The Simple Joys – Live Music With Ray LaMontagne, Bob Seger On Vinyl, Birthdays… And My Grammy Turning 102

Yesterday was my Grandmother’s 102nd birthday. Wow is right. While she is declining, she is still mostly there mentally, and keeps fighting forward, through some major setbacks.

She is inspiring. Mildred… Grammy… and now GG is my only grandparent left, and I cherish her. I lost both grandfathers when I was young and never really got to know them, which still makes me sad… and my other grandmother passed away in a state of dementia, which may have been easier for her, but was heartbreaking for the rest of us.

So this is for you, GG!

Bob Seger had a birthday yesterday, too. He turned 69.  I’ll go on a limb here and guess that my GG has never heard of Bob… and definitely not The Silver Bullet Band… but if it makes me happy, I know it makes her happy… and vice versa. As I drove home from the Ray LaMontagne show at the Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles last night, DJ Rita Wilde played side one of Night Moves on vinyl. Thank you, Rita!

And some very special shout outs to Julie… and to meeting new friends like SkyDanny and Nancy… and reconnecting with a fellow Wildcat and classmate, Amy.  It really is a small world.  Thanks for a truly wonderful evening!  (And thanks for half of that lobster roll, Danny!)

So the Ray show was very special.  The venue is literally and metaphorically spiritual, and while I wish he played music from Trouble (zero songs) and a lot more from Gossip In The Grain (Two songs and not my faves like “You Are The Best Thing,” and the stunner and what may be one of the most romantic songs ever written, “Let It Be Me”)… the new songs came to life, live.  The band is amazing… the vocal harmonies gorgeous… and you cannot keep your eyes off drummer, Barbara Gruska. She just plays with such joy and grace… and yes, watching her hair move and sway was hypnotizing. Her brother and partner in The Belle Brigade, Ethan Gruska, is also in the band, playing guitar and keys.

I am hoping I did not miss seeing Ray do the older stuff… perhaps on another tour… but regardless, he is a true and talented artist who always pushes himself and his music.

So 100.3 The Sound plays album sides on vinyl every day. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is… on many levels.  There are very few stations doing this… so there’s that.  But the sound, oh the sound of vinyl… the crackle… the snaps… the depth and the warmth.  It is like a warm, cuddly musical blanket.

Many of us will recall the days we locked ourselves in our rooms with a turntable and headphones… and listened, really listened to a record all the way through… and then again… and again. I’ll never forget my old headsets… they were huge! And my next favorite purchase was a super long coil cord, that allowed me to listen from my bed, which was at the exact opposite end of the room from my stereo. Drifting off into far-off lands with that headset and stereo on was magical… An escape, a journey and an adventure, all without leaving my bedroom.

Last night I cranked up the radio, opened the sun roof and drove home, falling in love all over again with side one of Bob Seger’s Night Moves.  So many memories flooded back…

The first was my Pledge Mom, Denise.  Yes, I was in a frat.  Sigma Nu, thank you very much.  She was from Detroit, (Yes, Julie is, too!) and so one of the gifts I got from her was a Bob Seger cassette… I thought for sure it was Night Moves, but it may have been Stranger In Town… so that MEMORY THING is happening… yikes. Regardless, both albums got a lot of play in my college dorm and then frat bedroom.

The other memory was that my Dad used to come into my bedroom to complain about the bass coming through the wall… “a preponderance of bass”… while my headsets were not plugged in, of course.  Well, I also got into classical music in college… and I remember him walking in one night, ready to have the bass conversation… geared up to ask me to turn the music down, when…

He opened the door.  Stopped.  And realized I was listening to classical music. He looked at me with a peculiar expression… Might have said “Hmmm”, and then just shut the door.

I had such utter joy driving home with the window and sun roof open. That is a rare occurance in LA… Joy while driving… AND being able to have the windows down without air pollution choking you and tearing up your eyes. But for that short and wonderful period of time… and the same during the show… life was good… simple… pure… and joyous.

If we could just hold on to that all of the time, we would all be so much happier. Realistic? No. Desireable? Hell yes!!! So do whatever you can to keep the air clean, the airwaves humming and the music playing.



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Filed under Live Music Reviews, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, Marc's Playlist - Music That Moves Me

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