Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Early Musical Influences - Songs That Shaped My Life

Normally I post about early literary influences, but tonight I picked an artist on my iPod to play, only to have the songs bring back quite a few memories.

I grew up on a farm way out in the middle of nowhere, rather isolated, no kids around to visit or play with except my siblings and we were usually fighting. Mom played country music and Grandma played gospel.

Ever heard of Kitty Wells? Wendy Bagwell and the Sunlighters? Those were my favorites once upon a time. Then, at the age of twelve, something wonderful happened to me: I won a radio of my own, probably through the 4-H program but I don't rightly recall now. You gotta remember, I lived in a time when kids didn't have iPods, and even if they'd existed, they weren't necessities so I'd never have hoped to have one at that age.

Anyway, this magical radio introduced me to a whole other world, full of new songs to sing. I'm a lyrics girl. I write poetry, and appreciate words that have been well put together, so when I find a song I like, I pretty much wallow in it until I can sing it, have made up my own verses, and have scoured every source I could find for the story behind the song (which is a whole lot easier with the Internet).

Heading into the teen years, and being a teenager, isn't always fun. Songs filled the void when I needed to say something and couldn't find the words, or they helped me identity my emotional turmoil and move on.

That said, I owe Sir Elton John a tremendous "Thank you." His music has gotten me through some really tough times. My favorite song in high school was "Tiny Dancer" and whenever I'd had my heart ripped out (at least once a week) then I'd commiserate with "Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word." And "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" should be self explanatory.

Bear in mind that I didn't have albums, CDs, or even eight-tracks--I had to wait for the song to come on the radio or sing it to the top of my lungs while shoveling stuff I'd rather not talk about out in the hen house on the farm.

I grew up, moved on, made a life for myself outside the farm. I own hundreds of CDs, an iPod, and lots of other ways to play music. I can even pull YouTube up on my TV and watch videos to my heart's content.

But sometimes, when I least expect it, I'll hear a familiar voice and get swept back in time.

I'll leave you with a song from my past, that I love as much today as I did then.




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