The Soundtrack To Our Lives
Oct. 27, 2016 at midnight
I still remember the first time I heard the band that changed my life forever. A high school classmate gave me a cassette tape of The Smiths. I played it on a Sony Walkman during the school lunch break. Hidden amid the warbling of this well-worn tape was a hypnotic sound. The chords and vocals resonated with the full measure of teen angst and isolation - it was the sound of truth.
There began my torrid devotion to this relatively obscure British band. The Smiths enigmatic front man Morrissey was often pictured clutching a book of poetry. Lead guitarist Johnny Marr always gave the impression that he only ever spoke through chords. Both men inspired me to grab a guitar and wrestle with those chords. Though I would never sound like them, I became fixed on being like them, in thought and appearance.
My infatuation with The Smiths deepened my affection for music of different genres, the quirkier the musicians the better. Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top certainly fit the bill. And, yes, his peculiar beard was the first thing that caught my attention. Moreover, Gibbons commanded an eclectic rock and roll sound from his guitar, one firmly rooted in every-man blues.
Music sees us through the highs and lows of our lives. I recall how listening to Elton John furiously pound out ‘Saturday’ on a grand piano, could salvage the worst Monday.
Today, music and musicians are more accessible than ever with the explosion of social media and the on-demand culture of downloadable music.
Mega pop star Taylor Swift, arguably one of the most popular female performers on the planet, is intimately connected with her fans. She devotes countless hours interacting online with her ‘Swifties’, as they are affectionately called, even lavishing them with gifts. Evolution of the entertainment landscape has also seen ordinary people with extraordinary talent benefit from the surge in popularity of reality television shows such as The Voice and America’s Got Talent, spawning a new generation of artistes.
12-year-old phenom Grace VanderWaal stood on stage before the fearsome Simon Cowell, armed with a ukulele. She stood fast and belted out a voice and talent that belied her age. The crowd was immediately besotted with this preteen wonder. Singer and songwriter Carrie Underwood plotted a similar course to music stardom as the winner of the fourth season of American Idol.
Not everyone, though, is as enamored with the television talent show format. Veteran grunge rocker Dave Grohl, of Nirvana and Foo Fighters fame, isn’t keen on the somewhat gladiatorial nature of reality talent shows. He’s convinced that the true path to musicianship is practice and perseverance, and not the swift judgment of the made-for-TV moment.
From that worn out cassette of my very first Smiths album to the advent of the internet and social media, technology has forever changed the way we consume music and trace the trajectories of our favorite artistes. What hasn’t changed is the power of music to move us, to influence the way we dress, dance, talk and experience the full range of human emotions. All of this potency is often bundled into humble arrangements of notes, words and earnest feeling.
Lifelong friendships are born out of mutual interests in certain performers. Concert venues are cathedrals to our musical messiahs, many of whom have impacted our lives in ways even they can’t fathom. If you think about it, some of our most treasured memories are most often paired in our minds with songs we loved most. These mental musical archives are populated with the beloved artistes who give us the soundtracks to our lives.
Mundt Music of Longview, LLC is your local full line music store. Located at 2312 Judson Road, we have a great selection of instruments for everyone from the beginner to the professional musician in your life. Not sure where to start? Let one of our knowledgeable and friendly staff members help you find the perfect instrument. Lessons for a variety of instruments are also currently available. Stop by the store or give us a call at 903-758-8872 today for more information.