It took about one month of being a new mother before I learned my first big lesson in parenting: it’s not about you. When my new baby wanted to eat, that had to happen, and then I could eat. When he didn’t want to sleep, I didn’t get to sleep. This theme evolved over time, and do believe me when I write my children are not in charge but there are certain times though that I give them brief power just so I can have peace. Like many suburban parents, I spend a lot of time in car from about 3-8pm usually just driving in a circle in between sports, activities, trips to the dentist. The tricky thing about driving is that you have to focus and watch the road. This is challenging if your kids are abusing one another physically and verbally while you try to change lanes. For us, the solution has always been music. Music that invites everyone to tune in, so I can get us all there in one piece.
We started with Dan Zanes, Laurie Berkner, every Music Together session, Yo Gabba Gabba, and grew into Taylor Swift (for my 6 year old and 9 year old), Eminem (for my 11 year old — his sisters hate this), and basically any artist who hits the Z100 list. You know the adage, if you can’t beat them, join them. Does this mean that as a parent with school age children, who still want to hang out with you, you have no choice but to turn your back on your taste, your interests and style?
Absolutely not, thanks to an enduring concept in the arts and music in particular — the cover. Let me introduce you to or reintroduce you to Ryan Adams. Maybe you’ll remember his version of Oasis’s Wonderwall? He has remade and reconstructed Taylor Swifts’s 1989 with his own voice, his own style, he keeps her melodies and her lyrics but pushes through her endearing style and takes her songs to an extraordinary place. Taylor’s Swifts album 1989 is actually really good. However Adams’s version of Shake it Off makes me cry, and his take on Bad Blood is visceral and addresses those of us with adult problems and worries. To be clear Ryan Adams is not making fun of Taylor Swift or putting himself above her in anyway, rather he is bringing her songs to a more mature, I hate that word, audience, who like their tween counterparts enjoy connecting to a song emotionally. It feels good. And word on the street is that Taylor Swift is very supportive of Adams’s project.
So now I am driving around with my kids in the car and my new friend Ryan Adams is getting a turn when we play DJ. I can happily report that he is growing on them; just as Taylor Swift has grown on me. In fact just yesterday my son insisted on listening to Fetty Wap’s Trap Queen in the car, and with some quick digging I came up with this option by Collin McLoughlin. I think we’re on to something!
Photo Credit: Car interior public domain photo from Pixabay.