When I first visit a new friend’s home I find myself drawn to two things — their bookcase and their music collection. From these two personal, living artefacts I can glean many things … I look for similarities with my own collections and also for differences. I look for recognition — is there something that I have heard about but never explored? What stands out and why? By digging into these two different collections it provides me with an entry to the narrative of my friends’ life — no matter where I dig in I am sure to learn something about some part of their life.
Of course, this can sometimes be a fraught and dangerous investigation. From time to time, this kind of personal archaeology can uncover the key date piece. This is the piece of music or the book that marks a trauma or a major personal change … and in bringing up a discussion about it can change the relationship you have with your new friend. For better or worse (I am sure you know what I mean).
For some time I have been updating another blog which carries a series of YouTube videos of the music that I love. Each song has been specifically chosen for a reason. In many ways, every song is a key date song … every piece marks a turning point for me in some way. Sometimes I write an explanation of this, and at other times I let the music speak for itself. Feel free to take a look, comment or suggest your own favourites for me to listen to!
At the moment I am listening to Bridal Train by The Waifs. When I first heard this band I was not impressed, but they have, over time grown on me. In fact, one of the turning points was the interview that they did on a TV show — Enough Rope with Andrew Denton. In the interview they talked and played, telling the story of their lives and music, interweaving discussion with short performances and heart-felt honesty. The story of Bridal Train, which won the 11th Annual USA Songwriting Competition (the first time it was awarded to a non-American group), and the short performance, was part that got me. (Unfortunately the video below only covers the segment where the girls talk about being live on stage with Bob Dylan.)
This song tells the story of their grandmother who married an American sailor during WWII and caught the train from Perth to Sydney and then sailed to her new life in America. Take a listen below.