Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Evolution of the Mixed Tape

When Grant and I were packing up our house in Bellefonte, PA we came across two tapes he had made me when we were friends/dating/engaged (those time periods run together for us..).  These were black- 90 minute- probably will be considered vintage by our children- cassette tapes. We smiled at each other across the room crowded with moving boxes and made an unspoken plan to meet on the couch after we put Pursy to bed with a glass of bourbon and those tapes. We prepared for a journey down the memory lane of our Colorado romance. The crazy romance that made sense to no one but us and was soundtracked by geniuses like Jerry Garcia and David Grisman, Robert Blake, Billy Bragg, Dar Williams, Tom Waits, Bob Dylan- most of whom he was introducing to me for the first time.

My older brother Daniel, the original musicophile in my life, tried so hard to introduce me to good music while we were growing up but either nothing had sunk in or other voices had been louder- either way I hit college with an arsenal of DMB, Alainis and Journey. (hhhmmmm??) I knew just enough about Tom Waits and Ryan Adams to sound savvy to my bearded boyfriend who was either too drunk on love to notice or too sure of his ability to turn me into a music lover to care. Thus with my courtship with Grant began my music education and I fell happily into the beautiful beautiful world of mixed tapes and CDs he began making for me.

Those lasted through our engagement until we truly got married... the day we truly committed to stay together.. to become ONE. The day we merged our CD collections. Grant was not as anxious about this big step as I was- he answered by saying that "not to worry-he would always know which were mine". Sooo funny.

We carried around 11 black CD cases and a catalog of 700+ albums from Denver to New Orleans to Washington DC- where we finally entered the modern age. We purchased Ipods and Grant continued to be the musical head of our home. Every week I would hand over my digital music device to be filled with the newest best thing, and I would ride the Metro to school listening to the National, Arcade Fire, Band of Horses.. I allowed him this control with the understanding he would never clear Dar Williams from my library. He only tried once.

In DC he also started a music blog with our friend TR and shuttled new music to me that way as well. The blog was called The Ignatius Record Review and has been recently hacked by some heartless bastard who hates music and everything sacred. I always loved reading a review of a new album and being mentioned by my husband as a muse or appreciator of good music. Must be how girlfriends feel when they are mentioned in the liner notes.

Enter Spotify and the return of the weekly playlist- or as I like to think of it- my own personal mixed tape. Every week a new one pops up in my inbox and as soon as I can get to it- sometimes after babes go to bed- I sit down and wait for my music education to continue. And I do what we all do with mixed tapes... try to find the secret  meanings Grant is sending to me hidden inside every song.


  1. i love everything about this entry. you said you brother tried to get you to listen to his music when you were younger. well, i always regret that i didn't really listen to all the music my dad tried to get me into when i was a kid... now i know he knew what he was talking about!! i swear he's the reason music is so important to me now and why i'm so insistent on sharing music with nate. :) love you!!

    1. grrr typos. *your brother.