|Photo by Heather Sterling|
Music never really hit me when I was young. I think it's because I was born in the 90's, independent thought came to me post-Nirvana, nestled nicely between the N'Sync phenomenon and the group sing alongs of "WHO LET THE DOGS OUT?" I guess that's how music ebbs and flows, a pendulum swinging between real, raw emotion and glam, over-produced commercialism. We were all being sold a product (a very catchy product, mind you) and we were all humming along, but it never resonated with me. But still to this day I remember the moment I figured out what I wanted to do.
I was twelve and had a best friend who lived a house over. We had grown up together since age 3 and we were inseparable. In a lot of ways he was the leader of the duo and I always followed along, buying into whatever shows he watched or jamming whatever music he liked. Well, that year he went on a cruise and came back really excited about what he had discovered. Apparently this group of old fuddy-duddies had a cover band and entertained their guests playing classics, paying tribute to just one band's song catalog. My buddy had fallen in love and immediately started sharing this treasure with me as we swam through the enormous discography. One band, four members, thirteen albums, seven years of recording, and a song catalog of two hundred and seventy-five. Every song just made sense, every chord change blended so well, every lyric just made you say "They get exactly how I feel..." That band was The Beatles.
That was a game changer for me. For the first time I felt very passionate about something besides video games and Chicken McNuggets. We decided then and there that we would start a "band."
Mind you, we were a band with no musicians. So I went about changing that.
I had been in choir for a couple years following in my sister’s footsteps, but I hadn't taken it seriously until then. Within the next year I started picking up a guitar and clumsily picking away at it. It didn't come quickly to me, but I started learning Beatles song after Beatles song, honing in on the concept of swinging my wrist up and down, changing my hand position to a new chord shape, remembering the words, and singing on pitch. The band with my friend never came to life, but I wasn't getting off this train then! By 15 I decided I wanted to make up my own songs, stumbling through bad lyrics and simple chords. But I got better every bad song I wrote. I found more words to say. I found new ways to say them. I was doing the same thing that John, Paul, George, and Ringo did. Vocalizing words that made someone think "He knows exactly how I feel..." That became my truest passion beyond the music, giving the message on my heart and seeing it mean something to someone. To me it wasn't about someone feeling how I was feeling, I wanted people to walk away with something personal to them.
Aside from that, music gave me an emotional outlet. I realized life can be so eager to beat you to the ground so I permanently altered my body as a reminder of how to handle it. A single blackbird is now perched on my shoulder blade, the words 'Take these broken wings and learn to fly' flowing behind him. Paul McCartney wrote these words to remind us that no matter how ground to the bone we become we can always get up and we can always soar higher than before. A moment of zen encompasses me when I see it. It shows me how to handle life and how I became who I am today.
My story isn't very interesting, my story isn't very unique, but the journey has meant a hell of a lot to me. And when I get that soul shaking satisfaction of seeing people from a stage sing my words back at me, just knowing they’re listening and not just hearing, I feel pretty damn good about where I've ended up. But the adventure isn't over, and if you want to continue it with me then feel free to contact me or check out our band Handsome Ransom. I'd love to meet each and every one of you.
With love from me to you,
Thanks for sharing your musical journey with us Trey! You can keep up with Handsome Ransom or stream their latest EP right here.
"Independent record stores are like a casino where you put down your money and you always win. How amazing to discover gems you didn't know about, to meet someone more passionate than you are, and to feel at home in a place you may never have been to before. I'm convinced they will never lose their place; long may they rule." - kt Tunstall