I am pretty sure I've always loved music. My first real musical love was Madonna. Other early favorites were Cyndi Lauper and Debbie Gibson. But sometime in junior high/high school two things happened. The first was that my musical tastes started to be influenced by songs I heard around summer camp campfires. The second was a friend introducing me to the music of the Indigo Girls. I have diverse-ish musical tastes but the type of music I gravitate toward most is of the singer/songwriter variety. I still purchase music, having it playing in the house and car all the time, often request/receive CDs as gifts, make mix tapes, and see live music whenever I can (generally not that often).
Many of the artists I listen to I associate with specific times in my life - for example I still have a crystal clear mental picture of the little yellow boom box I had when I first heard Ellis Paul's music, specifically his song, "Did I Ever Know You," on a mix tape a friend had given me. It was the winter of 1998, my senior year of college, living in a house with five of my best friends. Later that school year, in April of 1999, I heard Ellis Paul live for the first time. He is a master performer and storyteller. Since that first show I have convinced many a friend to come see Ellis with me in Ohio, Kentucky, and Wisconsin. I have probably seen him perform eight or nine times in the last twelve years.
I enjoy his shows so much I can't even complain about the fact that we had to wait half an hour in the rain for the doors to open at the venue where Ellis played last night. None of the four people who came to the show with me had ever seen him but I think they were all glad they'd come along. In case you missed it a couple of years ago I posted videos from a December 2008 Ellis Paul show - go ahead and click through to enjoy.
Ages ago I received an email from Ellis Paul's manager containing a link to a free download off of his most recent recording. I already owned the CD, but you can find the free song download here. He also has a recording of children's music (and more on the way, I hope) that is definitely worth investigating if you have children.
Ellis Paul's songs are moving stories and whether they make me smile or cry I am always touched when I listen to his music.
I hope my kids grow up loving music as much as I do - as I sat at the show last night I found myself wondering how old Harper would need to be before she could come with me - probably quite a bit as the show wasn't over until 11:30. She'll be a lucky girl if Ellis is still touring once she is old enough to tag along.