The Listening Project

It’s taken me more than three years to get my music room here at Zenadu arranged to match the vision I had for it when I bought my house. But I’m finally there. After years of browsing, I found and bought the perfect console to hold my stereo equipment and albums. I had help from three very special men getting the receiver, turntable, CD player, and speakers hooked up (thank you so much, Rob Morehouse, Eduardo Lobatos, and Chris Trombley; deep bows of gratitude!). The acoustics in this room are wonderful, and the space opens up audibly to other parts of the house, which means that whether I’m in the kitchen, dining room, library, study, three-seasons room, bedroom, or out on the deck, the music being played can be heard.

For a few decades, my car was my listening booth. Minivans, pop-top conversion vans, SUVs, Suburbans—one after another, these vehicles were The Rolling Tones. I clocked an average of 55,000 miles per year, which translates to 6 hours behind the wheel every day. In the age before before bluetooth and music streaming, my CDs saved me. They kept me alert and engaged, and shielded me from the mind-numbing pain of rush hour, bumper-to-bumper traffic. The miles never bothered me because I had embarked on self-directed musicology.

I read everything I could about music and musicians. My favorite genre of nonfiction became the biographies, autobiographies, and inside accounts of the studios, producers, session musicians, instruments, and microphones used during the recording of important albums. Michael Gray’s seminal Song and Dance Man III: The Art of Bob Dylan changed my life. I remember the evening that I finished reading this 900-page book, I turned right back to the front pages and started reading it all over again. To this day, it remains my second-favorite book. No surprise then that the path I followed in my studies began at the trailhead that is Bob Dylan.

But it’s been a long time since I traveled with a CD wallet filled with my crack of choice, music. Songs and artists represent so much of what is essential about my life. For my kids and me, music became our lexicon. We traded new finds. We splurged on live concert tickets rather go on vacation. And the sharing of songs that expressed our emotions made whatever we were going through more bearable, or poignant, or fun.

So many memories.

Today, I was inspired with the idea of getting reacquainted with the music that fed my soul during the years when being a Mom was my full-time profession.

Being a fan of fairness and democracy, I decided to work my way through my massive CD collection alphabetically. Of course, I’ll keep a record (you knew that pun was coming sooner or later) as I go. I’d love if you chime in too. Share your stories, your knowledge, your opinions, and your memories about the music you love, and join in this walk down a musical memory lane.

First up is Adams, Ryan. And oh, what a lot there is to say about this guy.