Though the folk camp skews older, it is not irrelevant that I am older than most music bloggers. Age matters, in the intersecting world of music and homage which we inhabit. Our tastes are formed by the mass media clutter and the countercultural alternative scenes of our own individual youths; even as our collections diversify and improve in time, our touchstone foundations are always a product of the worlds of our teens and twenties. My formative years covered the emergence of MTV, and assume the three minute narrative as compass and companion; I think fondly of cassettes, and think in CD format better than any; though we cover Dylan and The Beatles here too, the songs that ring truest as tribute to me spring from the 80s and forward, and from my father’s record collection.
Generational grounding is a common thread here at Cover Lay Down – I have made no secret of the ways in which my own time-and-space history brings me to Mary Lou Lord, Nirvana, or Michael Jackson, to pick a diverse sample. But in truth, there are more personal reasons to muse on aging today: as of yesterday, my wife is 40, too; today we head North for an in-law’s retreat in the woods to celebrate, with friends and family, food and drink.
But although we exchange our trinkets, gratefully, gifts seem trivial: we are young at heart, and work hard in our own ways to model youth for our children, and to maintain a seemingly effortless and innate childlike wonder. Most days, that is blessing enough.
To be fair, it gets harder every year to be young. But there is compensation: as I have come to own the winding path that has led me here, I find myself pensive yet fearless in the face of further age. And being here, now, without fear and with curiosity intact helps me be a better parent, a better husband, a better teacher, a better me.
Some songs about growing older, and checking in on the changes, then – covering the gamut from pensive to protesting, from aging gracefully to railing against the dying of the night. May you cherish the moments in time you inhabit, and put them away carefully when they are through. May you, too, sing your histories and futures.
- Getting Older: A Coverfolk Mixtape [zip!]
Cover Lay Down is back from the summer folkfields with new features twice weekly! See you soon!