Sunday, September 4, 2016

My ear for music

In a couple weeks Underhill Rose will be in Lexington, where they will perform at High Rock Outfitters, one of their favorite venues.

This time, when they sing, they'll be recording tunes for a live CD album. Awesome.

I'm going to have to find a way to contain myself. I usually like to sit on the front row where I can let their music envelop me like some kind of a comfortable blanket. Who ever thought a banjo and a harmonica could be so evocative? Or that an upright bass could be so foundational? Or a guitar so sweet?

Or harmonies so heavenly?

So I'm going to have to shut up. Sometimes, sitting up front, I can catch their eye, or point to them after a nifty riff, or applaud, or shout out "You go girl!" as I once did as Eleanor weaved her way through a solo banjo bit.

The last thing anybody wants to hear is me croaking something on their CD.

With that in mind, I just hope I don't feel compelled to sing along. That's because somewhere along the way, I've been cursed. I love music. I love the way an instrument can reach into your soul and stimulate the fibers of your being. I love lyrics wrought with thought and meaning, or that can create a picture with the palette of colors within your mind.

The curse is that I can't sing. I can't sing a lick. I can't sing a note. At least, not in tune with anything musical.

Nor can I play an instrument.

I don't know how this curse came to be. My dad played both the piano and the trumpet. Mom had a wonderful alto voice. When I was young, around kindergarten, my parents tried piano lessons on me, but the discipline of learning music never took hold. I tried the trumpet a few years later and that was an even worse experience. I was, figuratively, shedding my musical scales.

Clearly, I didn't inherit the Play Music gene. I inherited the Play Games gene.

Then came the Sixties and suddenly transistor radios where bringing us great music everywhere. I tried to sing along, but as I learned, one note only goes so far. So I hummed. Try humming to Sgt. Pepper.

To this day, with Sirius in our car radio and tuned in to Sixties on Six, I am swept overboard by great music. Just yesterday, while Kim was in the post office, I was singing along with Chad & Jeremy's "A Summer Song." It's a tune that evokes a mystic chord within me, transporting me back to 1966 and high school and girl friends and all that is good in my nostalgia.

But when Kim returned to the car, she turned the volume up. You know, to drown me out.

I hate sitting on my hands when live performances put my entire being in rhythm. But the women of Underhill Rose are also my friends, and I don't want to offend them. So if sitting on my hands is what it takes, then sitting on my hands is what it is.

At least I can hum.

•  •  •

Underhill Rose will perform at High Rock Outfitters, located at 13 S. Main Street, Lexington, on Sept. 17, starting at 7 p.m. Admission is $10.

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