Since my relocation from NYC to Nashville, I have learned a great deal about music. The misconception is that Nashville is the mecca of country music, cornfields and cowboys…not that far off, mind you, but they don’t call it Music City for nothing! Nashville is actually a stew filled with Rock, Classic, Pop and R&B Country, Bluegrass, The Blues, Jazz, Alternative, Alternative, Indie Punk and singer/songwriters seasoned with a lot of blood, sweat, tears, whiskey…and beer. I never understood why people hated Nickelback so much until I started going to honky tonks and seeing guitarists use their fingers to make their strings sang…like a big fat woman singing lead in a gospel choir. While lyrics are important, the skill with which a musician plays their instrument is equally important and necessary to bring life to the story being told.
I say all this to say that while I love live music, I have been re-introduced to something that I never appreciated before Nashville…and that is vinyl records. The first time I heard Bob Seger and The Live Bullet Band’s (LIVE) record I had a religious experience. ‘Looking Back’ has now been engraved on my heart and in my very soul. There is something that alters in you when you hear that vinyl spin, the gentle snap, crackle and pop of the grooves as that needle releases the music into the air. Somehow, vinyl records captures the aura and power of a live performance and loses none of its staying power…a feat that CD’s and mp3 can never aspire to achieve.
A little history/definition of vinyl records:
A gramophone record, commonly known as a phonograph record (in American English), vinyl record (in reference to vinyl, the material most commonly used after about 1950), or colloquially, a record, is an analog sound storage medium consisting of a flat disc with an inscribed, modulated spiral groove. The groove usually starts near the periphery and ends near the center of the disc. Phonograph records are generally described by their diameter in inches (12-inch, 10-inch, 7-inch, etc.), the rotational speed at which they are played (“33⅓ r.p.m.”, “78”, “45”, etc.), their time capacity (“Long Playing”), their reproductive accuracy, or “fidelity”, or the number of channels of audio provided (“Mono”, “Stereo”, “Quadraphonic”, etc.)
Phonograph records were the primary medium used for music reproduction for most of the 20th century, replacing the phonograph cylinder, with which it had co-existed, by the 1920s. By the late 1980s, digital media had gained a larger market share, and the vinyl record left the mainstream in 1991. However, they continue to be manufactured and sold in the 21st century. The vinyl record regained popularity by 2008, with nearly 2.9 million units shipped that year, the most in any year since 1998 and the format has continued to slowly regain popularity. They are especially used by DJs and audiophiles for many types of music. As of 2012, vinyl records continue to be used for distribution of independent and alternative music artists. More mainstream pop music releases tend to be mostly sold in compact disc or other digital formats, but have still been released in vinyl in certain instances.*
Are they ever making a comeback! If you can’t see a band/artist live, then the only other way to truly experience them is to listen to them on a record.
This might sound like ancient history to the generation today that is out buying music…or what is passing as music these days. However, I implore you to give it a try. Hit up places like Ebay, Amazon and Urban Outfitters to find a record player. They actually have modernized players where you can convert the songs from the record to an mp3 file that you can download into your ipod and/or computer.
Thank you Nashville for my continuing education in music. I’m working on my doctorate y’all! Next stop, Country Music Hall Of Fame.
Until next time,
*Taken from Wikipedia. Check out the link for more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gramophone_record
PSA: I was born and raised in The Bronx, NY, American, a Yankee through and through. Some say The Bronx is where Hip Hop was born as well, making it a distant cousin of mine. Staple diet for most New Yorkers includes bagels for breakfast, a hero for lunch and a large pizza pie from the local pizzeria for dinner.
So how the heck did I end up in Nashville, TN honky tonking my life away?
Easy. I love country music. Now, to be clear, I love all different types of music, especially since I love to dance and have been a dancer since the age of ten. However, I am also a writer and it is the lyrics and emotion of country music that appeals and calls to me the most. The twangs of guitars and the commotion that a fiddle can cause incites me to want to get up and two step or sit down with a bottle of whiskey and have a good cry. Both are healing and invigorating.
Country music is also relatable, seeing as how I am from this country. People tend to forget that. I may not go out into the fields or drive around in a tractor, but I get up and go to work every day to put food on the table and to provide for my family. I have experienced the kind of heart break that has turned weaker men insane and I love to party with my friends on special occasions…like when it’s someone’s birthday or/and when it isn’t. And country music, whether its 3 chords or magical, whimsical chords like the ones created by Brad Paisley or Keith Urban, it all captures my life in song.
Lastly, it is said that country music has the best and most loyal fans, but I believe this is true because country music has the best and most humble artists. Now, don’t get me wrong, every genre of music has assholes. However, 9 out of every 10 country music artist I meet have been warm, inviting, and thankful for my support. It makes me want to support them more (Note to music artists, y’all might want to highlight this and put it in ya pocket for future reference).
And that’s why I am here. And I am not going anywhere. Yeehaw!