We are house sitting this summer, and one of our duties is to walk Abby, the twelve year old dog that comes with the house. She’s old, and the walks are short, and most often undertaken by my wife, but on the nights I take her out I’ve been putting my headphones on and spending twenty minutes or so with some music.
Last night, I pulled up a Bill Frisell live “album” that I had bootlegged back in the spring of 2001 when I went to Chicago with Ben Dewey to see him play. Bootlegging shows isn’t a big deal these days, as everyone has pretty decent recording device for video and audio with them everywhere they go, but back then, you had to be a little more committed, and I sat through the show with small condenser microphone and a mini-disc player\ recorder between my legs, hoping no one would rat me out.
I’d first heard Frisell’s music two years previous, when his album Good Dog, Happy Man came out in summer of 1999. I was a committed Chicago Blues hound back then, but I’d read a profile about Frisell by Adam Levy that was in Guitar Player Magazine (I had to go back and look it up) that came out around the release of the album. I’m not sure what made me buy it. It was out of left field for me at the time, but it changed my life and over the next several years I bought nearly everything he’d released under his own name. This Chicago show would be my first time seeing him.
His band that night opened with the original composition What do We do? off the album Blues Dream that this tour was supporting. The tune was a favorite of mine, and I was pulled into near religious state. I cried. It was first time music had done that to me.
Sixteen years later, walking a dog in an upscale suburban neighborhood North of Seattle I cried again. Not big tears, just a few streaks and red eyes. I was almost there again, if only in the emotions it evoked. I thought about who I was at that time, how I was so sure I was going to be a professional musician. I was so sure of how my life was going to play out. I stopped playing altogether four year after that show. So maybe I cried a little bit for that too.