April 20, 2012

RSD Countdown: It's Like I Wrote Every Note With My Own Fingers.

Photo by Christine Cote
We're so close I can practically FEEL the shuffle of vinyl sleeves under my fingers! Today's post comes from yet another classy ladyfriend of mine, with the smile of a babe and a heart of gold. Say hi to Jenn Cote everyone! 

Like many times before today, I sat down to write and went for the play button before even opening up the blank page with its blinking curser. Music first, writing second. (Although writing is a close second I have to confess, I love it almost as much. And I seriously cannot imagine one without the other.) This time the playlist was not created yet though. So I dug deep, thought, added, deleted, and added some more. As I created, I started to remember different stages in my life and the part music played.

I cannot remember a time in my life where music did not exist to me in some way. My parents will say if asked, that I was moving and rocking back and forth to music before I could walk.  As a kid, I was a product of my parents’ taste in music. When I think of my childhood, I remember Keith Green and my parents’ old record player (my sister smashed her head on the huge speaker at one point… we called her waffle head for weeks it felt like). I especially remember them crying over a few of Keith’s songs and sharing with me, even at the age, how God took that man home to heaven and what a huge impact he had on their lives. This music coupled with Cat Stevens and the Judds stand out on the playlist of my early years.

As I got older, I remember listening to Ace of Base and early Mariah Carey with a few of my friends. I had no idea what the lyrics meant but those songs always take me straight back to age 7, 8 and 9 years old and jumping on my friend’s bed while singing at the top of our lungs, “I saw the sign! It opened up my eyes and I saw the sign!” (At that point I think I was singing I saw the sun…not the sign though. You know…details.) 

This is what I grew on, a weird mixture of 70s, 80s, and early 90s music and the Christian music my parents listened to. There was a radio or record player in every main room of our tiny apartment and the year my mom got a 6 CD boom box, I had died and gone to heaven! 6 CDS on shuffle?? Get out of town! I was one pleased 9 year old!

I got a CD player to share with my sister when I was probably around 10 or 11. I remember that for awhile the only CDs we had were a Bryan White CD and Rebecca St. James’ God. The Rebecca St. James CD was like water to me. I loved that CD and knew every lyric. I thought her message was amazing and that she was such a cool rocker chick. I also went through the whole boy band phase at this point like many teen girls during the late 90s. I couldn’t get enough of NSYNC and my walls were proof that I was financially keeping TeenBop in business. I don’t remember much after that, except to say that I loved any Christian pop punk or rock you could throw at me. I ate it up and I’m pretty sure I thought I was pretty cool because of it. (Don’t tell my 15 year old self that I wasn’t…)
Photo by Christine Cote
The next stage in my life was moving 3,000 miles away from the only place I had ever called home and getting plopped down in the middle of Texas. For a girl raised on Boston clam chowder and icy cold winters, this was a shock to say the least but I loved the adventure of it. I remember so clearly the first time I walked into our local Target after moving. I made a bee line to the music section and bought my copy of The Everglow by Mae. I don’t remember how or why that CD was the one I chose or if I had gone there with the specific purpose of purchasing it, but I can say to this day- that album is one of my favorites. It reminds me of being a wide eyed 18 year-old with nothing but possibilities in front of her. This was also around the same time I experienced my first small venue concert and when I found the wonderful world of music encapsulated within the streets of Austin, TX. The Parish Room, Austin, TX, February, 2006- I saw Carey Brothers, Mat Kearney and the Fray. My world would never be the same. I drove to Austin around 6 times that year, going to as many concerts as possible and finding places in San Antonio to see random bands as well. For the next two or so years, every concert that even had a band I vaguely knew, I’d be there. No matter where it was. If I could afford it- I was in line waiting for the doors to open.  This part of my life has flowed into more adult activities – life gets in the way of dropping everything at a minutes’ notice apparently. My music tastes have changed, but my love for the music has not. I love the times when a friend picks up a guitar and plays, or at bonfires in backyards with just voices, in the quiet of my room when I’m studying or when I’m taking the four hour drive home. Music is a part of me always; a way to cope, love, understand, say what I need to and be the memories I can’t store. Sometimes I forget about being 19 and carefree with the car windows down and nothing but city lights ahead, but I hear a Cake song or Motorcycle Drive By and it all comes flooding back, just like it happened yesterday.

When I think about music, I think about memories. I think about life and living and where I came from and where I’m going. I’m pretty sure it’ll be like this forever, creating new memories with every note and every lyric. This stuff might not mean anything to anyone but me however, when asked about music, this is where my thoughts settled; this is my heart. I read somewhere once that music is what feelings sound like, and I couldn’t agree more.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jenn! 

"There’s nothing as glamorous to me as a record store. When I recently played Amoeba in LA, I realized what fantastic memories such a collection of music brings back when you see it all in one place." -Paul McCartney 

A quick PS to all of my Invisible Children brothers and sisters Covering the Night tonight: I love you all, be safe, and thank you for supporting such a worthy cause. Our efforts are not in vain! (:

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You're so sweet (: Thanks friend!


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