music has been a part of my life for longer than i have memories of my own life.

i mean, i suppose a lot of people can say that and not mean much. “yeah, so what? i listened to huey lewis and the news when i was in pampers, april. what’s your point?”

my point is this: from childhood up to this moment right now…now to now. no wait: NOW; no matter how high or low the points were in my life, music is ingrained in me. without it, i would be unwhole.

austin was amazing in so many ways, and just one of those ways was the incredible availability of live music all the time, everywhere, and oftentimes for free. since leaving austin so many years ago, mike and i have worked hard to keep live music in our lives, but it’s definitely not as easy. sure i could look at the situation and say that since we have to work harder for it, the reward is all the better. but that’s just a load of crap now, isn’t it? i crave music, and i need it in my life constantly. i don’t want to work hard for something that i need to survive. i mean, who wants to work hard for their air, or other necessities, like….HD television or Chalula hot sauce?

but as important as music is for my actual being, i actually forget that fact from time to time. then periodically something happens to snap me back in to my own reality. to bring me back to my “self.”

wednesday that something was a live josh ritter concert mike and i attended in that ivy league town (in, ahem, new jersey) where i no longer reside.

to say that the concert was breathtaking would be an injustice to the experience.

ritter (josh? how do i address this person i don’t know? master performer, the majestic mr. josh ritter? that’s probably it.) puts on such a great show. he’s just…himself. well, i’m really just guessing at that part. i’ve never met him. perhaps he’s actually a first class  jack@$$ and just pretending to be the guy he is on stage. let’s call that guy ‘frank’. why not, right?

his sense of humor was totally on point and reminded me a lot of the stuff mike and i do on a regular basis to keep ourselves entertained. like, for example, he dedicated one of his songs to his own mustache. if you know anything about mike, you know this makes a match made in heaven. and if you know anything about me, you know i married mike.

and, if you’ll excuse a somewhat related silly aside (like you have a choice), i’d like to tell you about how mike cracks up at (that actually may be a euphemism for gets annoyed with, i’m not actually sure) me constantly telling him that we would be friends with all sorts of people that we will never come close to becoming friends with. i say it ALL THE TIME. in fact, it happens so much that i, being a kind and decent woman, purposefully decided to restrain myself while talking to mike after this particular concert. however it was so obvious that i was about to burst by not bringing it up, that mike just brought it up for me. and it’s true. WE WOULD BE FRIENDS WITH FRANK.

i mean, it’s not just anybody that i believe we’d be friends with. i’m very selective. you should note, for example, that we would probably not be friends with any members, or fanatic fans of, the band los lonley boys.

this is all of course under the assumption that i could work up the nerve to speak to frank, since he’s famous and all, which would never happen (LOTS OF LINKS HERE TODAY, FOLKS). yeah. best friends.

anyway, frank’s concert was just GREAT. at one point he asked for the lights to be dimmed, and then played his song, ‘in the dark’ (although josh (FRANK) was singing alone at our concert, you can watch a very similar version where he’s singing with dawn landes here). the audience started singing in a low hushed background tone, and it brought me back to warm childhood memories of summer camp evenings: closing my eyes, sleepily singing benign but truly haunting songs, smelling the burning firewood, feeling the heat of the fire on my cheeks and the chill of the night on my arms.

before i knew it, i was singing along with my eyes closed and tears rolling down my cheeks.

it was a spiritual experience. i’m glad music has returned from it’s vacation back into my life. and i’m glad i have another new best friend.