Last year at a friend's birthday somebody asked me a relatively simple question, "If you could take 5 albums with you to a desert island, what would they be?"
Even though it's a hypothetical question, I devote way too much time thinking about it. I'll find my mind settling on it when I'm driving around or falling asleep - trying to craft the perfect collection.
I have my dad to thank for my deep love for music. It's in my veins. Born into me through nights of listening to Pure Prarrie League's "Two Lane Highway" or Jackson Browne's "The Pretender." And Van Morrison. Always Van Morrison. Songs play through my head and heart in an unending soundtrack of my life.
People say that the sense of taste is the strongest sense and that certain flavors can take you back to the moment you last tasted it - but not for me. Music is stronger. Songs evoke memories that are so real I can feel them in my bones. The opening notes of "Fat Bottomed Girls" takes me immediately back to my favorite bar in Athens with my best friend - full of happiness, freedom, stupidity and a broken heart.
1. Garth Brooks- Double Live
For me, this album represents all that it means to be Southern. The minute it starts playing, I'm transported down to the river with my cousins. Riding dirt roads, drinking beer around a bonfire and meeting up at the sand bar. This album is my home. It's screaming "Callin' Baton Rogue out of the back the a convertible with my friend Sarah. It's the highlights of my youth.
2. Van Morrison- Astral Weeks
So many layers of meanings for this album. It's impossible for me to separate my dad and Van Morrison. Van Morrison taught me to love music. His soul and his lyrics. Listening to this album represents what it means to love music. It's evocative, it's thoughtful, it's meaningful. This is what music is supposed to be. There are so many moments in my life narrated by lyrics from these songs.
3. Phish - Hampton Comes Alive
The release of Hampton Comes Alive, November of 1999, was the first time I remember anticipating an album release. I was a freshman in high school, and my friend, who had recently gotten his driver's license, drove me from music store to music store that fall afternoon looking for the album. I think it cost $60, which was so much money at the time. I vividly remember putting that first CD in my player in my room and listening to "rock n roll part 2" open the album. So much anticipation.
This album was my sidekick throughout high school. Disc 3, which opens with Bathtub Gin, was the first CD I played in my first car when I turned 16.
When my dad and I took a Photography trip to Jackson Hole when I was 18, I was determined to play it for him beginning to end. I think we made it to Divided Sky before my dad asked me to please switch back to Van Morrison. He needed to hear some "real lyrics."
4. Paul Simon - Graceland
One day in 6th grade I got home from school and asked my dad if he knew who sang "Diamonds on the Souls of her Shoes." Without saying a word (an approach I could not have taken), he went down to his CD collection and got Graceland. He quietly placed it on my boom box, and a lifelong love affair with the album began.
5. Hootie and the Blowfish - Cracked Rearview
My first CD and still one of my favorites. Let her cry? It takes a special person to love this album, which is why I love Adam and Parker. So much.
I only hope I can give Oliver the same gift my dad gave me. Lord knows Jimmy and I are trying. :)
P.S. If you will reply to me in the comments with YOUR 5 albums, I'll feature my favorite lists on the blog!