Keeping It Old School

I decided to favor you with an update of what I’m listening to these days. As usual, I’m keeping it old-school.

These days, when I say old-school, I really mean old-school, as in music going back as far as the 1920’s.

Here is a sampling of the artists I’ve listened to lately: Gene Autry (1929-1931), Frank Sinatra, Kris Kristopherson, Marty Robbins, Curtis Mayfield, Miles Davis, Prince, and Bill Withers.

I’m not opposed to new music. I really like a lot of what I’m hearing (though most of what I like that’s modern is probably not in the top 40).

I’m drawn to old music because I feel like it’s a kind of a time machine to a past that mystifies and fascinates me, a simpler (though not always better) time that for the most part no longer exists.

Plus, I feel like that the music from bygone days that has survived and thrived this long is considered classic for a reason. It has a timeless appeal and message that still speaks to these ears, even after many of the artists have passed away.

You can make the same argument for movies and books. Sometimes, it pays to go to an old-school that’s older than you.



A Moment of Nostalgia


Recently, I went to Memphis for the funeral of a friend’s father. On the way, I stopped off with my mom at the Wolfchase Galleria and walked around while she looked for a wedding gift for a friend of the family.

I was pleasantly surprised to find a FYE Music and Movies store. I thought those were all but extinct. Needless to say, it made my heart happy.

Best Buy and Barnes and Noble are all good and well, but I miss record stores, especially those in the mall. I can’t tell you how many Saturdays I spent looking through the cutout bins for a great deal. I got my first taste of bluegrass music in a record store.

I’m old school. I like for my books and music to be tangible. Nothing beats the musty smell of a book that’s been well used and well loved. Nothing beats the feel of a compact disc or a vinyl record in your hand.

Don’t get me wrong. I have my fair share of digital music that I listen to on my iPhone. But sometimes at night when I can’t sleep, I’ll hunt down the perfect CD for my mood, find my headphones and portable CD player, and drift off to music that was created by real people playing real instruments.

The Bible is replete with music. It’s a way of remembering your heritage. Just look at the Psalms and see how King David marked every kind of occasion, happy or sad, with a song.

Even now, a song on the radio can conjure up an old memory like nothing else can. It’s like a time machine to a defining moment in my past.

I hope that music store in Memphis can survive. Maybe one day soon I can go back when I have more time to kill.



All Those Christmas Lights

blue lights

I confess that I am not the biggest fan of all-white Christmas lights on a tree or on a house. To me, it’s like the person is saying, “Happy Generic Winter Holiday!” They are so bland.

I prefer the multi-color lights. But I’m old-school like that. I also really like the blue LED lights. A lot.

A few years ago, I went with the family on a tour of several homes decorated for Christmas. One of those homes on the tour was the late George Jones’ vast estate. That was one of the best and from what I’ve heard was always one of the most consistently festive houses around Christmastime.

Yet it all started with a single light. That one star shining in the night sky that drew those wise men all the way from the East to where the Christ child lay. That’s what started it all.

It was almost like a neon sign pointing the way and saying in essence, “Your hope lies here.”

Few saw it. Even fewer found what it pointed to. Just three wise men and some shepherds. So many who eagerly longed for Messiah missed it because it didn’t come in the way they expected.

I hope you and I don’t miss it this time. I hope you and I don’t get so caught up in the parties and tinsel and wrapping paper that we miss the child in the manger, born to be a sacrifice.

Truthfully, I like all Christmas lights. I prefer the colored ones because they catch my eye but I like all of them. I like how creative people get when decorating and  how they still manage to come up with new ideas after all these years. Plus, it’s so much easier to admire others’ ingenuity than to actually attempt to put up Christmas lights myself.


Sometimes You Just Need a Little Ella in Your Life



I am about to go on record and make a bold statement: I have old fashioned tastes in movies. I’m not a fan of movies with lots of unbelievable car chases and overblown dialogue and cars that turn into robots. I don’t like moves that are a BLAST (Big, Loud, And Stupid, Too).

I like movies with characters and situations I can relate to. I like well-written dialogue and well-thought out plot twists. I want to have to think a bit and not always be able to predict what’s coming next.

I like old movies. I think if I could only have one channel on my TV, it would be TCM. They show the best classic movies.

I also am becoming more and more of a fan of old music. I know I sound like an old fart when I say what I’m about to say, but I don’t care. I like music with a melody and singers who can sing. Like Ella Fitzgerald.

I love her voice and her impeccable phrasing. Truly, there was no one else like her. And there never will be.

Sometimes, I need to take a break from modern music and get my Ella fix. Her music makes me feel nostalgic for an era that was way before my time. It relaxes me and makes me feel better.

What was the point of all this? I forget. Maybe that it’s good to go old-school and retro every once in a while. Or maybe to like what you like and not card whether it’s hip or cool or if anybody else likes it.

Yeah, that must be it.

Music, Music, Music


If you haven’t already figured it out by now,  I love music. As in I have songs playing in my head non-stop all the time. Usually, I have random songs that I find myself inadvertently singing out loud or whistling without even realizing it. That can be embarrassing sometimes.

Whenever I find good music, I like to let people know. I always assume that people will feel the same way when they hear the music I love as I do. Usually not. Not everyone shares my taste in music. Actually, it’s a rare few that like all the same music I do.

But I still like to share what I like.

I absolutely love a group called the Court Yard Hounds. It’s basically the Dixie Chicks minus Natalie Maines. But I really like their sound.

I also love, love, love a group called The Thorns. This group consisted of Matthew Sweet, Shawn Mullins, and Pete Droge. Their one album is probably in my top 10 favorite albums ever. They have a very Crosby, Stills and Nash vibe.

I really like Jacob Dylan’s solo stuff. As much as I like The Wallflowers, I prefer the solo albums. They are very much reminiscent of his dad’s music. You may have heard of Jacob’s dad. He goes by the name Bob.

Anyway, there’s nothing like the perfect song at the perfect moment to evoke a good feeling and a good mood. It’s like watching a movie where the song really enhances the scene and brings out all the emotion in it.

I’m becoming more and more of a fan of old school music as I get older. By old school, I mean artists like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, and Billie Holiday. That music has a staying power than the newer stuff just doesn’t have. In my opinion.