Thirty Days of Music: #7

“day 07 – a song that reminds you of a certain event.”

Well, truth be told, there’s a lot of songs that remind me of certain events.  But in the interest of getting some diversity in my airplay here, and telling about another great episode in my life, I’m going to go with some Noah Earle.

But let’s get a little bit of context, first.

I lived in Columbia, Missouri for two years in the mid-2000s.  For a longtime suburbanite, then a five-year Richmonder, it was a pretty dramatic change to go to the Midwest.  It didn’t take long to learn to love the state, it’s geography, and it’s culture.  One of my favorite pasttimes was hit the road with my lovely lady and her dog and drive for hours, taking in the countryside.  The Mormons call it the Garden of Eden, and you know what, maybe they’re not that far off.  So you’ll never hear me badmouth the Midwest, because it really is a beautiful place.  Every place is, in it’s own way.

On one visit to see my lady out in Kansas City, we returned to Columbia one fine spring afternoon, partaking in a journey that she had previously completed.  We rented bikes, and rode thirty miles along the swollen Missouri River on a former railroad bed, up to the town of Rocheport and a winery for lunch.  This is the kind of day that poetry is written about, one that makes etches memories in stone.  A brilliant blue sky, perfectly accommodating temperature, swiftly moving river, beautiful land, wonderful company, illumination and excellent at every turn.  Not even the myriad problems- running out of water, a brake malfunction, crashing into a bridge- could bring me down on this day.  Not a chance.  Near the end, I see an old friend- the Big Tree in McBain/McBaine (depending on which way you’re coming from).  That’s it on the right.  It’s 90 feet tall, it swallows you up in it’s branches and blooms, and it’s over 350 years old.  It’s survived Indians, settlers, Civil War raiders, farmers, and that most pernicious threat of all- ‘progress,’ roads, development.  It’s still there.  I spend a good amount of time contemplating it, the gorgeous day, and why the fuck I haven’t been on a bicycle a hell of a lot longer.   Lesson learned.

After the ride ended, we stopped at a local health foods store for some groceries and snacks for the 2-hours back to KC.  Naturally, we need some new music, as we don’t always see eye-to-eye on our tunes.  Based on nothing but him being Missourian, and having cover art that to me gave off a sense of the music I expected, we bought Noah Earle’s album ‘Postcards from Home.’  And it was everything I expected, and more.  Since then, it’s come to encompass my entire Missouri experience, and that deep, abiding fondness I feel for that landscape.  The music just brings it alive, and when I close my eyes, I’m hiking the bluffs, or cruising the back roads, or stumbling my way through the thick forests.  So thanks Mr. Earle for giving voice to a pretty profound influence.


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