Last week I was lucky enough to see two gigs by artists I have loved and wanted to see live for a long time. I still remember exactly where I was when I first heard Shakey Graves—down to which song (‘Dearly Departed’) on which radio station (NPR) and even which street I was driving on when it came on the radio (Davisville Road in Southampton, PA). And Hozier is one of the few artists I can say I listened to before they got big, although that was only because I was living in Ireland and so ‘Take Me To Church’ was on everyone’s playlists for months there before it ever hit North American airwaves.
It got me thinking about how strongly tied to memory sound can be. There are so many songs that make me think of a certain time or place, down to minuscule details about where I was or what I was doing when I listened to them. Often music conjures up memories of people or moments as well, whether it’s a fond memory of childhood and your parent singing your favourite lullaby or a song that you can’t listen to anymore because it reminds you too much of your ex. Sound is unavoidable. It can sneak up on you, a song coming unexpectedly on the radio or in the grocery store.