Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Transformative Musical Experiences

On the drive into work today, I listened to some of the Eddie Vedder soundtrack to the upcoming movie adaptation of Jon Krakauer's "Into the Wild". The Eddie Vedder solo stuff is great, very meditative, expansive, & reflective. It's the perfect kind of music to have a transformative musical experience to on a drive. Before leaving for work, I hastily threw together an MP3 CD of a variety of albums to listen to. Along with the Eddie Vedder on the CD, I put on Frank Sinatra's "In the Wee Small Hours", Robert Plant & Allison Krauss's "Raising Sand", Tegan & Sara's "The Con" and some John Hiatt.

I'm really excited to listen to the Robert Plant & Allison Krauss album. I watched a press kit for the album on Amazon.com. (BTW Amazon, I would've gladly posted the video here if Amazon would allow it.) I'm not a huge fan of either artist really. I mean, I love Zeppelin as much as the next 30-something guy who spent their youth listening the them on Classic Rock Radio and trying to pick out "Stairway to Heaven". But I'm really keen on the uniqueness of the musical pairing between such polar opposite artistic backgrounds. In particular, I'm looking to hear a different Robert Plant than what I'm used to hearing in Zeppelin. And likewise, I'm interested in hearing Allison Krauss in a less wholesome, bluegrass vein.

My commute is 6 miles long and only takes 15-20 minutes depending on school zones and traffic. The shortness of the trip severely limits the possibility of having any transformative musical experiences.

Back in the day there were plenty of opportunities for transformative musical experiences. As a student, the drive down to Austin was long enough to listen to 2, 90-minute mix tapes. The drive up to Texoma-Land from Dallas was long enough for an album.

Given the short commute, my in-car choice for entertainment has changed somewhat. For the past 5 years, I've developed much more of an appetite for talk radio than I ever used to have. (Specifically, SPORTS Talk Radio.) Talk Radio can be transformative as well. But it's obviously not a musically transformative experience. Rather, it can be a thought provoking one. Dad used to tell me that I'd grow out of my zeal for music. I suppose that's manifest in my preference for SportsRadio these days. So this week I will make an attempt to listen to a bit more new music. Perhaps I'll have the occasional transformative musical experience.