What I appreciate most about my childhood exposure to music, is the diversity of that exposure. I spent many wonderful weekends with my grandparents and I remember always hearing music around them from my grandmother's singing of hymns and love of Elvis Presley to my granddaddy's love of old time Gospel, bluegrass, Nat King Cole, Mahalia Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James and Lawrence Welk. And, if that's not diverse enough for y'all, the list of my exposure from being around my parents may be.
My parents' music exposed me to the entertaining sounds of Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Tony Bennett, Dean Martin, Perry Como...Rat Pack, anyone?...--if he crooned, we swooned.There was Doris Day, Lena Horne and Peggy Lee to classical music to Herb Albert and any big band greats including Tommy Dorsey, Lionel Hampton, Louis Armstrong to the blues with BB King and Billie Holiday... And let's not leave out the likes of George Gershwin and Rodgers and Hammerstein. Oh, how the list goes on and on and on...and my deepest apologies to those artists not mentioned. No worries, ladies and gents, I remember you all. Quite fondly.
Funny thing- not a single one of us plays a musical instrument or carries a tune in a bucket. Oh, they tried to get me to take those blasted piano lessons. But, when you have an older cousin who everyone thinks is the best thing ever and can do no wrong and none of us will ever be as good as she at anything---well, why bother trying very hard at those piano lessons? The only thing, musically, I was ever good at was the clarinet and I gave that up for high school.
That's ok. We all had music in our hearts. And souls.
What spurred this realization? I saw Annie Lennox on the CBS Saturday news show and she's got a new album out, NOSTALGIA. I just downloaded it onto my iPod. It's quite nice. And that led me to feelings of admiration for her stepping outside of her genre into a completely different one after all these years. And that led me to the realization that my exposure to music was delightfully diverse. And greatly appreciated.
Is there any wonder that there is hardly any music out there that I don't enjoy? Except country. Of course. And, to be honest, there may be one or two of those songs I enjoy. As long as it's something by Patsy Cline.
Have a listen to Ms. Annie talking about this journey and you'll even get a bit of the sound of her efforts:
I think she's done a brilliant job here. What do y'all think?