Kathy was on "pick the kids up from Bills game" duty on Saturday night. Sam went with a buddy because Jake had to work, but Jake returned home before it was all over and as soon as Kathy left Jake began talking to me about music.
Our musical tastes don't intersect a whole lot, but being a fan of good writing and talent we can find a mutual ground.
Jake began the discussion by playing a little of the new Frank Ocean for me, and I had to admit that Ocean has a lovely voice and some lyrical talent.
"Where does he rank on your list of male vocalists?" Jake asked.
That is actually an impossible question. I started thinking of my favorite singers.
Of course, Sinatra is "the voice" but even young kids know and accept that.
I went off the board a little.
"How about this?" I asked.
I pulled up a 1972 video of Al Green singing "I'm So Tired of Being Alone."
Jake reacted the same way I had when I heard Green sing that for the first time:
"Oh shit!" He said.
"How's that compared to Frank Ocean?" I asked.
"Oh shit!" He said again.
Our discussion kept moving. We talked about Sinatra and Jagger and Kanye and Eminem. When Kathy returned home nearly an hour later (running kids home) she asked me what I had watched on television.
"Nothing. We were talking music."
Coincidentally it all happened on the very night that the Tragically Hip were playing their final concert ever because their lead singer, and a true poet is dying of brain cancer.
"I don't even know how some of these guys are so good at such a young age," Jake said.
"Talent, work and focus," I said. "Mostly work. If you have a talent you have to bust your ass to make it."
"But when you have a voice like that Green guy..."
"Yeah, that helps," I said.
I remember my talks about music with my Dad. Most of the time he was yelling at me to "Turn that shit down."
But years later there was a tribute show to Sinatra.
Springsteen was one of the invited singers. He did his song and before it even ended my phone rang.
"I was wrong about Bruce," My Dad said. "He's a talented guy."
Music tells us a whole bunch about life.
It bridges the generational gaps.
"Talent rises," I said to Jake.
"I'm gonna' play that song for my friends," he said.
I validated his choice before he left:
"Frank Ocean is good too."
And I actually meant it.
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