Saturday, November 15, 2014

Following the Music

Driving down a dark, deserted street, I began to question my life choices.

Why am I walking up to a boarded up house by myself?  Why did I ever think it was a good idea to let strangers into my home?  What if this isn't in fact a party, but a well-devised plan to kidnap and or torture me?  Who is this person and why is he walking at me?!?

"Are you here for the party? Come on in!"

Oh, I guess that's why.

I was there for the party.  Well, I was there for the band.  I'm not so much a groupie - it was just that I knew the singer.  Actually, I didn't, but he and the band were staying at my house...I'll just stop now.

See how hard it is to explain to an unsuspecting house party host?  A stranger finds you online, you attend their - slightly shady - house party without second thoughts, you have an awkward introductory moment and then you offer the momentarily homeless travelers a couch and invite them into your home based on mutual trust and understanding.

That's the run down.

What I'm really hear to talk about, though, is passion.  Because most people hold the misconception that Couchsurfering is just vagabonds looking to cash in on someone's  generosity and get a free night's sleep (maybe a meal?).  And it's not.

Every single person to walk through my door has been extremely driven.  Most are chasing their dreams - moving across country to pursue a Master's degree, discovering the great country they live in, physically challenging themselves by biking across that country, and, most recently, following the the music as they set out on tour.

And Couchsurfing is - poetically - making that happen.  We are America's youth struggling to make our dreams come true, against all odds, despite the fact that we have no money and much more than faith to sustain us!

Not exactly that dramatically - but really.

If you've ever had a dream, you understand.  We need to support each other.  To open our eyes to what someone else is doing, and realize: it's kind of awesome. 

It's not always what you'd expect, or choose, and that's even better.  Here's my list of - off-the-beaten-path bands that I've had the pleasure of listening to, because they were sitting right in my living room.

Brighten your day, listen to something new:


This is the band I met at the aforementioned house party.  Their songs are what I'd imagine I'd listen to if I was a chill surfer living in a beach town in Hawaii or California.  I often like to imagine myself as a chill surfer in a beach town.  So I like to listen to their music.  It makes so much sense.
Von Stomper

I was unable to watch their show, which is quite sad, because I really enjoyed their music.  I tried to listen to their CD without smiling, but I....I just couldn't.  I could try to use my expansive lyrical vocabulary to describe them, but Marquee Magazine does it better:

"With vintage sound and modern swagger, Von Stomper excellently couples old-time folk Americana with rock attitude and almost vaudevillian flair. The debut shows a new band that is already chiseling its name into the American songbook with a rootsy, bluesy style and a bit of circus freak panache."


**Disclaimer: I used the bands' pictures from their websites. 

I got to talk with Seth, the lead guitarist, about travel in South America, and he convinced me to stick around and finish my homework in a bar.  These guys are winners, and their music was not what I was expecting to find at a college-town dive bar - and that's definitely a good thing.

Tickle your ears and listen to their quirky sound on Bandcamp.  They actually have a song called Ticklish.  Look at me go...