Mix Tapes: Songs First Heard Live — Calling All No Depression Readers
A friend was recently lamenting the decline and apparent fall of the mix tape. The irony here is that we can much more easily burn a mix CD than record a mix tape. But then, in today’s reality of the iPod, fewer people seem listen to recorded music in a shared, communal setting that an LP, cassette or CD provides. We are off in our own little worlds texting, twittering or FBing other people, some we hardly know, on what we’re doing, what we’re listening to, how significant our significant other is and generally how great our privileged lives are.
But, back to mix tapes. My friend misses them as not only could she be turned onto some interesting music she was unaware of – new and old — she could also sort out potential boyfriends. As she confided so succinctly, “If he includes Toby Keith, I know he’s not for me.”
I too have made some mix tapes over the years, different themes, topics and the like. Not long ago I made one for — yes, someone I was sweet on — that was comprised of songs that I first heard live. Songs, either by established performers or new, that, obviously, moved me in some way. And as I regularly attend, among other venues, Mt. Stage radio show I am able to hear a wide variety of performers – mostly Americana and roots – and hear songs before their commercial release, and I can also can record a given show off the air – or, now download an MP3 of the show or individual set. So, on that specific mix tape I was able to include the actual performances I first heard live. Pretty neat, I thought.
Now, I’d like to put a general call out to No Depression readers about what songs that you first heard live that you would include on a mix tape. No limit on number of songs, tunes or genres, but let’s limit it as to time, say the last six years or so. It just has to be songs that you had never heard before, never heard performed by anyone – and you were there in the audience, a participant in that communal live experience.
I’ll start by providing the following:
“Hank and Fred” by Loudon Wainwright III
“Choctaw Bingo” by James McMurtry
“The Gift of” by Julia Douglass
“As You Are” by Winterbloom
“Fifties French Movie” by Carrie Rodriguez
“The West Was Burning” by Martha Scanlan
“The Messenger” by Ray Wylie Hubbard
“I Met Jesus In a Bar” by Jim Lauderdale
“Rockabye Dixie” by Abigal Washburn
“The In Crowd” by Nellie McKay
And often the performers comment on the songs or provide back stories that give the song an added resonance (“Hank & Fred”) or, perhaps, maybe just as meaningful as the song itself (“The Gift Of”).