The Violet Hour

Sunday afternoon found me driving over the Bay Bridge, exhausted from an epic weekend of two kiddie birthday parties, one of which involved a late night drive home from Sac the night before. I found myself that morning at birthday party number two, feeling like a mommy imposter, as my fatigue pinned me on a couch with a cup of tea. Having had my fill of my own social awkwardness*, I hightailed it home while the jubilant four year old sacked out in the back. Then I glanced at the clock and realized that the best part of the week had arrived. I clicked on the radio, Mary Tilsen’s warm and humorous voice filling the car with the back 40. As I waited in line for the toll, I nestled down into a comfy place within myself. A smile started in my heart, spreading out to all four limbs, as each song knitted me back together. By the time we rolled up to the stoop, I felt normal again (albeit, still tired).

For the past 15 years, my Sunday tradition has been to turn on the radio starting at 11am. I catch all, or the first hour, of A Prairie Home Companion, and then by 2pm I head on over to KPFA for America’s Back 40, and then at 4pm, either Pig in a Pen or Panhandle Country. For years, Sunday was sacred, and I wouldn’t leave the house, listening and dancing all day while I did the weekly chores. Since having the babe, and entering partnership, I’ve had to have a looser grip on my weekend plans. Still, each time I get to tune in, I am filled with gratitude for these programs that have helped me go deep with my love and appreciation for my favorite kind of music…old time, bluegrass, western swing, americana…eclectic.

Someday, I’ll start going to shows again, taking my daughter with me. Until then, she likes to listen too…if we turn on A Prairie Home Companion, she will listen intently to the whole thing (especially Fred Newman’s bits. That link is so fun, do click). And the best part of all? Whenever I turn on (hardly) classic bluegrass...Doc Watson or Del McCoury, for instance, Fern’s face lights up as she says Oh I love this!

I’ll enjoy it while I can, until she hits her tweens and becomes infatuated with a Bieber type.

In the meantime, I made a playlist for you, a little sampling of the kind of medicine that suits my soul. Enjoy!

What kind of music stitches you back together when you are unraveling? Any recommendations?

*Despite my extreme introversion flare-up, both bday parties were wonderful. Kudos to my Cousin Kristin and friend Denise…amazing job, ladies!


4 thoughts on “The Violet Hour

  1. oh, i remember your epic radio stations when i was visiting! i was totally jealous, wishing southern california could have even a smidgen of a station that good. i recently came upon a real local station in my city and it RULES! of course, the minute i drive more than 5 miles away it fades out but still! my old favorite radio station has gotten progressively worse over the years. sunday is really the only day that i purposely go there to listen. there’s a morning show called “peace, love and sunday mornings” that i love. and then on sunday evening there are two hours of guest dj’s. the first hour is some sort of celebrity and the next hour is a listener and they play whatever they want. fun stuff.

    as for what music stitches me back together…i guess it really depends on my mood. i love such a wide variety that i can’t name a favorite genre. btw your playlist is awesome! early jazz (tracks 6 and 7) makes me SO happy. one of my favorites is Bix Beiderbecke.

    i love posts like these 🙂 i was writing a post on lou reed but haven’t published it yet and don’t know if i will but talking about music is always something i thoroughly enjoy.

  2. Nina Simone, Billie Holiday…..long car drives with my mum when I was young she’d have the radio tuned to the classic channel. And both her and dad were into 20th Century Blues back then. When I’m sad I find myself singing Billie, and church hymns. I couldn’t listen to your playlist because I don’t have spotify anymore, but I loved the imagery of you getting home after your drive and turning on the radio. xoxo

  3. i love sunday radio time.
    i shush my kids during “wait wait…” 😦
    and i still always miss the jokes.
    ty doesn’t like it.
    it’s such a treat to tune into something like that after a long day, on a long drive, and the kids are quiet and you can just listen and enjoy.
    smiley and west comes on at 7…hate missing that.
    and i could listen to the sweet vocal stylin’s and fiddles all afternoon. it really is sunny.

    and since we’re talking about music that melts the soul ice i’ve been hearing the purest dulcet songs of little migrating birds, the white crowned sparrow and goldfinch and others i’m sure.
    they make me cry with joy.

    after i post this i’m going to listen to your magic little mix!

  4. and this weekend! yes! i’m so excited i’m a near wreck because i’m part anti-social too, but only because i’m like a dog that’s been penned too long and i’m jumping and slobbering on everyone.

    i’ll zmail you tomorrow, both sat and sun are open for me so whatever works best for you!

    i come with gifts.

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