4) Take more trips.
5) Write more, with my new journal and book proposal in mind.

04 January 2010

First Show of the Year: Eric Bachmann, Charlotte, 2010

"Drinking sparkling wine and cheap perfume. I've been looking for some soft abuse."

I was in Boone, North Carolina when I first heard of Archers of Loaf. I think I probably peaked a little late on the whole Archers adoration, but I can remember driving through those mountains in my 1984 Ford Escort blasting the song, "Web in Front."

But I would truly fall in love with the music of Eric Bachmann in 1999 or 2000. My good friend Charles would make me the first holiday mix I would ever receive. It was boldly (and quite simply) entitled, "Holiday." Somewhere buried on the first side of the tape was a song by Eric Bachmann. It was the song "Broken Man." I remember visiting my friend Sam Carter in Asheville and playing the song for him.

From that moment on,I would follow the career of Bachmann with enthusiasm. I remember sitting out back at Tonic in Charlotte during their singer-songwriter nights as a young troubadour drunkenly covered the song, "New Drink for the Old Drunk." I remember seeing Crooked Fingers at Tremont Music Hall in 2001 with one of my oldest friends. I remember a late night party at my folks house where a house full of kids screamed the lyrics of his songs at the top of their lungs. And I also remember driving to Chapel Hill to see Crooked Fingers...well, that must have been around 2002.

I decided on a trip to Charlotte for New Years for a couple of reasons. One, I had been unable to find a great New Years rock show to attend and two, because I wanted to spend the end of a decade with my mother. So, imagine my pleasant surprise when I discovered that while I was still in town, Eric Bachmann would be performing at The Evening Muse. It would be the first rock show of the year.

Shows at The Muse are always intimate. And it was lovely. Eric played solo, as Liz Durrett, the other performer on the bill, would be absent due to the death of Vic Chesnutt, a member of her family. Given the circumstances, Eric dedicated the entire set to Vic, something we all appreciated.

Throughout the show, Eric asked for requests...which I finally mustered up the courage to request "New Drink for the Old Drunk." Here is a short video. [Note: I only took very short videos, because while I wanted to capture the song, I also didn't wanted to inundate myself in the music, so they'll leave you desiring more. That's for sure.]

He also played my favorite Archers song. See below.

And here are a few other clips for you.

And I must say, I couldn't have imagined a more perfect first show of the New Year. Though, I did shed a few tears, as did my mom, particularly when he finished the set with "Little Bird," which felt like it had been written for Vic. "A gentle bird of grace and beauty came down to sing a sweet refrain. Won't you fly away with me? Won't you fly away with me?"