Photo by Jez Elliott
(Continued from Part 1)
I’ve previously blogged about the surplus of redheaded singer-songwriters in my music collection.
Specifically, the fact that, during three key periods of my life, one of my favourite recording artists—if not the favourite—was a woman with red hair.
There’s something special about red heads.
Three weeks ago, I was at the hairdresser, and the woman in the chair next to me had red hair. She was also reading a book about the history of red hair and red-headedness throughout the world, from which she shared a few interesting facts.
Sunset at a Highway 401 rest stop
Unlike a lot Canadians, particularly those living in Ontario, I love that highway. The thought of going for a drive upon it fills me with excitement.
Highway “four-oh-one”, as its most commonly referred to – or to use its official name, the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway – spans about 828 km across southern Ontario from the Quebec border in the east to Windsor in the west, and in parts is one of busiest highways in the world.
At its widest where it crosses the populous city of Toronto and its suburban hinterlands, the highway’s girth stretches to an imposing 16 lanes, which, according to Wikipedia, makes it one of the widest highways in the world.
Tori Amos in concert in Vancouver, July 2014.
How do you choose a favourite song from an artist who’s been recording for over 20 years?
I own every studio release that Tori Amos has produced. I can’t say I love all her albums equally, but as she is my “life soundtrack musician” – the artist whose music has played in the background of most of my life, scoring every major turning point and encoding my memories such – I’ve been able to find something to love about all of them.
Which doesn’t make picking a favourite song any easier.
(Neither does the fact that she’s also recorded at least 100 B-sides/non-album tracks, both original tunes and some amazing covers. And that her sound is constantly evolving, covering everything from pop piano ballads, rock, electronica, gospel, cutesy piano ditties, classical, and even musical theatre.)
Anyone who considers him-/herself a music lover probably has what I like to call a “life musician”.
I have two:
- The nu metal, rap-rock group Linkin Park
- Alt-rock singer-songwriter and pianist Tori Amos.
At first glance, there probably doesn’t seem to be much these two musical acts have in common, and I supposed they don’t save for what they both mean to me.
As my life musicians, my fondness for them runs far deeper than for an artist whose music I happen to fancy. Or the singer of that current earworm I can’t get out of my head.
Rather, my life musicians are the singers whose music has played in the background of most of my life, scoring every major phase to the point that my memories of those times have become encoded in tunes themselves.
One of the iconic ads for the first generation of Apple iPods.
I am of the opinion that music makes the world go ‘round.
Whether you like to belt out radio hits in the shower, hum to yourself while concentrating, assemble the coolest party playlists, or sing along at church, I believe that everyone is a music lover in one way or another.
And music truly does seem to motivate the world, right up there with coffee. Every day – particularly on public transit, when I take it – I see people sporting the ubiquitous white (or red or black or what have you) headphones, piping sweet songs and strains into their grey matter.
My own days are no less musical, although, in tending to disfavour headphones, my method of delivery tends to differ.