“You won’t pass me, motherfucking Kia” his nasaly drone wore on…
An old western cattle drive played through the recording again. This time it got clearer. They had adjusted the music to hear themselves think. To hear each other at least, as they sang along with the ballad. A ghastly take of an old standard with a seasoned veteran’s guttural drawl croak over the twanging strings of the sorrowful corrido. A quick skip of the tune leads to another funk track that is quickly paused.
Man #1: “Wait who was that just singing?”
Man #2: “Jack DeForest with Burning Bears”
“I want to hear that.”
“Yea that sounds fun”
“It was, they wrung us out for breakfast.”
“As the audience?”
Two minutes and thirty six seconds in, I’ve stumbled upon a couple of hippies in their dad’s sportscar? Not a red flag just yet, but too many parallels to be ignored.
The volume of their speakers increases.
A crowd starts to roar.
A plunky little guitar notes bungle through the high quality sound system.
Man #1: “Ugh, it’s so good, high quality sound, no crispies, no warbles… just… tone. Wonderful.”
Man #2: “Integrated audio. It’s a 5.1 surround sound setup with a total output of 1200 watts, built with 15-channel sound and 19 speakers plus a 20mm subwoofer in the front door and a subwoofer in the rear quarter deck. The guy told me that it offered the audio connoiseur a unique listening experience.”
The hushed warmth of the lead singer’s register danced along with his lead playing perfectly.
A playful cover with little sonic treats trickled throughout the song. Jazzy changes abound that sound like they’re being played through a kettle drum. Bluesy driving tones erupt from the lead player again.
“He really is a great addition.”
“I was very fucking impre-.”
I hit pause.
I stretched, and adjusted my shirt.
It was time to throw my own record on.
I got up, went over to my system, dropped the audio under ten, usually to about eight, placed the record, started the motor, brushed the grooves and dropped the needle. The warm fuzz filled my office with a low hum. The bass was walking us along. A piano saunters in a little high from being on tour too long. Then the slow, cracked, dull, sustaining blast from the horn wakes us up. It reminds us how serious things are right now. How much work has gone in to filter what was going to be a lovely silence broken by even more beautiful decoration, only this time it swirled like a beautiful cursive bowing; weaving through the entirety of time and space.
I lit my cigarette.
I drew the toasted crisp smoke deep into me and blew out as soon as I could. This left, in front of me, a billowing cloud of the yellowed white smoke that just coated my lungs. Here we have an atmosphere modified by the music swirling around it. I threw some laundry in the washer, cooked up a cold, leftover potato pancake, with some brisket and turkey, fried an egg and threw it all together. I swallowed the bowl of congealed protein and went back to my still-burning cigarette.
I took a deap breath and a few more drags of my charred butt before putting it down, crushing out it’s playful little ember and sitting down for more of whatever came next.
I lifted the needle, killed the motor and went back to my desk.
I pressed play.
“…ssed.” Man #2 finished. The music picked up where his voice stuttered to end.
A guitar solo trickled out into my parlor, spilling into the empty wooden space.
I needed to clean again.
I’ve been gone for so long.
“This is really what he needed to branch away from his old bullshit.”
They then go back and forth naming their dream team of musicians.
They celebrate seeing their favorite artists.
Old and new, traditional and obscure.
I pause the recording again.
We’re only at the five minute mark, and I’m only getting older.
My eyes close.