The Music that Made Me – Part One: Tones of Home

Funny how things work out sometimes. I’ve been feeling the pull to write a lot lately, but every time I sit down I seem to come up empty. Then, a couple weeks ago, a friend posted his “Playlist for the Apocalypse” and started blogging about the political commentary found in some of his favorite music. Shortly after, another friend posted his top ten most influential albums on Facebook. Next thing I knew I was strolling through my catalog and reminiscing about the past.

I started off just making my own top ten list, figuring I’d throw it on the socials. As often happens, the muse had other ideas, as I found myself wanting to write more than the few characters you typically get on the book of faces. So, here we go. Maybe this is the start of a new series, maybe I’ll quit after one go ’round. Who knows?

A couple things you need to know about Dwight and music. Well, really just one thing. I experience music almost exclusively on an emotional level. I like angry music when I’m pissed, and sad stuff when I need a good cry. I rarely connect with lyrics on an intellectual level, so don’t come here expecting anything resembling in depth lyrical analysis (I highly recommend this blog to scratch that itch). What you will find, however, is an exploration of where I was when these albums/songs struck me. So, if you’re so inclined, stick around, and lets listen to some music.

 

Blind Melon (Self Titled) 1992

Ninth Grade.

Fifteen Years Old. Prime age for the formation of musical tastes.

I think most of us have an album or two (or ten) that we consumed on repeat, lying on our back staring at the ceiling. This is where we find fifteen year old Dwight, on his bed, avoiding his family, getting lost in drug fueled, bluesy tunes of Shannon Hoon and company.

I actually have a hard time describing where this album takes me. The emotions are nebulous, wispy, but always calm. I couldn’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent with this album in solitude. Just don’t ask me about lyrics or meaning. For me, this album just is. I know guitar lick, every drum fill, every word to every song. None of it has meaning as anything other than part of the greater whole of the album.

I think this album was my first dabble with meditation. As an angst-y teen, always fighting with dad, pressured by school, and sports and the neverending pursuit of girls, Blind Melon always seemed to center me. Now, almost thirty years later, I find a lot of the same solace and recovery in daily mindfulness practices.

I still can’t put to words what, exactly, this album does so well. It’s just rock solid, from start to finish. Hell, No Rain, easily the most famous song, is my least favorite by a minute and a half. I can listen to this album on repeat for hours and get something new out of each listen.

I miss Shannon Hoon. Sometimes I wonder what he would have created had he survived a clearly troubled time in his all too short life. But that’s the thing about so many great artists, shooting stars across a crowded sky, gone before we ever realized how beautiful they were.

 

Random Post Script Thoughts:

Favorite Song: Tones of Home

Least Favorite Song: No Rain (still amazing, but everything else on the record is better)

Best Led Zeppelin Ripoff Jam: Time

 

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