Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sufjan Stevens & Mighty Taco [11/28/07]

I was in a local Mexican fast food restaurant, Mighty Taco, earlier this week. I placed my order and stepped back from the counter for the next person to place theirs. As I stood waiting for my number to be called, I couldn't help but listen to the piped in music playing over their sound system. It was Sufjan Stevens. I don't recall the song, but I think it was off Come on Feel The Illinoise!, the first CD I bought of his. It got me thinking.

Years ago, after my undergraduate college days (1988), I was working part-time as a meat wrapper at a supermarket. You know, those education dollars at work! Anyway, I remember cleaning the meat cases on a Sunday night. Playing on the "piped-in" radio station was Charlie Peacock - Conversing With Mercy. I thought this was a significant artist only I seemed to know.

Years later, in the mid-90's, I was in a department store. A song from Sam Phillips played on that darn station.

I wonder who programs these stations or this piped-in music. It is treated as background fodder for the masses. Sufjan Stevens, Sam Phillips, and Charlie Peacock are significant artists to me. However, they do not play nor are known by the masses.

I am obscure in my tastes. I know this well. Diamonds do not happen to be found on the four-lane highways we travel on daily. In reality, diamonds rarely are played or discovered on the majority of corporate-owned radio stations that pump mostly disposable, meaningless music into our saturated veins.

Diamonds are discovered in the rough, dingy bars or coffeehouses where an artist wears his heart on his collective lyrical sleeve. Diamonds are to be dug the local, though struggling, record store.

I found Sufjan Stevens "Illinoise" at a record shop when my wife and I went on vacation in Massachusetts a few years ago. The owner told me this album had the rare limited artwork collectors were looking for. I am not much into paying a mint for a CD. It was reasonably priced. I also am not into collecting the one of a kind, though I have made allowances.

It is regrettable that diamonds end up in the dust bins many a time. The struggling artist poured his collective lyrical and musical heart all over an album. For it to be relegated obsolete or undiscovered by many is a sad thing.

I just want to have my shovel ready to dig.

No comments: