Monday, April 30, 2007


There was a time when I was cool. Now I wasn't real cool but I certainly had a good grasp of coolness. Okay, I didn't even have that but I certainly wasn't totally hopeless.

During those days I would frequently discuss the latest in music with a knowing swagger that impressed the ladies. From Fugazi to the Talking Heads, I knew quality tunes when I heard them, and none of those tunes sounded remotely country. Indeed with the confidence of any punk rocker I disdained the acoustic guitar, freestanding basses were for museums or wedding bands, and the female lead singer was something reserved for pop radio.

Fast forward 15 years and as my 30th birthday fast approaches things have changed dramatically. My gray hairs are staging a full scale war against the black one's, those black hairs have decided to retreat to my back and ears, and I can no longer wear 15 year old Stew's t-shirts unless I want to look like I'm in my 3rd trimester. Worst of all I no longer even pretend to be cool about music. Indeed my music collection has considerably less Bad Religion and considerably more (and one could easily argue too much) Garth Brooks.

Now not all of this fall from coolness can be blamed solely on age, after all the teens of today are completely out of control and I never would have been like that at their age. Some of the blame must be assigned to Wife. Well I love her with all my heart (it was just our 7th anniversary and I think some of you have now lost your bets about how long we'd last. I expect my checks within 60 days), she did bring out a part of my persona that I never knew existed. The part that likes folk music.

Yet with that part firmly out Wife and I went to our first concert since we saw Midnight Oil in 2002. We went and saw Patty Griffin at the Egg in Albany.
The Egg
With the exception of bars and clubs I've never been to a concert that's seated less than five thousand people, and I've certainly never been to a show where everyone stayed in their seats and where people wearing ties and dresses (not necessarily together) were just as common as those wearing t-shirts and jeans. It was a crowd where I'm guessing the Ph.D.s outnumbered the high school dropouts two to one and where the unfortunate femi-mullet was all to common.

Yet that's exactly what we saw when we attended the concert. All in all the concert was great. Her set has a good folk feel that balances acoustic and electric. I was most impressed with her back up band, though I thought the free-standing bassist for the opening band was much better than the one she had. If you just consider the opening act it was probably the best show I've ever been to.

That said, enjoying that style of music makes me feel really old.

Here's a YouTube clip of a song from her latest tour:


GK said...

30 IS old. Ask John.

Can you be cool and a geek?

I know Im young but who were the Talking Heads?

Congratulations on your anniversary.

Roy @ UNM said...

Ah, an ode on middle-age. Welcome to the jungle, Stew. Now that the music's too loud, you can join me in complaining about those youngsters and their baggy pants, pounding bass, long hair...
But, as I have found myself saying regularly over the past year, getting old is better than the alternative. And, for the record, I doubt we were ever even slightly cool, just self-deluded.

dastew said...

NO NO NO! I was cool! I swear it! As to kids these days, they're awful I don't understand how they're parents let them out dressed like that.

GK: The Talking Heads were one of the best new wave bands from the 1980s to the early 90s. They were headed by David Byrne who wrote some very interesting lyrics. Their biggest hits were "Once in a Lifetime" and "Burning Down the House".

Also if anyone has a good femi-mullet picture I'd love to add it.

Alissa said...

next up: the oakridge boys followed by john denver.

p.s. matt has a blog:

Panini said...

You've got a knack for those physical descriptions . . .3rd trimester, egh? ;)

dastew said...

Just because I've ballooned to the size of a small killer whale doesn't mean I don't have feelings Panini. ;D

Dan W said...

Garth Brooks? Are you crazy? Is this the Stew & knew and loved? You ought to be ashamed.

dastew said...

It's mostly the wife that brought Garth Brooks into the house. I still prefer a good rock song to country most of the time, but I have to acknowledge not all country/folk sucks.

John J said...




Sounds like you are living the dream Stew.