I remember so clearly riding in the car with my mom when I was about six years old. My mom had a tendency to wear out the latest George Strait CD whenever he released new music. This was no exception. In 1996 Blue Clear Sky was released. Personally, I think this and Carrying Your Love With Me are two of his best...but I also have a lot of childhood memories wrapped up in those two records.
Anyway, I remember listening and singing along to songs like Carried Away, I Ain't Never Seen No One Like You, and Do the Right Thing. I didn't always fully grasp what the song was about (hello, She Knows When You're On My Mind! YIKES!), but I remember listening to I Can Still Make Cheyenne and feeling profoundly sad. The imagery played in my mind like a movie and I felt so sad for the cowboy. That feeling has stuck with me. I love a good sad song. I Can Still Make Cheyenne is what ushered in my love and obsession for songs, their meaning, structure, and authors.
I think about all those hours I spent running errands with my mom, wearing out CDs. Now that I'm a mom myself, I can't help but wonder what my kids will remember. I think there's this tendency to play "safe" music when your kids are within earshot, but if my parents had played by that rule, I may never have had the experience I did with country music.
I'm very aware of what I listen to around my kids. I certainly don't want to introduce them to provocative or inappropriate themes, but I do want to shower them with great songwriting. Even at 5 and almost 2, they hear and pick up on what's going on around them. My 5 year old loves to make up songs, my almost 2 year old moves and grooves in approval of songs he likes, and we try to have family jam sessions as often as possible.
I think if there's one record my kids may darn well know by memory by now, it's Holidays and Wedding Rings by Jamie Lin Wilson. It's not a new record by any means (it just celebrated its 5th anniversary this last week!), but it is by far my favorite. Jamie Lin has a way of writing and singing about the nitty gritty of real life (and death). In a toxic mommy culture (ie "my kids are driving me crazy!! I need wine! I need to get away! AHHHH!!!"), she brings a love of motherhood. She ADORES her children and it is so obvious by the way she writes.
Yours and Mine is my favorite. It's my anthem. When I'm long gone and have been blown away by the wind, I want my children to hear that song and think, "yup...that was mom to a T." When they hear Old Oldsmobile, I want them to picture their dad and me riding around in the Mustang or Grand Wagoneer. Whisper on My Skin, Here Tonight...she writes and sings about family in a way that most people shun these days.
On the flip side, she definitely doesn't shy away from adult topics. Songs like She'll Take Tonight, Just Some Things (featuring Wade Bowen), and Roses By the Dozen are certainly not what one would consider family friendly. But just like those songs on George Strait's record, I don't want to shield my kids from beautiful writing just because the topic is not rated G. I hope my boys listen to Just Some Things and feel a sadness, knowing that cheating is hurtful to all involved and just not something you ever want to do because you can't take it back. I hope they hear the harmonies and it stirs something in them that ignites a passion for music and songwriting.
What music do you listen to with your kids? I'd love to hear! Anybody have kids with cooler taste in music than you??
I love birth. And I love country music. No rhyme or reason. I'm not here to apologize for the seemingly opposite passions. All I know is I'm inspired by both and I've got some big dreams.