On 9/4, I left Chicago for Jane’s around 6pm — only six hours behind schedule, a new record for me. I’m always running late, but this was ridiculous! Now I’d be driving mostly in darkness… which would completely change my CD setlist.
It’s always the setlist that makes the drive, that informs the journey. Before I leave, when choosing which CDs to bring, sometimes one will say, “no, I’d best stay here” and another says “why not choose me?” and I do as I’m bidden. Once in the car, it’s a matter of which gets played when. Sometimes I reach for a CD and it says “not yet.” The right CD always gets played at the right time; it’s the soundtrack to the adventure, it informs you, on some cellular level (cells in your body, NOT cell phone service!) what’s going to happen next.
In this case, I’d just received Steve Dawson‘s new CD, “Funeral Bonsai Wedding,” shortly before the trip; I’d pre-ordered it, knowing that I’d be missing its Chicago release on 9/12. When I tried to play it pre-trip, I couldn’t get past the first song: I love it (“Ezra Pound and the Big Wood River”), Steve played it solo in an in-the-round we’d done in May, it’s epic, and I’d been waiting for its release for months. It’s so amazing that as soon as it finished I’d just play it again… and again, and again. It’s like eating a particularly tasty food item in a meal, you just don’t want to rush to the next item, you want to savor each item separately. So I saved this CD for my trip. (Plus, I love anticipation and delayed gratification! 🙂 )
I played other lovely CDs first, and waited until I was whipping along I55, the sun completely gone, total darkness. In went “Funeral Bonsai Wedding.” Played the first song, and forced myself not to re-play, to move past. I’ll just say: the vibraphone is prevalent throughout. It’s insistent. It’s the voice of someone’s favorite aunt, a little jarring at first, that distinctive laugh, you wonder if she’s doing it on purpose; then you don’t notice it anymore, other than that without her voice the conversation would be so much duller, and now she’s part of your family, too. That was like the vibraphone for me. At first I noticed it constantly; then I didn’t, unless I thought about it.
There was one song that was so forceful and rhythmic, I had the distinct feeling that if I rolled the window down to let in the night, I might veer off into blackness and space and never fully return. I finally got the guts to do this, but I had to really concentrate on staying here on earth. This is a powerful album, folks, from beginning to end. I don’t fully understand everything, which I like. I’ll be giving it multiple listens and getting something different out of each one. And Jane and I will listen at some point, too.
By the time I arrived at Jane’s, at 11pm, I was fully energized.
Driving solo is a completely different energy than driving with a companion… but both Jane and I feel the same way about CDs making the trip. More on that in another post!