We’re just two days into our Summer Workshop hiatus and already we’re getting progress reports on our listener challenge. You may recall on our program last Friday, we asked you what your musical resolution for the summer would be. Ours, of course, is to come roaring back in the Fall with a bigger, better Soundcheck.
Author AJ Jacobs told us he felt he had a big blind spot in his musical knowledge where Bob Dylan should be. So he’s resolved to spend time this summer getting more acquainted with the music of The Bard Of Hibbing. And as his posting on our blog today shows, he’s already glad he did.
Then, our regular listener Catherine, in Canada, blogged about hearing AJ on our show Friday, and admitted that she too felt that she didn’t really know Dylan’s stuff as well as she should.
Even more to the point, she wrote this:
It was oddly comforting to hear that kind of confession in such a public forum. Admitting you don't know the canons of such huge music monoliths in public is hard, and it was nice to see Soundcheck… (here she wrote some very nice things about us which modesty forbids me to reprint here. But by all means click this link!) welcome such curiosity with open arms. It's nice to not be afraid of judgment, or be worried about appearing uncool, of lacking taste, of being plain stupid, but to just be welcomed and accepted.
And there, in a nutshell, is what we’ve tried to do on Soundcheck. It’s not a show for music snobs. You don’t need to be a music expert – all you have to be is curious. There’s a fine line between being passionate about music and being possessive of it. I used to think that jazz and classical fans were the worst at this… what do you mean, you don’t know Horace Silver? How can that be? Well, to someone who’s maybe just found Miles Davis’s “Kind of Blue” and decided that this jazz thing might be worth looking into, that kind of attitude will turn you off real fast.
Once, a very well-known host of one of classical music’s most popular syndicated radio shows played the famous first movement of Beethoven’s Fifth on his show; I don’t remember why – it fit with a theme that was tying all the pieces together. Anyway, the piece ends and he says, “well, we all know what that was,” and moves on! All I could think was, somewhere out there is a person who had not heard that piece before, didn’t know what it was, and was wondering what this extraordinary, powerful music was… only for this guy to come and essentially say, if you don’t already know it, you don’t deserve it.
So. You think you don’t know enough about Bob Dylan? Hell, I don’t either. I don’t think anyone does who isn’t Robert Zimmerman himself. (That’s Dylan’s real name, and he’s from Hibbing, Minnesota, hence that “Bard of Hibbing” crack above. See? If you didn’t know that and I didn’t bother to explain, I end up looking like an idiot, writing apparently random names down.)
Meanwhile, AJ and Catherine aren’t worrying about how it looks to say they don’t know enough about Dylan; they’re too busy doing something about it. How about you? Got any musical holes you want to plug this summer?