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I am back on the mainland and blogging from Seattle with South Austin in the rearview mirror. Don't worry Virgin Island fans, I will most certainly be back in the Caribbean for visits if not full-time. And I'm sure St. Thomas will creep it's way into many future posts. For now, it's all about living in the Pacific Northwest!

June 19, 2011

What I Am or What?

It's summertime in Texas and that means hothothot weather (104 yesterday) and great music in the great outdoors. My next door neighbor used to do this thing. This thing that she called "Why I love Austin Today". She used to text me with pictures of things she would notice or see around town. Leslie, the G-String biker, a man running on town lake dressed as a pig, and anything else that happened to cross her path that gave her an internal whisp of glee.

Blues on the Green is back and opened its season with Bob Schneider. I walked down to Zilker to join the throngs of Austinites that I knew would crowd this free BS show. As the park fills up, the chatter gets louder and the smells of grass and patchouli waft lazily through the dusk. My friends and I snack and sip on stuff brought along or bought, we accept some Sangria from another blanket close by. Finally, the music starts, the sun sets, and pretty soon I forget that there are five thousand people behind me as we dance bare-footed to the music.

This is why I love Austin today.

I remember the crowd when suddenly, the throng is singing together "There she goes... there in the moonlight... under the stars..." and I know that it is ending.  This thing that I love about Austin today is perfect and complete.

Several weeks back, I heard on KGSR that Edie Brickell would be playing a show at the Continental Club.  Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars came out in 1988, the year before I graduated high school. Like all teens, it was a time in my life when I was full of angst and everything... every feeling, was monumental. Words like epic were not only used but believed to be applicable. I remember driving around listening to that cassette over and over (we "drove around" A LOT).  The contemplative Circle that intimately spoke about people that I knew, and the way that Love Like We Do, and What I Am caused us to enthusiastically shout more than scream along.  I can almost see and smell the tan leather seats of my friend's yellow mustang around me and hear Dom's distinctive voice coming at me from the backseat.  So I set my mind to go to this Wednesday night show and am determined to get there early as its a small venue which is the best kind. About sixty or seventy people pay the $10 cover and shuffle through the doors towards the bar and stage. The crowd is still murmuring steadily and my friends and I are speculating whether or not someone will open for her, when she steps out on stage and says "Hey y'all"! The rest of the band follows including Charlie Sexton (bonus!)

and they begin to play. At first, though she's playing new songs, I'm instantly back in that Mustang with those high school friends. Her voice is comforting and familiar and I'm happy. I was right in front of the stage and had spied the set list that lay casually at her side.

So I expected it when towards the end of the set, she begins What I Am but am surprised by this more soulful version. The song is somehow more current and relevant. It's a strong enough moment to replace my beloved memory with this new one. And that's quite something.

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