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Dear Kay,

(If you click this link, you’ll have a great soundtrack for this post.)

One great thing about this summer has been talking with Clif, our seventeen year old, about music.


He is into music at a sweeping yet molecular level, such a mix of genres, artists, and moods. Nick Drake. Miles Davis. Kanye. Radiohead. Kendrick Lamar. Can. Talking Heads. Bonnaroo last month gave him the chance to see a bunch of bands: LCD Soundsystem, Vulfpeck, Tame Impala. (These links are all to these bands’ Bonnaroo sets—it’s Bonnaroo without having to Bonnaroo!)


Yesterday in the car, as we drove home to Nashville from our summer hangout in Grundy County, Clif told me he hopes Radiohead comes to Nashville soon. And he hopes they don’t play the Bridgestone Arena. “They’d love the Ryman. That would be the most incredible concert ever.” I wondered immediately what the Hatch Show Print poster for the show might look like.

I told him I’d totally go see Radiohead at the Ryman, hinting that I’d like to go with him. Maybe it was the fog of Chick-fil-a clouding my perception, but I think he didn’t completely reject the idea.


All this reminded me of this week’s New Yorker article by Nick Paumgarten, “Searching for transcendence with Radiohead.” It begins, “I took my fourteen-year-old son to see Radiohead the other night.” Ha! What a turnabout. I want my seventeen-year-old son to take me to see Radiohead.


Anyway, it’s a great piece about how we carry the music of our youth with us, see it morph as time passes, yet never let go of it. It echoes back when our kids grow up, so great.



PS The kids in the photos here are the stars of Vulfpeck’s new video for their song “Back Pocket.” They Fred and Ginger their way through a totally earworm song. What a pair—totally made my day to watch them.

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  • When my oldest son was in high school, he told me that he had discovered this great “new” band called Aerosmith. Not long after that he also discovered Bruce Springsteen.

  • Those dancers made my day.

  • What amazing dancers, what a great video- thanks for posting it.

  • The first concert I took my girls to was Andy Gibb!! How many years ago was that? Then the next was Bon Jovi, then The Grateful Dead (without the girls) and Guns N’ Roses (without the girls). I grew up with Rock and Roll and still love it!!

  • Awesome post. Have learned a lot of new cool music from my 13 year old kid and my 23 year old housemate. Glad Clif’s friend is doing better.

  • Loved the video ! The neighborhood reminded me of where I grew up in central NJ– the credits say it was filmed in Scotch Plains, a town very close to Dunellen, my hometown!

  • Thanks so much for this! I was thinking that Willie Nelson should have had a spin-off hit called, “Mothers, DO let your children grow up to be musicians.” My son knew at a very early age (first grade, imitating Bruce Springsteen in his choice of clothes) that rock music was his first love. It’s been a long and winding road, and the money is awful, but he made it! And he’s deliriously happy. As a classically trained musician who also loves good rock, R&B — you name it — I’m so pleased for him. Parents, listen up: Even though we might prefer to see our children become doctors or lawyers, they need to follow their own dreams and utilize the unique talents they were born with. Life is short!

    • Speaking of music. Barbara’s comment made me think of this: Sweet Honey and the Rock…

      I hope the link works. The song is “Our Children.”

      • The words, of course, are from “The Prophet,” by Kahlil Gibran. When my daughter graduated from high school (in a class of eight kids), the school choir sang that song. OMG, there wasn’t a dry eye there. Beautiful thoughts.

      • Oh, thank you so much! Perfect, perfect.

  • One of my daughters greatest joys is that I still have my vinyl album collection. I now have street cred with her boyfriend and her as they pour over my treasures. I’ve been giving her lots of opportunities to see live music, someone you should check out is Andrew Bird

    I feel that you and Kay have introduced me to so many artists, I want to share Andrew with you. She’ll be seeing him again at Carnegie Hall in December if she makes the Honor Roll this first semester….

    • Wow thanks for the Andrew Bird! Most excellent!

  • My 16 year old runs around singing showtunes and Journey and her life goal is to see Billy Joel in concert before he dies! Her Christmas gift last year: vinyl records so expensive that I could have bought the record PLAYER in the eighties with the cost of one or two of them. It is crazy but fun!

    • It probably would be a better show before he dies 😉

  • My kids and I are always sharing new music with each other. Makes me feel like a young hipster when I’ve heard of the hot new band BEFORE they make it big 😉

    Just forwarded that YouTube link to my daughter – thanks for passing it on!

  • I rely on my 21-year-old son to find me great new music and I occasionally introduce him to some. (The Lone Bellow; Nathaniel Rateliff and a few others that I find on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series.) Music has always been able to transcend generations and my son’s love of poetry emanates from his early love of hip-hop.

  • What a coincidence! One of my nephews is Clif’s age. He helped me pack for a recent move, and was astounded by the quantity of such “antique” things as CDs, cassettes, LPs, and45s! It helped start a series of conversations about music & stuff…I like punk, he likes metal…”Skyfall” was not the only Bond theme…there IS a connection between Aerosmith and “Armageddon” (hi, Liv!)…and on, and on, and on. Now, if I can only convince him to return my Who albums….

  • It’s not a knitting blog…it’s a life blog with lots of knitting. I’m glad y’all are my friends….

  • My first real concert was the Carpenters. (“why do birds suddenly appear…..?”) The opening act was Steve Martin, doing his early skits like King Tut and wearing the bunny ears and mugging the audience with an instamatic camera. Good times, good times.

  • My son was a band kid and loved music so much that we and everyone else thought he would major in it in college. I remember when he discovered the Beatles at around 11 YO. We even did an Abbey Lane photo.

  • One more comment from me, now that I’ve read some others. The first concert that my son’s father and I went to was either the Rolling Stones Tumbling Dice Tour, or Leon Russell. Can’t remember which, but I’m showing my age! Anyway — knowing that, our son (referenced above in my comment at 8:08 a.m.), who is now in the music industry, and who frequently sends me pictures of himself and the performers he works with, was so pleased a few months back to send me a picture of himself and…….Leon Russell.

    Life is not only short, but it’s also full of wonderful coincidences. My friends, hold on to every moment.

    • Such a great story!!!!

  • Such a fun video! Thanks for sharing.

  • My first big concert was The Moody Blues. They are still my favourite group of all time, and I have all their music on cds now (still have the albums too, just no record player). It’s an interesting read. Thanks for sharing.

  • Love this video!

    I tried to get my mom into Radiohead about 10 years ago when driving cross country from Newfoundland back to Oklahoma. Her reaction “Man, he sounds like he has a bad stomach ache. Is he ok?” Lol. Sigh. Mom!!! We then had a lively discussion of Bob Dillon vs Thom Yorke and who had the more stomach achey voice. 🙂

  • We’ve been taking our boy to music festivals since he was a baby in arms, now he’s 8 and wants to go down the front. It was much easier when we could pack him into the buggy (stroller) and not worry. He’s slept through some great sets, including Alice Cooper, Hawkwind and The Pretenders (!) I think it’s all been subliminally soaked in though as, despite he sleeping, he’s decided to be a drummer (he’s pretty good) and scientist. He has definite ideas about what he’s going to do with his life – short term – go and mosh at the front with the big people, long term – rock star physicist like Brians May & Cox… 😉

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