They played a good many covers that night, like "Ruby Tuesday" and "Norwegian Wood." The one that brought tears to my eyes, unsurprisingly, was "Girl From the North Country," which was part of a set of "songs we wish we'd written." Maybe it's because I truly am a huge Bob Dylan fan, or maybe just because the harmonies were so amazing and the melody so beautiful to begin with, that I got a chill through my spine and tears in my eyes and wished it would never end.
These songs made me think long and hard about my taste in music. My top favorite artists include Bob Dylan, The Band, Bob Marley, Joan Baez, Van Morrisson... I also love The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Simon & Garfunkel, Arlo Guthrie, Joni Mitchell, Janis Joplin, Fairport Convention, The Doors... How many of these artists have died? How many are well past the age of retirement now? Though many still perform today, the music that I hold near and dear to my heart is from decades before I was born. Is it really "my music"? Then again, what does "my music" really mean?
Sure, there are more modern bands that I've loved since childhood like Nirvana, Sublime, and Pearl Jam, but even they were around when I was in elementary school. Hell, Kurt Cobain died when I was in fourth grade, and Bradley Nowell when I was in sixth grade... Yet I loved them. Then I grew up and moved onto bands like Phish and Yonder Mountain String Band, while continuing to discover even more Grateful Dead than I'd ever known existed. I was introduced to The Shins and Sufjan Stevens and The Postal Service by a good friend, which likely paved the way for me to discover some modern music all by myself. I now count Beirut and Arcade Fire and Dr. Dog and Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver among my favorites.
But the music that I still turn to when all else fails is those first few mentioned before, namely Dylan and Baez and The Band. Of course, I have only my parents to thank (or blame) for this, depending on how you look at it. In some ways, I feel like my adoration of the music of the 60s and 70s has hindered my discovery of new bands. When there is such a huge amount of amazing music that was created 20 years before I was born, there's a lot of time to make up. And since I didn't really even start really getting into music that wasn't on the radio until I was about 15, that's a full 35 years of incredible songwriting to cover! Only when the prospect of going to concerts came up did I realize I needed to know new music and I needed to know it now. Thank god for friends who told me, "Buy this ticket, go to this show" or I would never have seen bands like Moe or Assembly of Dust.
I guess that while the music I love the most is that of my parents' generation, it is still "my music." It's what I love, what I find solace in, what gets me pumped up and happy, or what calms me down and brings me back to earth. And while I do think I'm a bit lazy about finding modern musicians, that's ok. There are so many beautiful singers and songwriters that I will be fortunate to even discover a few of them. But I really ought to make an effort to see more of them in concert... Then again, I should also be fortunate that great bands like CSN are still alive and kickin' -- and playing truly amazing music. And I will most definitely go to see them perform while I still have the chance.