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Radio Waves

Jun 27, 1998
Kimmy Sophia Brown
In the past few months I started listening to WKOC, a rock station in Virginia Beach at 93.7, nicknamed; The Coast. I've been in the long time habit of listening only to classical music on National Public Radio. I love Performance Today with Martin Goldsmith. I learn so many things from him and Miles Hoffman, the classical music expert he frequently interviews. I love Karl Haas and all his tongue-rolling perfection, pronouncing the accented names of works and composers in their various languages. But sometimes I miss my rock and roll roots.

I spent the last ten years listening only to classical music, enjoying the beautiful stuff and enduring the piercing discordance of Charles Ives and that ilk. (Gee, does that reveal my ignorance of 20th century music? I may be ignorant but I know what I like.) I would venture over to a rock station now and then, for a little peek, and was shocked at the realization that I didn't know any of the new artists or songs.

What happened to me? I used to listen to WBCN in Boston, back in the early seventies, when it was the 'underground', FM rock station. They played Bonnie Raitt in 1971, before she was famous. That's how cool they were. I was into it back then. Music was my religion.

Twenty five years have passed and I discover I am out of touch. Hootie and the Blowfish? Puff Daddy? Garbage? Smashing Pumpkins? Toad the Wet Sprocket? Reality check. I use Loreal Medium Brown on my hair not because I want to experience an exciting new color, but because I have gray hair. I go to the chiropractor because I have arthritis in my knees and because my lower back pops out when I move the couch to vacuum under it. I was 43 in January. But good gosh a-mighty, I like some of these new tunes on the Coast. I enjoy listening to the midday d.j., a lively girl named Kristen Croot. She speaks lovingly of her sister Amy and her Grandma, and is very friendly to folks who call in requests for the lunch show.

The other day, Kristen made my day. She played somebody I had never heard of, and somebody else, and then I heard the familiar electric guitar riff to Crosby, Stills and Nash's version of Joni Mitchell's Woodstock. It was a warm day, the window was rolled down on the family mini-van, and I KNEW ALL THE WORDS!

"We are star dust, we are golden,
we are billion year old carbon,
and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden."

I sang my heart out, flying down Lynnhaven Rd., (within the speed limit), until I lurched into my driveway at the end of the song. I was thrilled. It made me feel so young that I almost ran into my house yelling, "Mom! I'm home!"

I am now familiar with the Dave Matthews Band, The Wallflowers, Jewel, Shawn Colvin, Sarah McLachlan, Paula Cole, (what a great voice), Duncan Sheik, Matchbox Twenty, Counting Crows, Black Crows and Sheryl Crowe. (Is there a hidden meaning to all these crows?) I like being more in sync with current music. It helps me to understand people twenty years younger than myself, and gives me an appreciation of the creativity that continues to flow through young, inspired musicians.

When I came in my house that Woodstock day, I popped in my Joni Mitchell, Ladies of the Canyon CD. I hadn't listened to it for ages, but I noted to myself how remarkable it is. She was the spokeswoman for my friends and me in the early 1970's. We connected with her idealism and the simple beauty of her music, lyrics, voice and guitar playing.

"Nobody stopped to hear him,
though he played so sweet and high.
They knew he had never been on their TV
so they passed his music by.
I meant to go over and ask for song,
maybe put on a harmony.
I heard his refrain as the signal changed,
He was playing real good for free." (from For Free.)

I still like to get soaked in a dose of Beethoven or Dvorjak now and then, but I thank Kristen for her sparkling spirit and for letting me hear stuff from their New Music File, like Paula Cole:

"I don't want to wait for our lives to be over,
I want to know right now, what will it be?" (from I Don't Want to Wait)

I can relate to that.

Kimmy Sophia Brown has loved humor and music and freedom for as long as she can remember.She is especially passionate about the environment and caring for animals.

She writes the column "From the Back Porch" as well as reviews of music in her column "MusicViews". Her goal in her music reviews is to introduce music she loves to people who may not have heard that particular artist or CD. For information about how to submit a CD for review, click here.

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