I got a very romantic story from Lila in Ohio about how a song touched her life, and taught her the importance of romance. Take it away, Lila…
I met John in a record store where I was working in 2007. In the college town of Akron, there are still stores that sell vinyl albums along with the CDs and posters. I guess it’s kind of a retro thing, a throwback to the 60s and 70s when my parents were teens. But it’s also very modern in the sense of having new stuff – posters, DVDs, and digital gear. I loved working there, and I loved music in general. One type of music that I never went for though was country. I could listen to almost anything but that, and I had broad tastes. I knew there was something called alt country, kind of a hip version of country, but the little contact I had with the artists in the genre weren’t really impressive.
One day this tall, handsome guy came into the store. I hadn’t seen him in there before, and I was immediately interested. He was slightly scruffy-looking in that jam band kind of way, with jeans and sandals and a t-shirt, and he had a wispy beard and shaggy blond hair that made him look like a rock star. He had twinkling blue eyes that looked right into mine as he strolled up to the counter. He asked me if we had the new album by Ryan Adams with that romantic song on it – he couldn’t think of the title.
I told him I’d be happy to check the computer for it, and he said thanks, and gave me a big grin. While I was typing my search info, I started making small talk with him. He was a new student, having just started the fall semester at the University, and he was a music major. He soon told me he played several instruments, and was trying to find a band to play in to make some extra money. I asked him what kind of music he liked, and I was not surprised to hear that he liked a little bit of everything. Turning on my flirtatious charm, I asked him which one type of music he couldn’t live without, and I was quite surprised when he said that he was hooked on some alt-country singer songwriters, especially Ryan Adams.
I was able to find the album he was looking for called “Easy Tiger.” As I led him over to the display case, he said he really hoped that we had it in vinyl. I told him we certainly did, and turned the corner to see a big set-up for promoting the new product, with a cutout of Ryan sitting in a chair smoking, looking very thoughtful. As I realized that he had been standing right in front of the display before he came over to the counter to talk to me, I glanced at him and he let out a cute laugh, and said, looks like we found it. He paid for the record, and asked me if I wanted to come to his place to hear it. It was my turn to be tricky, and I said that I could hear it anytime right here in the store. That’s when he turned on the charm and said he had a state of the art sound system with a really good turntable, and hearing the CD over the store’s little speakers just could not compare.
Well, that night was our first date, and it centered on music. I fell in love twice that evening, once with John, and once with Ryan Adams. Especially the song “Two” because it was such an instant classic – and there was really nothing country about the music at all. the song was gorgeously played, with a yearning sensual sound. It was romantic but not at all sappy, it had interesting imagery and just the right amount of ambiguity in the lyrics, it was self-effacing and very human. I instantly felt that the singer was telling me a true, very personal story about a romance and the two people involved in it. From then on, it was the two of us together, and that song became ours.