Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Illegitimate Sons

We had a blazing hot date last night.

First: Korean food al fresco.
Second: Home Depot (for him) TJ Maxx and JoAnn's (for her)

And then: A house party.

Only I'm not supposed to call it a house party. I'm supposed to call it a "house concert". All I'm saying is, old friends + drunken goat cheese + live music = party. But that's just me.

Here I am, with the lovely hostess.

(Excuse the hair, okay? I rushed out the door at 9 in the morning with wet hair, twisted it up on the top of my head, picked out 3 kinds of flooring with 3 kids in tow, met a friend at a flea market, encountered gale force winds, put the hair in a knot, went to lunch, came home and took a nap in bed in my clothes, just like back in college. I had plans to put on proper House Party clothes and fix my hair. Alas, it wasn't in the cards.)
We mingled for a while, then it was show time.

 Raise your hand if you feel sorry for Scott.
(Do I talk too much??)
(Don't answer that.)

This is my friend Tony's head. He was one of my first friends, Freshman year. Hi, Tony. But next time, please bring Jess, thankyouverymuch. No offense.

This is my friend, Lee Miles, lead singer of The Illegitimate Sons. We went to college together about eighteen thousand years ago.

Here's the thing: I'm not a cool music girl. I don't keep up. There's a long list of cool music things I couldn't possibly tell you. But I do know what I love and my tolerance is low for drivel or cliche or bands that "aren't good live". Good music stirs me up on the inside. I'll dive headlong into a bare-naked lyric and forget to breathe for a while. 

I loved the show.

I was wildly impressed, so honored to have a seat. I wanted them to not stop singing.

So we bought the cd.

You can buy one, too. And you should. Not just because it's my old friend, Lee Miles. Buy it because it's raw and pure, melancholy and redemptive. Buy it for the harmonica, for heaven's sake. Buy it because these guys wear it all out. They're the real deal. I promise they'll make you pine for a road trip.You might even twirl your hat on your fingertip then fling it out the window when you go.

In their own words, "The Illegitimate Sons play a brand of Americana, Alt-Country, and Murder Ballads reminiscent of The Band, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt and Neil Young."

Don't be scared by the creepy cd cover. Dude, the cover is creepy, like "hide-this-from-Calvin-or-he'll-have-nightmares creepy." (What's up with that, Lee Miles?)

Lee talked a bit about most of the songs. He peeled back a corner of skin and let us peek at the guts. I love locking eyes with the soul of another writer, to sit still with their art. It's always truth, born from a place of vulnerability and maybe even pain. I might understand it differently than it was intended, and that's alright. All that really matters is that it landed in that raw place of my heart for a while, the place that helps me feel my own life more clearly.

Last night was a gift. True, I'm prone to pronounced fits of nostalgia, but it wasn't just that. It wasn't just seeing faces that swept me back to cafeteria food and complicated nicknames. It wasn't just being on a real, live date with my man. It wasn't even closing the night down with a rowdy rendition of I Saw the Light alongside people like me, who have clawed blind through some darkness to grab hold of the light.

It was all the pieces. Together.

So thank you, Lee Miles.

And thank you, Sarah. You throw a mean party.

*All photos courtesy of my hot date.