Whatever year Sheryl Crow’s first of many mediocre albums came out, the family and I were vacationing in Florida. Now, most people head to the Sunshine state for vacation in the winter but not the VH’s. Why, oh why, did we have to go every other August, when it is the hottest, stickiest, and rainiest? Well, I’m sure if you were to ask my dad he’d say something like, “it was the best time to catch a couple of Marlins games. The race is just starting to get good in August.” Ok. But. The Marlins didn’t exist for a large part of my life and for most of the years of my vacationing life that they did they were coming out of the cellar.
Anyway, it was extremely hot and humid on these trips which meant that tempers would often flare up and boil over. I remember driving down a particularly scenic road while Sheryl Crow’s foot tapping club hit, “All I Wanna Do” lazily drifted out of the speakers of our rented Lumina. I couldn’t stand this song. It was repetitive, sung by a woman, and failed to feature Eddie Vedder or Kurt Cobain. (What was she thinking? Oh. Grammy.) Clouds had just started to roll in and the sky grew blacker and blacker as each word touched down. My hatred increased by the second as my 17 year old brother belted the chorus directly in my ear. He’d inch closer and closer, nearly gobbing in it. I’d push him away. Or maybe I possibly returned the favor by spitting on him. But just as most mature 15 year old siblings would have handled the situation, I pleaded with my parents to “tell him to stop or at least turn this shit off.”
He wouldn’t shut the hell up, so my dad just turned the dial. The immense amount of relief that came directly after that quarter turn can still be felt to this day. I would’ve been happy to hear anything else, but it just so happens that it was this very moment that I received my first dose of the long haired Canadian songsmith, Neil Young. I distinctly remember my dad bobbing his head and enjoying a song that contains the words, “Well I dreamed I saw the silver space ships flying In the yellow haze of the sun.” Now I didn’t know what the hell this man with a supremely high pitched voiced was saying, singing, or on but I knew that I liked it. I can still feel the chills every time I replay the beauty that that song enshrines. I listened intently to the lyrics as the clouds moved out and the sun reappeared. Palm trees and ocean filled my sight lines as “After the Gold Rush” soothed my previously spat on ears.
I had always been a big fan of music. Enjoyed all shapes and sizes. As cheesy as it sounds and as far back as I can recollect, it was at that exact moment that I discovered the immense power of moving you that music has. Now I can’t live with out it. Thanks Neil! Oh, also I didn’t hear or figure out what that song that was until a couple of years later. But when I heard it again, I knew. Of course I knew.