Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Gone to Look for America

In fewer than six days, I'll be on a plane, headed across the Atlantic. While it won't be an especially long trip (last year I was gone for almost seven weeks in one go), I still can feel myself getting a little misty at the thought of leaving. Everything takes on more significance: this will be my last weekend, my last day in the office, my last chance for good Asian food, and, tonight, my last live music show in Seattle. I very seldom get homesick while traveling, but as my trip approaches I become introspective and more aware of my surroundings. The advantage, I suppose, is that I seem to work through any feelings of missing home before the plane touches down on foreign soil.

It was therefore fitting, I felt, to be listening to American roots music tonight. Greg Vandy kept me company with his weekly show, The Roadhouse, on KEXP as I drove to the Tractor Tavern. It was the perfect way to get in the mood for a night of folksy, Nashville-tinged with a West Coast-slant American music. Country, folk, jazz, and blues: this is the homegrown music of our nation, and sometimes nothing feels better than to sit back and listen with a beer in hand.

Somehow this kind of music has gathered something of a hip following of late, but you can still hear it when a musician puts their soul into it. The final group of the night, the Bittersweets, made me feel exactly like their name - a little wistful, a little melancholy, but definitely sweetly satisfied.

This is my America, and I'm going to miss you. I may forget for a while after I step on that plane, but I'll be back, and it will be good to be home.

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