Thursday, July 23, 2009

Or Maybe Eggshell?

For some music lovers, there is no such thing as aural wallpaper. Such folks notice even banal background music in public locales.

For instance: grocery stores. Safeway lost me for a time because they insisted on piping yowling divas through the PA, with relief only to be found with the occasional feedback burst and 'Jake, cleanup on Aisle Six.' They came off the blacklist only when I was in one of their stores under duress and heard Paul Brady's 'Nobody Knows.'

Back when I allowed myself to lounge in Starbucks's overstuffed chairs (i.e. up until the time I learned of all the dust mites), I used to marvel not just at the quality of music they were playing but also at the complete indifference of other loungers. How could they not be rapt with attention?

Dentists' offices. I was getting my weekly checkup the other day and while the hygienist was whaling away with her medieval torture apparati, I was pondering the strains of a Sirius XM soft-rock station. Coincidental to an earlier post on these very virtual pages, I found myself wondering: 30 years ago, could Phil Collins have imagined that his music would one day be considered taupe?

Yes, for some music lovers, there is no on-off switch. It's sorta like living the life of Oda Mae Brown in 'Ghost.'


Confidential to Gin Soaked Barroom Queen, Memphis: Sure, you would pick 'Honky Tonk Women' as an exception to the 'no cowbell' rule. The verdict: Nope. Not budging, in spite of the song's obvious merits. The key to modern discourse is to stake out a position and yell the loudest. And don't get me started on 'facts.' They're lazy, they're late, they come with points of view, and they don't do what I want 'em to.


Was sorry to read of staff disappointment in the wake of the Fountains show. This got me thinking about the days when I was in the position to meet the occasional pop luminary. Who was the most fun and accommodating?

My vote goes to Rosie Thomas. She is a Seattle singer/songwriter/comedian (which, in a way, makes her a North American Juana Molina) who sometimes collaborates with her pal Damien Jurado.

Simply put, she is as adorable as her songs. I was at a convention dinner and wanted to talk about my exciting third-place finish in a fantasy baseball league. Rosie was seated directly opposite me and had the charm to get me right off the baseball talk. And the next day, during a label presentation, she made me the butt of much of her entirely goofy and good-natured comedy routine. I was hers in the moment.

Truth be told, I was predisposed to being putty in Rosie's hands because she once starred in one of those ever-rarer moments of record-store serendipity.

One day I was in my beloved and sadly-defunct Hear Music. I happened upon a listening post which included her then-recent release, 'When We Were Small.' I pressed the button and on came track one, '2 Dollar Shoes.'

Hook. Line. Sinker.

OK. Click on the following link and navigate to the middle of the center column where it says, 'Listen.' Select '2 Dollar Shoes.' But before you do this, try to forget about the day's snark and think instead about puppies and rainbows and falling in love.

Rosie Thomas - Sub Pop Records

No comments: