Tag Archives: nashville

Hannah Hunt

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing a “Best Albums and Songs of 2014” list as a blog post, which I will invariably have to make because it would be a tragedy to you as the internet to not hear what a 24-year-old music snob considers the best few minutes of instruments and voices to be released this year, and also because this was actually a year in which two of my favorite musicians of all time put out highly-anticipated new albums that both gave me a lump in my throat upon listening. However, before talking about the good, I guess you have to talk about the other stuff, right?

I didn’t make a “Best Albums of 2013” blog post last year, but if I did, I’m sure Modern Vampires Of the City would be on it. MVOTC is an album that came out last year by a band called Vampire Weekend that has probably been the butt off too many “so-called” hipster jokes (but also one I personally never wrote about, so I guess not every hipster joke, right?). It was well-received in the indie music circles that obsess over 4-piece scruffy white dude bands and way-too-highly paid music critics who work for Rolling Stone and SPIN alike. It was a slightly different sound for Vampire Weekend and I know that there’s some technical term that escapes me for the way the audio engineer mixed the tracks, but suffice it to say that it sounded more “recorded” and “new age”. It still had bouncy melodies and tribal drums and nonsense lyrics that were fun to guess like Vampire Weekend’s older 2 albums and it ended up as a huge spring-to-summer playlist pick of 2013.

I guess it was a small bit personal, too.

I remember that you bought the album before I did, since you were always reliable at doing so. My memories are a little shaky, but I would almost go so far as to say that I think you preordered it on vinyl, as that was a habit that only solidified our chemistry, because we both valued tangible old-school technology and actually paying for music we loved. Living in Nashville at the time gave us this automatic veil of respect for the art of an album that we carried like a banner everywhere we went, and liner notes were our bibles. “Music City” is a nickname we hate but love in its simple perfection, because it fit our favorite thing to talk about. This unbridled passion for talented artists and very lifeblood of discussing new songs we heard on the local radio station that were about to blow up or how every band was trying to be the Lumineers in 2013 (which sucked) or how the Grammys were a joke yet somewhat important fueled our conversations at Tennessee coffeehouses and off-the-highway dive bars, which were, coincidentally, also full of other critics and songwriters drinking and discussing and karaoke-ing, too.

But, I digress.

Before I purchased Modern Vampires Of The City, a good friend of ours had told me that she’d nearly been moved to tears upon the first listen, which wasn’t an uncommon compliment in our musically-saavy community, but still stuck out in my mind. A few days later, you had listened to the whole album one night (with a glass of whiskey nearby and the candle I convinced you to buy at Target burning) and told me all about it over the phone in a tone of almost-reverence. It may not have been the most important album your well-tuned ears had heard, but you convinced me that I needed to listen to it because it was really something. 

And so, I did listen to it in your car the next day. We were driving around Interstate 440 with multiple people in the backseat- naturally, I was riding shotgun, as my neediness was in full swing- and Modern Vampires Of The City was playing as our background music, which isn’t terrible, but, as we both agreed, isn’t ideal for the first listen of an album when you’re trying to analyze it and see if it stands out. Oddly enough, you kept skipping Track 6 with little explanation, just mentioning that neither you nor I was  “ready” for it. About an hour or so later, we’d dropped off our caravan of riders and were alone the car. You looked at me with a seriousness that felt odd for a midday drive, and then you skipped to Track 6 with the dashboard controls.

“It’s time. You ready?”

(Sidenote: This was always something I admired about you: how you let things speak for themselves. I always feel the need to upsell my favorite things to people before letting them dive in, as if they require rationalization, but you were convinced great things held their own weight. I would have given a speech on why Track 6 would change your life, but you just pressed play with a confidence and the tiniest hint of a “you’ll-thank-me” smirk.)

It began. We listened to 3 minutes and 58 seconds of indie-music-somewhat-love-song bliss in full with the sun shining through the car windows, like we were scoring the soundtrack our own poorly-directed episode of Girls or a dollar-store imitation of Garden State. It was my first listen to this particular track but it sure-as-hell hit me. This was so different for this band we’d both loved- it sounded so personal. With the speakers up high and Ezra Koenig’s voice pleading with me about being afraid of growing older and trust and time and money, I felt very 23 and just a little emotional. Suddenly, at the 2:39 mark, the song just changed oh-so-slightly and that was it- I was hooked. I wanted this song in my back pocket at all times and I wanted to hear it again and I wanted to talk about it, but also not talk about it right away as to not ruin the magic or the moment.

You sighed pretty heavily as it faded out and simply said, “…and that’s Hannah Hurt” after the song finished playing, and we drove around some more without speaking for a few minutes, as if it was still all sinking in. I’m sure eventually we changed the conversation to Instagram or other records out that week or where we wanted to eat that night, but I remember that 3 minute and 58 second nothing-but-music moment as clear as day. Oddly enough, your original song title was actually incorrect. The song’s name is actually “Hannah Hunt” but your substitution of “Hurt” was an interesting quirk and a point that I’d try to write into every later story of us I told, but could never do successfully, as if it was supposed to be foreshadowing or mean something deeper.

It didn’t.

Regardless, “Hannah Hunt” (/Hurt) would stay with me heavily for several months, whether I wanted it to or not. It would be a song that I would turn to if I wanted to think about you when you were gone, a song that I’d play if I wanted to cheaply exploit my own emotions, and a song that I’d listen to on repeat on both good and bad days. Every time I heard it I went bittersweetly back to your car and that lazy afternoon and listening to something beautiful and sad that I loved all at the same time, with someone I loved at the same time who was a little sad and beautiful, too.

I heard it again last week and it wasn’t the same. I was driving home from work on a particularly windy Austin road and my shuffle-mode iPod decided to grace me with the same quiet beginning and light driving piano I know oh-so-well. I instantly remembered that day over a year ago in a different state and I remembered sitting shotgun in your car and I remembered seeing your face and your haircut I loved that you got after we’d met, but it wasn’t overpowering. It was simply a song that brought something back and though my heart still swelled in my chest at the 2:39 mark, I was okay after it ended. All the hard stuff about reliving the past and relationships ending and moving on and moving away wasn’t attached to it anymore. It was just track 6 on Modern Vampires Of The City, a track I liked, a track I could singalong to and talk about, and most of all, a track that told a story and let a memory exist again for 3 minutes and 58 seconds peacefully. You know, without hurting.

My eventual “Best Songs of 2014” List is full of singer-songwriters and high-rated indie releases that I’ll claim took the most out of me these 12 months and captured my attention and ears and heart, but I’m sure that tucked into the mixtape of songs that really stuck with me this year, “Hannah Hunt” will exist, as it has for over a year now.

And, maybe just as a personal gesture, I’ll go for a drive with it playing and think about sunshine on dashboards and breathe in every note, because I can, and because things are okay. Time changes your favorite things but also heals them.

Plus, when you really think about it, my car speakers are just as loud, there’s a lot of road ahead, and the album doesn’t stop after Track 6.

A Bittersweet Follow-Through

You can’t brace yourself for heartache.

You just can’t. You can’t will yourself to feel sad when something hasn’t happened yet. No matter how many Ryan Adams, Aretha Franklin, Damien Rice, and Feist records you spin, you can’t transport yourself to a lyrical place that doesn’t quite exist. You can get close, if you really try. You can almost pull the covers over your eyes and shut out all the light and pretend you’re overwhelmed, but it’s not worth it, because that little bit of light will peek in, and you’ll remember that there’s no reason to be upset yet. There’s no reason to worry and shut down in anticipation. There’s no reason to jump to conclusions, because, especially when you’re a type-A sentimental sap, the feelings will come.

One of the greatest people I’ve ever met is moving, and this should be nothing new to me. My dumbed-down advice to anyone in your twenties is: be prepared to move, in every way. You’ll leave college, you’ll move away from old trends and to new ones, you’ll watch friends pack up and go, you’ll say goodbye to your parents, goodbye to your family pets, and goodbye to towns you made your own. But you’ll also leave temporary jobs that didn’t fit, you’ll run from bad relationships as fast as you can because your baggage is light, you’ll float around with less responsibility, and you’ll find joy in moving as well, as you move closer towards becoming the person you want to be. It’s a lot to process, never feeling like you have roots, but there’s an exhilarating freedom at the same time.

Bittersweet- isn’t that always it? There’s a fear in watching your taillights drive away and not knowing when I’ll see them again, but there’s such a joy in knowing that you’re going after something you’ve worked almost 25 years for and that you truly care about. I want to be sad, but that’s too selfish for this, because you’re leaving on the best terms.

You told me almost a year ago that you were watching Arrested Development and I invited myself over. You told me 2 weeks later that you were planning to move away to Seattle to chase a dream, and I told you okay. You grew a mustache, I applied to a million jobs. You took all your past scars and turned them into well-crafted music, and my cynicism of relationships melted away. They say the truth will set you free but first it will piss you off, and Lord knows you learned me well enough to make me a better woman, even if sometimes it took bringing up the worst to get there. Now a few hundred cups of coffee (yours: always black, mine: dirty blonde), tambourine solos, late night walks, glasses of good whiskey, rambling phone calls, concerts (yours: sad/longing, mine: loud/obnoxious), celebrations, dances in the kitchen, cheese plates, midnight kisses, endless talks about the best recording gear and/or speakers, bad jokes, new friends, and nights of enduring my Beyoncé singalongs later – you’re following through, and I couldn’t be prouder.

So I won’t rush it. I won’t fall apart nor act overly tough- I’ll just let it be.

I couldn’t brace myself for you arriving, and I can’t brace myself for you leaving, but for now I can at least save the bitter and relish in the sweet.

Because unlike so many people who promise and never deliver, you actually did it, and what a thing it is.

On Rumours (I Want To Be Stevie Nicks When I Grow Up)

In case you’ve been living under a very conveniently shaped rock, you may have heard of a small band named Fleetwood Mac. And unless there’s a lot of room under that rock, you may know they released one of the greatest albums of all time – Rumours – in 1977. And under a very small pebble beneath that enormous rock, you may find the knowledge that the very same fantastic album was rereleased in an expanded edition this year with never-before-heard exclusive tracks and live demos.

But hey, a little less living under rocks and a little more, Rock on, Gold Dust Woman.

Rumours means a lot to me, and probably too much.

rumours2

(so close)

I owe this love to four great women – the first two, Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks, aka, the women behind the Mac. I’ve idolized their sound, their style, their melodies, their deep-understanding-of-relationship-emotions, and their lyrics and you don’t know how many times I wish I could go back in time and shake a tambourine alongside the both of them. The second two are my mom and my roommate Kathrine, both of whom understand my love for the album, and have played it for me multiple times.

If you’ve ever had any emotional reaction to a breakup or a rocky relationship, Rumours is for you. So basically, if you are a human being with a pulse, I am convinced that there is a song on Rumours that you need to hear, and will love. I don’t need to wax poetic about the fact that the album was recorded while the entire band was pretty much divorcing each other and caught up in relationship messes. After all, there are whole documentaries related to this fact, and they play on repeat at our house, but that’s neither here nor there. Who hasn’t taken the Stevie’s advice in Dreams? (I mean, players do only love you when they’re playing.) Who hasn’t wanted to yell out to a former flame to Go Their Own Way or that seriously, after this, they’re Never Going Back Again? If the bass line (that bass line!) and harmonies in The Chain don’t hit you hard, are you even breathing? Haven’t you wanted to tell someone, both simply and overwhelmingly powerfully, that “You Make Loving Fun? And, even if you’ve heard it in a million political campaigns, ‘Don’t Stop thinking about tomorrow’ is still true and powerful. And, mind you, this is all without even touching on the tears and the sweetness that Songbird is sure to bring.

But no, it’s not like I’m obsessed with this album or anything.

IMG_3697

I’ll sum it up easily. About a month or so ago, Kathrine and I went to go see The Long Players play Rumours in full. The Long Players are a Nashville local band full of expert musicans known for playing classic albums all the way through, with which me and Kathrine’s 40-year-old-white-man-taste in music, is extremely wonderful and helpful, considering most of our musical heroes are dead, no longer touring, or no longer together. Having never seen Fleetwood Mac live (yet), this performance had a lot riding on it, and it did not disappoint, to the point of even having old guitar players from Fleetwood Mac onstage (!!!). Even though it wasn’t 1977 and it wasn’t the real band, Kathrine and I sang every song with the fervor of superfans, surrounded by our favorite melodies. However, the best part came from when we looked around and noticed that the venue was PACKED, even so far as to find out it sold out that night, which, in Nashville, is unheard of. And in that packed crowd, we realized we weren’t alone in our love for this collection of songs and what they’d gotten us through, because everyone else there had the same feelings, even if they’d been listening to the vinyl since before we both were born.

