Our house when I was growing up wasn’t always filled with music. But the music that was played when it was has stuck with me. There weren’t a lot of artists and so maybe because of that I really got to know the music. When I was very young my mom was listening to country music, my dad did his best not to, my sister was into heavy metal and I just didn’t care. Although sometimes my dad would play classical music. I remember one Schumann cassette (pretty sure it was Schumann, the only part of the cover I can picture was a photo of a piano and a yellow spine) in particular that I used to stage action figure adventures to.
There was however at that time a milk crate in the basement full of records from the 60s and 70s. I used to often look through them just to take in the album art, not really knowing the contents within. I remember seeing The Doors, Fleetwood Mac (and Steve Nicks), The Beatles, Cream, The Moody Blues, Supertramp and Deep Purple among others.
Thankfully the 80s country phase started to die out when I was about 10 or 11 and there was some better music being played around the house. It’s this stuff that struck a chord. A particular breakthrough moment was when Loreena McKennit’s The Visit was played for the first time. This was incredible. It was like music form a movie. Of course being an 11 year old I didn’t want to fully admit how much I enjoyed this ‘odd’ music that my parents were playing. But I loved it, and still do to this day (listening to her Live in Toronto and Paris album for last few days in fact).
Loreena McKennit – Between the Shadows. It was tough choosing one song from The Visit. I could have gone with The Lady Of Shalott, but figured it was a bit long. I was so taken with a 19th century poem about a Aruthurian legend put to music. So much so that my dad made me a poster with the poem written out in calligraphy with illustrated decorations along the edges on paper that looked like parchment. Unfortunately it has since gone missing. At any rate, this is a top notch instrumental track.
More music came in dribs and drabs, mainly in the form of greatest hits CDs that got acquired. I had the responsibility of hooking up my Sanyo CD player to the home stereo so they could be played, so I stuck around and listened. And so enter Fleetwood Mac, The Moody Blues and ABBA. I would often steal them away during the week when they weren’t being played to listen to them myself. Such incredible pop tunes…
Fleetwood Mac – Rhiannon, so popular it is with the Vails that it was going to be my newphew’s name had he been my niece instead.
The Moody Blues – The Voice, I still enjoy air-instrumenting along to this.
ABBA – SOS, that chorus hooks me in.
Later on I would check out on my own what was on those records I saw in the basement. Some of it hit a chord with me more than others. To this day I still go through a Doors phase every now and then.