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Family & Music

I went to see my Cousin Josh play at a local restaurant tonight. I haven't seen him in about 4 years, and I have to credit facebook for this mini-reunion. I found out about the gig because he is one of my friends.

I enjoyed his playing, and especially his singing. Since I do the karaoke thing occasionally, I am a better judge of that than I am of playing, and he seems to be pretty good at hitting difficult notes.

He has a little gray in his beard. I have gotten used to the gray in my beard, but seeing gray in the beard of someone I remember as an infant makes me feel REALLY old.

We chatted and caught up between sets. I found out that his father had died two years ago, which came as a bit of a shock. He'd split up with Josh's mom quite some time ago so I hadn't seen him in over 20 years.

I liked him a lot when I was a kid and he was first dating Josh's mother. He was the kind of guy that 10-12 year old boys like, pretty much because that's what he was at heart himself. Josh's future mom would babysit us sometimes when my parents were out and he would come over with a bunch of record albums which we would play on my father's vacuum tube stereo.

This was in the late 60's (maybe early 70's) so it was really good music. One I remember was Brave New World by the Steve Miller Band, which was made before they sucked. Most of you young whippersnappers on my friends list may not realize there was such a time.Not only did their music not suck, it was FAR OUT.

Everybody else in Josh's family seemed to be doing well. He and his wife had another young'n since I last saw him, and I found out his brother Jason was the father of twins. It made me realize how out of touch I've been and really glad I went out to see him.

I asked him if he ever did any Elliot Smith. He said he sometimes did Say Yes from the Either/Or album, and I told him I really liked Miss Misery. He said he didn't do that one, and told me it was a really hard song to play because of all the chord changes. This surprised me. MM is quite an accessible song, so I never thought of it as musically ambitious. But that might explain why it is as memorable as it is accessible. It gave me some new respect for Elliot Smith to think that he could do something so difficult that sounded so easy...always the mark of a great artist.

We talked about Elliot Smith's untimely demise, and he agreed with me that it's more likely that Kurt Cobain really killed himself than that Elliot Smith did. Maybe that's not valid, but it's nice when family members can agree. :)

I'm including some relevant music videos here. The first is of Josh covering the Beatles Happiness Is A Warm Gun. (It's in a club and there's lots of background noise, so be the sound is not the best.) The next is a video of Miss Misery. The last, in memory of Josh's dad, is LT's Midnight Dream (erroneously called Space Cowboy in the title bar) from The Steve Miller Band's Brave New World album.