20 June 2008

Back To My, Um, Roots

The proof that I am not--was not and never will be--a hipster is the fact that during my college years, the Lillith Years, if you will, I was very much enamored of folk music. That's right! Folk music--I liked it. I pored over Ani DiFranco's oeuvre. In the hot minute I took music lessons, one of the songs I asked my teacher to teach me to play on the bass was "The Million You Never Made." (The part at the end is one of the most wicked awesome bass lines you will ever hear.) In fact, I still have Not A Pretty Girl. Yes, all very tragically not-cool. In fact, I attended earnest coffeehouses in which local singer-songwriters performed and saw Cry, Cry, Cry in 1998 or 1999. And, though I haven't listened to it in years, I cannot imagine parting with the Indigo Girls cd I used to sing to in the Community Mercantile kitchen in 1996.

Once I was firmly entrenched in grad school, I tried to toe the line: Radiohead, indie band o' the month, etc. It was just impossible not to like the cool stuff--unthinkable. During a comm studies/mass comm class I had an epiphany: I didn't give a single flying fuck about punk or any of the permutations thereafter. Or hip-hop, for that matter. I didn't have the story to tell about how music had saved my life. I just didn't.

In the past year or so, I've started to reclaim my "cheesy" folk roots. I unabashedly tune in to "American Routes." I love The Be Good Tanyas. I am currently listening to Pieta Brown's latest album on Free Napster. And, yes, I have my theories about roots and folk music and vernacular cultures.

Obviously, it's more complicated than labeling myself a folkhead--what with my predilections for both hot house cuts and preferring silence. But now that I'm in my 30s, coolness recedes. I can get slide guitars and spooky harmonies and just go to church if I want to.

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