Yesterday was a day full of surprises. I mostly like surprises. Sometimes, of course, they involve a lot of shifting and untangling; I do not like shifting and untangling. I am a planner. I am a to-do lister. I am a control freak. I’m not interested in controlling anyone else, mind you; I just have to control my own schedule, my own little household, my own little republic.
Fine. It’s an issue. It’s part of my charm.
I went to Carrboro last night with a little black cloud over my head. The little black cloud was throwing lightening bolts at people, and once or twice I heard it curse like a filthy drunken sailor. It was not pretty. I arrived at the Carrboro Arts Center half an hour ahead of my crowd. That was a wise choice. Half an hour of music goes a long way towards blowing away an angry little cloud.
The show was a great one, y’all. It was Rhett Miller, with Cheyenne Marie Mize opening. She’s amazing. I was not prepared for how good she is. I hate to compare, but she’s got the sort of velvety voice of a Norah Jones, mixed with the edge and intensity of a Neko Case. She played every instrument on the stage, and that was a bunch. At one point, she sat down on a little bench, and started to play that, too. It was crazy cool. I totally want one.
And then there was Rhett. Everyone knows how much I love Rhett. It’s something about the floppy hair which he swings around when he gets excited, plus the maniacal guitar pinwheel thing he does, plus the fact that he comes across with the manners of a Boy Scout on stage, but can also sing a song like this:
I had never heard that one before. Having joked about throwing my clothes onstage, and having secured an attorney friend who does not actually do Crazy People law but volunteered to keep her phone on just in case, this was the only point at which I was tempted to rush the stage. Good heavens.
“That man radiates sex,” I told Julia.
“You and I will never fight over a man,” said Julia. “But your taste in music is impeccable.” Jen was willing to rush the stage with me. Her husband would have helped us. Being six months pregnant, though, she decided not to throw any clothes. But she gets it.
I left the show feeling much, much better. Rhett Miller solo is an entirely different experience from the Old 97’s. But any day with Rhett Miller is a pretty good day. I thought I was done with surprises when I got home at midnight. I should have just gone to bed.
However, I was lured by my new turntable, and I decided to start playing through all of the albums hanging on my wall. Having just heard “Won’t Be Home,” one of the best car songs ever written, I decided to see what “Thunder Road” sounded like on vinyl. That alone was worth the cost of the turntable. (Side note, Born to Run is one of the sexiest album covers in history.) The surprise, though, was a couple of songs later, when I got to “Night.” How is it possible that I didn’t know that song? Didn’t recall ever hearing it? Didn’t know that it would start out with your typical Springsteen rock intro, then evolve into something complex and moving and beautiful and wild? Didn’t know that Springsteen had another car song?
I listened to it three times in a row. You never know when something will take you off guard, in a good way. When you’ll be surprised by something that’s been right in your line of sight for ages. When something as small (and as huge) as a song will change your whole perspective.
I went to bed happy.