When, in preparation for his New York Times article about Boomers and music, Jeff Leeds interviewed me, I started thinking about the way I listen to music today as opposed to back in the day. For the most part I still listen to a lot of what I listened to then–Tom Waits, Bonnie Raitt, Steely Dan, Springsteen, the Allman Brothers, a bit of blues, a lot of Billie Holiday and Ella, a lot of jazz. I haven’t bought a current CD by anybody, even old favorites, in the last few years. My last new discoveries were Delbert McClinton who’s been around for at least 30 years and Eva Cassidy, who’s dead.
For a while I was all about staying current. I liked Counting Crows for a minute and a half when they came out. I like Alannis Morrisette for a day or two. I was quoted in the article saying that if I want to know what’s cool, I ask my 22-year old. That’s true but it doesn’t mean I like much of what I hear. I like some Ween, some Sublime. I’ve been trying Matis Yahu lately and Gnarls Barkley. But I couldn’t tell you what any of them look like, who the personnel is, who’s the cool session guy sitting in, or even what their albums are called. These days listening is more like dim sum—a little this, a little that. It’s not the same as knowing which Bonnie Raitt albums Freebo played on or that Wayne Shorter played on Steely Dan’s Aja.
I’ll keep listening for new discoveries and nod towards what’s absolutely this minute, but I think my days of laying on the floor between the speakers are over. Billie Holiday will always make me cry when she sings Travelin’ Light, Tom Waits will always blow me away with Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis, and I’ll always rock out with the Allman Brothers. But I’m pretty sure I haven’t been cool for quite a while. And I figure at my age, it’s time to get over it.
Just for fun, let’s lay it out there. What were the last 10 songs you added to a playlist? Don’t go searching your play list for the coolest stuff, just the last 10 you added. Who knows, maybe we can turn each other on to new music or remind ourselves of old favorites. I’ll show you mine if you’ll show me yours:
1. Delbert McClinton & Danny Gatton–Sun Medley
2. Chris Smither–Frankie & Albert
3. Jet–Are You Gonna Be My Girl?
4. Keb Mo–Shave Yo Legs
5. Matis Yahu– Chop em Down
6. Dean Friedman–Ariel
7. Drive By Truckers (thank you, Jeff Leeds)–Goddam Lonely Love
8. Johnny Mathis–Chances Are
9. Dirtie Blonde–Walk All Over Me
10. Gnarls Barkley–Gone Daddy Gone