Music of my life

Sherri Gardner HowellFarragut, Kitchen Table Talk

There is no rhyme or reason to the music I love.

Seriously. A look at my playlist – now that I have actually figured out how to create one – would confuse the most eclectic personality. There’s quite a bit of old-time country – Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, Mel Tillis. There’s a good deal of newer country – Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Miranda Lambert and even a new favorite titled “First Last Name” by Madison Kozak.

There are a few gospel albums, old ones including The Singing Rambos and newer ones such as Acappella. (They are from Paris, Tenn., by the way.)

Mixed in are favorites from my teenage and college years. I’ve got some Three Dog Night, Doobie Brothers, Loggins & Messina, Jim Croce, Beatles, Monkees, Janis Joplin, Bette Midler, Cher (no Sonny). Not much from the 1970s, my college years. By then I didn’t care what people thought and just listened to what I loved – so mainly, country.

Nothing from the 1980s.

The songs that have people covering their ears, however, are the songs from the 1950s: Jim Reeves, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darrin. These were the songs I heard playing softly in the background of my childhood. Mother had a large hi-fi player in the living room, and she would play her favorite LPs while she worked around the house.

I am pulled into music by the lyrics. For my husband, it’s the music, the beat, the instrumentals that capture his attention. We can listen to the same song, and he can’t tell you what it’s “about.” I, in turn, can’t hum the chorus.

I like a good story in my music choices, which, I suppose explains my love of country music and songs from the 1950s.

When I hear a new song I will play it repeatedly until I know the lyrics. I want to know the “story.”

A recent “new to me” that was a hit in 2010 has me wanting to take a trip back home. Miranda Lambert’s “House That Built Me” tells the story of a young woman going back to her childhood home. She wants to look around, hoping to rediscover the person she used to be.

It’s a terrific song, and it stirs up a lot of emotions. My childhood home is still standing, still providing a strong roof over a family’s head, still on a quiet street not too far from “town.” I always drive by my old house when I’m at home, and I slow down to take in the look of the carport and the yard. Many times I have fought the urge to stop and ask if I could come in “one last time.”

The house that built me!

I know that it would be a mistake to do that. The house and how it looked from the day we moved in when I was six until the day my mother died sitting in her favorite chair in the den are embedded deep in my soul. Those pictures aren’t going anywhere. Still, I think I would find it disconcerting to see the house in its 2020 clothes. I am sure much, if not everything, has changed.

I am seriously curious, but I think I’ll hang on to the memory unedited. As Lambert says in the opening line, “I know they say, ‘You can’t go home again…’”


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