There was a large group of women in the front row with us, and they kept turning to me and Kathrine and smiling, because I think they knew. I mean, they had to know, just like my Mom knew from a young age, that her singing “Landslide” in our home, along with my penchant for wearing ponchos, big blonde waves, and 70s fabric would make me love Stevie Nicks a great deal. But I am convinced that these women in the front row had to have known that Kathrine and I both strongly want to be Stevie Nicks when we grow up (or really, now) because they had wanted to be her as well. They had all wanted to drape scarves over a mic stand and wear flowy outfits and twirl around the stage and tell off past loves through the best lyrics, and they had lived that dream, growing up alongside her. Fastforward to now, and even though we were all a few years behind, together, ages 22-70, we were all Gold Dust Women, rocking on and swaying along with a tambourine to Mick Fleetwood’s solos and fills and sharing the harmonies (and emotional baggage) with Lindsey Buckingham.

And in that moment, more than anything, I remembered that good music makes you feel something, no matter how many times you’ve heard it. Good music makes you happy and sad and angry and honest, but it doesn’t try and tell you what to do. It simply sympathizes and fills you with the sense that you’re not alone.

Even though I’m not Stevie Nicks (yet), I still have Rumours to love.

And so Rumours continues to exist and evoke feeling, whether the full band tours again or makes new music. Rumours captures one small moment in time, 11 songs, and just over 39 minutes total of musical satisfaction – for me, at least. Rumours  is cheaper and more efficient than any therapist, worn-in and well-traveled and loved like a good pair of leather (and lace) boots that fit perfectly each time you put them on, and, in constant rotation on 3 separate vinyl copies in my house.

And even though I could spend a million more words on just talking about why “Silver Springs” is one of the best songs ever written should have been a part of the original album release (seriously), I’ll end this emotional album overflow with a quote that Kathrine has said time and again-

“Maybe one day I’ll love a man as much as I love Rumours…but probably not.”

On Change, Anxiety, and New Zipcodes

I’ve been fed up with this blog for a while. White girl problem as it may be, hear me out. Or don’t.  I mean, there’s plenty of internet to scour that is less lion-y than this little domain.

ANYWAY.
I’ve been tired of this blog being the same, feeling like I’m a never-ending ramble of the same topics. I get all sorts of blog-envy over other websites I gawk at daily–ones filled with pretty well-lit pictures and layouts, crafts and recipes, ‘outfit of the day’ posts and all those cute things that the blogging community tends to be drawn to. Meanwhile I’m over here slapping sarcasm around, making musical references, mentioning Ryan Gosling too much, and relying on inspiration that waxes and wanes based on my caffeine level for the day.

Will I ever be the next Martha Stewart mixed with Paula Deen mixed with Annie Lebowitz of the internet? Probably not, but that’s not to say that I don’t want to incorporate different things and styles and some sort of photography around these parts. And I hope you’ll be with me, internet, at least somewhat, as I try to document important things and continue to ramble like I’m known to do.

So, there’s that. Yes, I want to change things around my little website, but this thread of ‘new-ness’ goes a little deeper than that as well.

As much as I can be stubborn with change, I tend to welcome the kind I like. I am enchanted and constantly wanting new colors, new textures, new sounds and new faces in my life. Sure, I am comfortable with the things I love and cherish them dearly, but I have an itch to explore and to discover and to consume all sorts of brand new material.

I wasn’t always this way, though.

See this little girl?

Even though it takes a brave and confident individual to wear matching ruffled socks, she was actually a very scared kid and afraid of new things. She feared new school years, she feared things she didn’t know, and she even feared a lot of the rides at DisneyWorld. She was well-acquainted with crippling irrational feelings of being scared for no good reason. It took her a while to get adjusted to new things, but she found that if she could hold tightly onto the hand of Mom and Dad and Brother and Grandparents and various friends, it was not so bad. Tears were not uncommon, panic attacks and anxiety came in waves, but she was still surrounded by a group of people that wanted her to succeed and wanted her to find out all sorts of great things about this great earth, and so slowly embrace change, she did. And you see, once she did, each progressive time became easier.

