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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

In harmony. My strongest connection. Music | Gary B. Larson

And now for something complete different (from my typical mix of posts). It's still about communication, but a type of communication I have not touched on much (so far) in this blog,

Music is one of my life's major interests. For years, I studied classical piano at home and violin, then viola, through school--from fourth grade through my first year in college. I entered college planing to become a music teacher, but by then my interest in journalism, government and politics was so overwhelming that I switched majors to those subjects--and launched the career of my lifetime.

After I became a Beatlemaniac in 1964, while in junior high school, I started learning guitar and playing in rock bands. Ultimately, in high school, I blamed my classical training and music-reading ability for not becoming a versatile rock guitarist. But I continued playing anyway, moving to a 12-string guitar for playing Dylan, The Byrds, folk music and country-rock. I still play my Ovation occasionally, but I'm also trying, at times, to learn fiddle (bluegrass and Celtic tunes), mandolin and mountain dulcimer. Having reached a plateau in self-teaching, I keep telling myself to get hooked on some music teachers to motivate and guide me.

My wife is a classically trained and college-accredited pianist, though she taught mostly English as a (now-retired) public school teacher. Our common interest in music was one of our first attachments when we met while working in our first post-college jobs. And our sons, now both in their 30s, have "inherited" our interest in music. They consider themselves professional rock musicians, though they're not getting rich at playing in clubs with their groups, producing shows, touring occasionally and self-producing CDs. They and we keep hopin' and wishin'! They are talented!

Music is the probably the strongest common bond connecting my family members and me with one another.

And I love buying and listening to music (mostly rock, blues, alt-country, folk and pop) and going to concerts (mostly rock, alt-country and folk). My wife also likes jazz, and I appreciate it occasionally. We both like Broadway tunes and shows. And I still like listening to  classical music every once in a while.

And that brings me to the following list. It shows the performers I've been listening to the most in iTunes and on my iPod and Nano, according to Web software called LastFM. The artist links are to another website I appreciate, All-Music Guide. It contains a ton of information about the various genres of music, musicians in all genres and their recordings--complete with reviews.

The List, as of April 26, 2012:
  1. Blue Rodeo--alternative country
  2. Bob Dylan--contemporary folk, folk rock
  3. The Beatles--British invasion, psychedelic
  4. Dream Theater--progressive metal
  5. R.E.M.--adult alternative rock
  6. Emmylou Harris--alternative country
  7. The Rolling Stones--mainstream rock, blues rock
  8. Green Day--punk pop
  9. Tish Hinojosa--roots rock, country
  10. Lucinda Williams--roots rock
  11. Steve Earle--alternative country
  12. The Jayhawks--alt country
  13. Neko Case--alt country
  14. Old 97's--alt country
  15. Wilco--alt country
  16. Drive-By Truckers--roots rock
  17. Rosanne Cash--alternative country
  18. U2--adult alternative rock
  19. Joan Baez--traditional folk
  20. Neil Young--contemporary folk
  21. Van Morrison--classic folk-rock
  22. Brandi Carlile--alternative country
  23. Lyle Lovett--alternative country
  24. Pearl Jam--grunge
  25. Bruce Springsteen--American traditional rock

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