Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Like an Old Shoe

Long ago now, I was rolling round my home town in my rusty silver Toyota pickup. I had a leaf blower and a set of steel rakes and a burlap tarp and a can of gasoline. I remember it was mid fall and the weather was very fine. I turned up a road that I can see in my minds eye, not far from my high school and a new tune came on a station I used to listen to.

The articulate guitar, it may have been a steel guitar, with it's steady leisurely beat like a firm footfall and the raspy, weary voice with a note of reluctant longing in it drew me in at once like a lighted room on a rainy night.

"That one just seems to hit all the right spots," the woman announcing the songs - don't remember her name either - said before turning to the next tune.

I missed the song's title and had to wait for days before it came on the air again. I found it, and wrote it down, and hunted through music sections until I finally found the artist. The song was Something 'Bout You and the artist was Kevin Welch.

I've kept that album for years now, and the songs are on my IPod, but I haven't seen or heard Kevin Welch on the air since. His music was like a chance companion whose friendship I made and then missed through a long parting of the ways.

Then, just as suddenly, I heard that raspy voice on the radio the other morning. I couldn't place the voice at first. He was speaking, not singing, and telling Bob Edwards a little bit about his childhood. I'm glad to say I recognized him before his name came up in the announcements - somehow it's important to me to have that spontaneous recognition, like it feels to see an old friend after a long absence.

He was promoting his album of course, but it was a pleasure to hear him again. I'm listening to him now on CD. I haven't loved an album this much at first listen for years. It feels like the best pair of shoes I ever owned and lost. I just found them again and I feel like walking.

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