That little girl was me (spoiler alert!).

Nowadays, the tenacity and cheerfulness and energy with which I tend to greet new days and new situations and new people has been well-earned and well-fought through years of anxiety for, and even though the uncertainty of change still creeps in from time to time, I’ve learned how to embrace it a lot easier.

And so, as my Mama puts it, the little girl she’d never thought would ever leave home now wants to pack it all up in a suitcase and go see the world.

So, in the season of embracing change I decided it was time to change to color of my hair…and my address.

I’m moving to Nashville.

Do I know what exactly I’m doing yet there? No. Do I know the city like the back of my hand? I’m getting there. Do I have a place to live? Surprisingly, yes! And it has indoor plumbing!

I love music, I love Nashville, and if there was ever a time to do something crazy like move to Music City and chase a crazy dream, now is that time. I’ve got little to no obligations, no pets, no husband and kids, nothing holding me here, and a family that’s been so encouraging about the whole thing. So much so, in fact, that my parents told me that if I don’t do it now, don’t take this chance while I’m young, I’ll always wonder, always regret it. I’m not saying my anxiety won’t come back like it tends to, but there’s excitement in this decision, too.

So here’s to change, here’s to wearing hair turbans, and trying not to feel dumb taking self portraits for your blog in your backyard. Here’s to trying to cram 8 pairs of boots into one suitcase and realizing you have a problem. Here’s to long highways, supportive parents, reuniting with old friends, lots of live music, being young, and making new progress and new mistakes in a new zipcode.

And if you ever find yourself in Nashville, internet, I’ll buy you some iced coffee and vinyl and we can try to figure out a life plan together. Lion’s honor.

Because I Am An Intern

I’ve interned for three of the greatest places in the world. I had experiences that were once in a lifetime, like hugging Dolly Parton, seeing Arcade Fire soundcheck in a room with only 15 other people, seeing the lives of students change dramatically for Jesus, standing on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, standing in an elevator with Chris Martin, painting houses for underprivileged families in South Texas, printing setlists for Wilco, listening to Miranda Lambert list off her favorite country songs, praying for so many students and seeing their hopes and dreams actually happen, getting the chance to see how two of the biggest radio outlets and television shows in the world operate while I worked behind-the-scenes, gossiping about Ryan Gosling as he stood 5 feet in front of me, and at all three, laughing until I cried and learning so so much more than I could ever hope for.

I formed relationships at all three places that I am still maintaining and so grateful for.

Though the job market is a little rough right now, I’ve worked for free at all three and don’t regret that in the slightest. The days and hours I spent contributing to SiriusXM Satellite Radio Nashville, Austin City Limits TV and Kingwood First Baptist Church Students were all life-changing and marvelous.

Because of these experiences, I still consider myself an intern at heart. My work ethic is still excited, I am still anxious to take on new things and I still desire direction. But, you see, I don’t think being on the lowest end of a company or organization as an intern is a bad thing. It’s extremely humbling and can be hard, but it is so worth it.

However, because of still considering myself an intern, there’s still a few things I haven’t lost as habits yet.

Because I am an intern, I will promote your company till my fingers hurt. I will blog about you, talk about you, tweet about you, share you with others and say your name so many times that people think I am crazy. I will mention you like you’re my boyfriend and bring you up in situations. I will become “that girl” who is too into her job. However, I won’t really mind.

Because I am an intern, I will get you coffee. I know this is joked about and that this is looked down upon, but I don’t think you realize that in a world with a horrible job market and in wanting to serve you, I will get you some. I will ask how you take it, I will do my best to remember your order, I will try and get it to you as soon as possible. I will get you coffee because I know that the little things count. I know that caffeine is an important thing. I know from personal experience that it can change your whole workday.

Because I am an intern, I will ask questions. I WILL ASK SO MANY QUESTIONS. I will ask if I am doing things correctly. I will ask about protocols and hierarchy and if I can use the company fridge. I will ask about everything if I am unsure, and if I work up the courage, I will ask more than 1 person. Please do your best to answer my questions. Please?

