The life and words of Ashley, Erin, and Michelle

Revisiting My Sixteen-Year-Old Self July 18, 2010

Last weekend I had the chance to revisit the habits of my teenage years. (I feel so old saying that!)

I heard early last week that two of my favorite artists were performing together within five minutes of my friend’s home in Fort Wayne. For the last probably 5 years, I’ve said my dream concert would be to see Jars of Clay, Caedmon’s Call and Plumb in a concert together, but I know that would never happen, considering the difference in styles of music. But this concert was almost that, with both Jars of Clay and Plumb.

I’ve been a fan of Plumb for 13 years. I remember jumping up and down in front of the TV when I saw a Plumb album in the credits of an episode of Roswell, having recognized it earlier in the episode. (I wish they still did that with TV shows!) I can recall listening to her music when I rode the bus to school in middle school, as I  sat in front of my locker in high school and while I stayed up late pulling all-nighters in college. Her music pointed out  some rather unhealthy relationships I’ve had and helped me from holding onto them.

I’ve been to probably 40 or so concerts, yet I have never seen Plumb perform live or even seen a tour schedule where she was close enough that I could consider going to a concert.

It wasn’t until college that I came to enjoy Jars of Clay’s music. For some reason, I heard the song “Boy on a String” in 1998 and decided I didn’t like any of their music based on that song alone. Boy, I was missing out for years, not to mention the fact that Plumb’s debut concert tour was with them!

This was the second time I had the opportunity to see them perform, but it was much better. Last time, I was in the second balcony of an auditorium with a point-and-shoot digital camera. This time, I was in the front of the crowd at an outdoor festival with my beloved Canon Rebel and its change of lens, and for a fraction of the cost.

The concert was great! I think I had just as much fun taking photos as I did listening to the music. Had I completely followed my routines for what I did in high school. I would have had the bands sign a CD or something afterward, but I had left all my CDs in my car, and I figured I would be home late enough with the three-hour drive I had to make yet that night. I like to think that my habits have matured slightly since then, even if I did decide to go to the concert at the last minute, knowing full well that I needed to be at work at 8 am the next morning.

I maneuvered my way toward the front during Jonny Diaz's performance.

Plumb performed next, and I was more than thrilled to be standing front row.

I took a bunch of fun individual shots during the third band, NEEDTOBREATHE. I was focusing more on my camera while I waited in eager anticipation for Jars of Clay.

Jars of Clay had a great show. I am still in shock I was still front row at that time.

Sure, I may have had a difficult time staying awake Monday morning, but the concert was well worth it. Now that I’ve seen Plumb perform live, I think I’ve seen just about every one of my favorite artists since growing up, from Sandi Patty to Ray Boltz, from All-Star United, DC Talk and the Newsboys to The W’s and The Supertones, from Switchfoot to Superchick, from Caedmon’s Call to Jars of Clay and Plumb. Christian music concerts, I think my long-lived relationship with you may be closer to parting ways.

I was thrilled when Jars of Clay decided to perform an encore song.

How about you? Are there any activities from your high school years that you wouldn’t mind occasionally slipping back into your life, if even for a weekend?


Sunny Music April 21, 2010

Weather this past week has been wonderful. I was so thankful it continued through the weekend so that I could enjoy my drive to and from Indiana, even if I did forget my jacket.

One of my favorite things about spring is that I can drive with my windows down and music up. After six months of not being able to do that, it’s such a relief to finally roll down the windows and let out all of that stale winter air that has been building up from all of the sweaty bundled up people who’ve ridden in my car all winter, including me. Air fresheners can only do so much before it becomes just a mask over only the grossest smells.

Along with that change, though, comes a change in music. There are some songs and CDs that just beg to be played while driving down the road on a sunny day. So far I’ve come up with a short list:

  • Rilo Kiley’s “Under the Blacklight” CD, particularly the song “Silver Lining”
  • “Love Liberty Disco” by the Newsboys (It’s so much better than anything they’re doing now.)
  • Just about any CD by All Star United
  • The song “Soaking Up the Sun” by Sheryl Crow (I have it on a mix CD from Egan.)
  • Several mix CDs made by Egan, Katie and Kelsay, but there are so many different artists on those I can’t remember them all.

Do you have any others you’d suggest adding to the list?


Headphones October 26, 2009

Back in April, Jars of Clay released their newest CD called “Long Fall Back to Earth.” Instantly, I was a fan. (In fact, I think it’s been out of my car for maybe a week total since then. I listen to it all the time.) The song called “Headphones”, however, reminded me of my one true addiction in high school (besides chasing the boys, of course).

I couldn’t go anywhere without them. I had them at school (so that I could listen on the trip to and from, of course), while I cleaned our church, on quiz trips. You name the place, and I probably had my headphones with me. Back then we didn’t have mp3 players, so I had to settle for lugging around my tote of CDs as well. I wasn’t even deterred when my CDs were stolen at a church camp, it just proved that I needed to keep them with me rather than leave them with my stuff.

One of the times I was at work cleaning the church, the pastor of my church said something to me in passing, something I took personally and was offended by at the time, but now I look back and realize that he was right. He said something to me about  how maybe I spent too much time listening to music, that it was an idol to me.

Looking back, I realize that I used them to block out everything going on around me. I claimed that I just connected with the music and used it as an “outlet” to “express my feelings.” In reality, I was expressing nothing. I was listening to others express while I only empathized with what was being said, as if I knew the lives of the artists or something.

Since then, I’ve learned of other ways to actually think for myself and express my own thoughts. (Crazy, I know!) Writing has become one of those outlets. I wrote minimally in high school, but college is when I realized quite how much I could use them to my benefit. Now, let’s just hope that I don’t become quite as dependent on my pen as I was on my headphones back then.

I’ve included the lyrics (and a link to a YouTube clip) to the song I mentioned at the beginning in case you want to know the exact lyrics.

by Jars of Clay

I don’t have to hear it, if I don’t want to.
I can drown this out, pull the curtains down on you.
it’s a heavy world, it’s too much for me to care.
If I close my eyes, it’s not there.

With my headphones on, with my headphones on
With my headphones on, with my headphones on

We watch television, but the sound is something else,
Just a song played against the drama, so the hurt is never felt
I take in the war-fires, and I’m chilled by the current events
It’s so hopeless, but there’s a pop song in my

Headphones on, in my headphones on
With my headphones on, with my headphones on
With my headphones on, with my headphones on
With my headphones on, with my headphones on

At the Tube Stop, you sit down across from me.
(I can see you looking back at me)
I think I know you
By the sad eyes that I see.
I want to tell you
(It’s a heavy world)
Everything will be okay —
You wouldn’t hear it,
(I don’t want to have to hear it)
So we go our separate ways

With our headphones on, with our headphones on
With our headphones on, with our headphones on

I don’t wanna be the one who tries to figure it out,
I don’t need another reason I should care about you,
You don’t want to know my story,
You don’t want to own my pain,
Living in a heavy, heavy world,
And there’s a pop song in my head,
I don’t want to have to hear it.