Here & there: Music memories

The Avett Brothers in concert at Red Butte Garden in Salt Lake City, Utah, July 2014 | Photo by Kat Dayton, St. George News

FEATURE — I adore the indie folk band The Avett Brothers. If I were 15 and they were One Direction, I’d be stalking their tour bus with adoration dripping down my face in the form of mascara.

L-R: Alan Dayton and Kat Dayton happily in the crowd at The Avett Brothers concert. Red Butte Garden in Salt Lake City, Utah, July 2014 | Photo by Alan Dayton, St. George News
L-R: Alan Dayton and Kat Dayton happily in the crowd at The Avett Brothers concert. Red Butte Garden in Salt Lake City, Utah, July 2014 | Photo by Alan Dayton, St. George News

I remember the first time I saw The Avett Brother live. It almost didn’t happen because we didn’t have tickets or a babysitter. But when the latter materialized, I took it as manna from heaven and hopped on the back of my husband’s matte black motorcycle to take our chances at the sold-out concert.

One ticket purchased from a scalper and one donated from a good-hearted man and we were through the gates by the third song. We wedged into a grassy spot among the crowd, visibly euphoric at our good fortune. We sang and danced and laughed until the music stopped. Years later, the memory of it all, set to an Avett Brothers soundtrack, is locked in my brain.

It’s funny how music can do that — how it can cement a memory so well. Or maybe it’s more like a good pairing of wine and cheese, bringing out the richness of a moment and making it easier to remember. Whatever it is, when I hear certain songs, I’m effortlessly transported to a different time and place.

1. Willie Nelson & my dad’s 1979 silver Scirocco. “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys” was almost always queued in the car’s tape deck on our Saturday afternoon daddy-daughter dates. I remember, perched in the petite back seat, the smell of his Dentyne gum, the careful way he held his hands on the steering wheel at 10 and two and his quiet singing along with Willie. I also remember that it was in that Scirocco he busted me with a wad of stolen Hubba Bubba — and subsequently taught me a tough lesson on restitution.

Zeke Dayton, 3, caught hip-shaking to Shakira on the beaches of Ambergris Caye, Belize, September 2005 | Photo by Kat Dayton, St. George News
Zeke Dayton, 3, caught hip-shaking to Shakira on the beaches of Ambergris Caye, Belize, September 2005 | Photo by Kat Dayton, St. George News

2. Shakira & Belize. “Hips Don’t Lie” was on overkill the fall of 2006 in Belize. Every shop, every store, every beach in Ambergris Caye pumped out Shakira and her hips. My oldest boy, then 3, took the song as an invitation. At every shop, at every store and on every beach he answered the call. He attracted attention with his hip shaking. But he may have attracted even more attention on that trip by insisting everyone call him “Alex the Lion” – that is, until our last morning when he cried and hid under the breakfast table, insisting we share his true identity with his favorite Belizeans.

3. PSY & Cambodia. More than two years after “Gangnam Style” came and went in the U.S., we found it again in the tiny town of Sihanoukville, Cambodia, with a boy named Johnny. Johnny was affiliated with a breakfast spot called Delicious, which we frequented regularly after learning it lived up to its name. While we waited for Mrs. Delicious to create her food magic or Mr. Delicious to help us book a spot on the local ferry, Johnny entertained us with his one-act “Gangnam Style” show. It didn’t take more than a day for my boys to join Johnny’s crew, and then join the other local kids riding broken bikes and big wheels in the shopping square. I remember watching them play, seeing the joy in their eyes as they connected without speaking the same language save only PSY.

4. The Eagles & Panama. No, not Van Halen and Panama, but The Eagles and Panama. Our last night in the heart of the capital city’s Casco Viejo, we stumbled across a small café in one of the many plazas nestled around a decaying church and decided to stretch out the evening. We recapped our trip highlights over bad pizza and sodas until a street performer approached us with his guitar. Before I could politely rebuff him, my husband called out a request for “Hotel California.” Obligingly and inebriated, he approximated the verses and we joined him for the chorus of the popular song. The wind whipped up, and we sang. The check came, and we sang. The pigeons dispersed with the gongs of the church bells, and we sang.

The ironic thing is I don’t consider myself a real “music person.” I don’t play an instrument or read music. I don’t even sing. Yet, the more I live, the more I realize how music is at the heart of many precious memories. And I like it that way.

Kat Dayton is a developing columnist for St. George News, any opinions given are her own and not representative of St. George News.

Email: katdayton@gmail.com | news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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