Because I am an intern, I will stay late. I will not look at this as a horrible thing or as a bother, but rather, a privilege. I came to your company to get experience, and if that means more hours, I will take them on. In fact, most times, you’ll have to remind me to leave…

Because I am an intern, I will work for free. I’m not saying that this will be my favorite part, but I will come in and try to knock out the most work I can without a paycheck. Some days will be easier to handle this than others, but I will look at experience as my ultimate gain.

Because I am an intern, I will struggle with names, because I want to get every single one right. I will struggle with directions, but I will succeed. I will struggle with adapting and with feeling like I fit in, but ultimately, whether I do or not, I will focus on the task at hand.

Because I am an intern, I will make jokes about being young. I don’t mean this to be mean, I just find it funny to be the only 21 year-old sometimes, whether I am working with people older than me, or a youth group younger than me.

Because I am an intern, I will dress up for work. I know that you may have casual fridays and a lax policy on dress code, but I don’t think you know how long I have spent putting together the perfect ensemble to walk into your doors wearing. I want to look professional, I want to stand out in a way that is rememberable and commendable. Also, I may have rationalized that extra cardigan I bought or those “big girl” shoes by saying it was for “work.”

Because I am an intern, I will not want to leave when my time is up. I know it seems cheesy, but it’s true. I will have bad days and I will fail and look back at some things I did or said and cringe, but I will have established my tiny little place in your offices and I will miss it.

Because I am an intern, I will hope you know that I am grateful. I am grateful for your recommendation, for your advice and for you even taking the chance on me in the first place.

Because I am an intern, I will also be a little spoiled by having such great internships, but eventually a job will come along that will measure up. Til then, of course, I’ll be continuing to be a chaperone on KFBC retreats, continuing to convince everyone to get Satellite Radio and tune into the Highway and continuing to DVR Austin City Limits every Saturday night and watch every clip that surfaces online.

I mean, some things just never change.

i’m so happy i’m not even using capitalization

Likes Lately : July 2011

10 things that make this lion insanely happy

10. the ridiculous talent of this amazing girl (seriously, she’s like michael jackson, nina simone and regina spektor combined)-

9. getting my apartment all settled for the fall!

8. the forwarded emails my grandmother always sends with pictures of baby animals (ie-

)

7. when my blinker blinks perfectly in time to the beat of the song i am listening to on the road in my car!!!!!

6. spending multiple afternoons in the sunshine

5. boys with banjos, mandolins, ukuleles, hurdy-gurdys, accordions, and any/all slightly obscure instruments

4. living off of homemade pizza

!!

3. watching lots of comic con panel videos and geeking out about doctor who, joss whedon directing the avengers, the new spiderman with andrew garfield & emma stone, peter jackson (as always) and various nerdy goodness

2. seeing britney spears live on the night of my 21st birthday and fulfilling a childhood dream

1. and speaking of- my best friend driving to nashville to celebrate my 21st birthday with me!!! eeek! such a good weekend, i feel so blessed to have someone that pretty much shares my brain and yes, i am stealing this picture from him!

Weird

Whenever I talk to my little team of family and friends back in Texas and beyond, they always ask how it feels here in Nashville. And to answer honestly, it feels pretty much the same, but at times it can just be a little weird.

Yes, it’s weird being here on my own.

You see, it’s weird only making coffee for one, instead of adding on cups for two lovely roommates. It’s weird not waking up to a giant poster of Jimi Hendrix greeting me every morning. It’s weird to not be at the river nearly every day, soaking up the sun. It’s weird strumming my guitar and ukulele alone without a bandmate by my side! It’s weird to not have Destiny’s Child group singalongs as frequently as before. It’s weird not staying up late night after night just talking face to face about everything under the sun with the same good people that I’ve depended on for years now. And it’s just plain weird to not be able to order jalapenos at any and every restaurant!

But mainly, it’s weird how fast I feel like I’ve adjusted. Sure, I miss my lone star state and all the people in it with a bunch of my heart, but I’m starting to get attached here, actually. This may come from me adjusting in my truck and not getting lost on the winding roads as much anymore, but I’m not complaining as to the cause.  Nashville, thanks for being a great little home so far. You still feel a little weird, but hey, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m a little weird myself.

PS, my fantastic friend Megan and I met the amazing, legendary Chet Atkins this past week and he even let us strum his old guitar-  so nice of him!