Entwined

I'm not a music guy; I don't consume a lot of popular music, nor do I profess to be a connoisseur of the art. Mostly, I stick to artists and songs I know. The result of this is that my music collection consists primarily of country from before about 1990 (approximately the time middle school peer pressure drew me onto the sounds of the era), popular alternative rock from the early 1990s through the early 2000s (about the time the chief driver of my music acquisition departed), plus various and sundry pockets of music by groups that I've stumbled upon by chance and taken a shine to (influenced primarily by occasional splurges at Cheapo Discs; Man or Astro-man, I'm looking at you).

Nonetheless, even with such a heretofore circumscribed musical universe, although supplemented with Christina's collection replete with 1990s hip-hop and neo-soul, one of the driving factors in dragging our entertainment system into this century with the addition of a HDTV and an HTPC was to increase the accessibility of our tunes. However, what do we listen to each Saturday night between 7 and 11pm? Not the Johnny Cash & Jay-Z Party Mix, that's for sure.

It's an organic outgrowth of a habit begun in the fall of 1993 when Mrs Alves, my speech & debate coach, informed us n00bs that we would be listening to the news on NPR every day. Morning or evening, she didn't care which, so long as we learned the ins and outs of the domestic and international issues of the day and could produce Chechnya as well as a BBC correspondent.

The news habit outlasted high school, and, with a few gaps, has persisted for a long as I've had a radio and somewhere to prepare to go to in the morning or come home from at night. When I remarried, I got my lovely bride hooked on news radio as well. Such serious news is vastly preferable to the fluff pawned off as local TV morning newscasts, and is less likely to make me roll my eyes in disgust than commercial radio morning shows.

The radio, however, doesn't always get clicked off when the disembodied talking heads fall silent. While Eklektikos doesn't usually float my boat, returning to the car at the end of a stay-at-home Saturday exposed us to the radio still tuned to the familiar news station, but now pouring much different sounds out of the speakers. Classic R&B, rock, soul and rockabilly, linked together by some often tenuous connection. It's called Twine Time, and it's become an addiction. My father-in-law, being a great fan of his generation's music, conveyed quite a bit of knowledge on to his daughter, who is ever so much better at picking out the artists before they're announced than I am. The hits (and misses) of the 50s and 60s have become the soundtrack of our weekends, the background sounds to our laundry folding and test grading and blogging. It's been known to elicit singing-along and even the occasional rhythmic shuffle on my part (dancing would be an overstatement). If it can do that, it's something mighty cool, indeed.

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