Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Year that was...2007

For me it’s been a predictably content year. Nothing overly evoking or defining, just an affirmation of where it is that I am in my life. The endless cycle of dealing with a job that I can’t put my heart into, yet controls my life continued, rendering me stuck. In early spring, as the winds slowly shifted and a fresh goal was spotted on the horizon it seemed the tide had finally turned and I was about to embark on a new venture, one far more inspiring. Just as the promise of something new, something creative, something that was anything seemed certain, I was hit with the news that my older brother has opted to rejoin active duty for the US Army and as of October he is stationed in Afghanistan. This revelation came as a knock for several reasons, many in the obvious, others I’ll hold to myself. At the tail end of the summer I also sent off a dear friend to Iraq, where he was headed for the next 15 months, neither of these was easy, but I knew they were coming.

The year also saw me back on the wedding circuit, traveling across the southern states, far and wide to see others make life commitments. Where two years ago the notion of getting married seemed so foreign and reasonably unattainable, I now see a glimmer of light that perhaps it is not that these friends of mine are moving ahead too fast in their young lives, but that maybe I am not moving fast enough. With talk of family members moving and several friends leaving Charlotte behind I struggled to see what was next for me. To find a center and a focus outside of the aspects of life that found me frustrated I delved deep into my passions. Being with friends, staying active, getting outdoors, eating good food while downing the drink and the only passive venture that I whole-heartedly endorse upon myself…endlessly devouring and discussing music.

I can recall afternoons spent as a child in a dusty storage room above a partially dilapidated carport. Jammed in amongst the sun faded tan cardboard boxes, leaning amongst the creaking support beams just listening in on albums for hours on end. Tight quarters allowed for a powdery echoing effect as the cassette tapes whined through the songs of artists of all genres and eras. At the far end of the floorboards spun an exhaust fan that pulled the blistering summer heat from the upper room, swirling gusts against the electric hum of the motor adding a simple ascetic to the experience. As it spun the fan drew streaks of dust and cobwebs along the angular roofing, in a sense aligning arrows aiming towards the fan, where they where whirled, spun out in new direction, outward and onward. It was a great escape for two kids of the eighties when rock decadence was at its crowning achievement and spending time in isolated defiance was of utmost importance.

The yellowed drywalls displayed more than lack of proper maintenance to those who had the privilege of setting their eyes upon them. In dark paints and inks were scrawling song lyrics, album covers, band names and rock icons. For it wasn’t just the aural aspect that drew me to rock, it was the art as a whole. The images, the visions, the act, the performance…everything down to the very symbolic way a bands name was printed on the album booklet, all of it was everything to me. From Zeppelin and the Byrds to Fugazi and the Dead mixed with the Beastie Boys and INXS, I knew music had a hold on me. I also knew I possess no means to express myself, lacking what many refer to as “any way, shape or form of talent that lends itself to creating music.” In other words, my favorite form of artistic expression was something that I simply couldn’t express at all.

Since the attic days I have tried endlessly to wrap myself around music and what it does to me, to no true avail. Live shows, album swapping, sitting around drinking beer discussing the southern sincerity of Tom Petty’s music and why Nirvana is not truly punk. Anyone that knows me well, for better or worse, has been exposed to healthy doses of music they have never heard and wonder how/why I got my hands on it. One thing that has resounded is the attempts to get me to start a forum to share my thoughts. I excelled in literature classes throughout school and I am an enthusiast of journalistic writing, but I never thought I had much of a voice. After several epic recounts of weddings, bachelor parties, wild weekends and the sort the efforts of my friends gave way to new forms of expression and a voice. Soon after I spawned Listen to My Eyes…the most amazing thing ever, really.

While the flaws are many, and readership scarce, this blog slays the demon that swells inside. A demon that yearns for creative release, a voicing of opinion and a justification for all the money I blow on music and beer. I’m proud of this little fella and someday it may just lead me to my true calling.

For now, it serves to give you schooling in what’s worthy.

That being said it is time!

You’ve waited ALL YEAR for this, I know I have…

LTME Essential Albums of 2007, a work in progress soon to come to close.

Let me hear what you’ve got. The good, the bad and the ‘wtf were they thinking?’…I want to evaluate it all. I can honestly say that I have now given a fair shake at everything you readers (the apparent 7 of you) have sent my way and I am ready to tell you the right and wrong of what you think…

Send them in, send them in and I’ll rank them up.

<---Don’t be afraid of that new technology I put up over to the left as well, its pretty uselful. ----- In other blog related issues, Jay the Intern wrote a great piece on his summer as an intern for American Songwriter and what you already know will be LTME album of the year, The National’s Boxer.

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