Radio

from by Ian McFeron

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Radio - Story

Growing up, my two oldest sisters were always playing my parent’s vinyl LP’s. As a kid, hearing the music for the first time, I didn’t know that the songs etched into the grooves of these platters were already 20 years old. I didn’t know that John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix had already left this world. I was pretty much unaware that Madonna was ravaging the contemporary pop-charts, though I do remember some Elvis Costello and Suzanne Vega making their way into my consciousness. My sister Elise had some cassettes and Sony Walkman. If you could get your hands on that device without her knowing, you could pull those speakers over your ears and listen to Elvis while you walked around the neighborhood.

There were a lot of Beatles records playing, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Donovan, The Band, CSNY. I didn’t really know the names of the artists when I was little, but certain songs would stick out. Like Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man”, the Beatles “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” or CSNY’s “Our House”. When I was 5 or 6 one of my sisters had a birthday party, and we were all supposed to act out the Beatles take on Twist and Shout. We lip-synched the parts and there was this whole dance routine that went along with it. I was supposed to play John- the lead. When the moment came to perform I chickened out and my sister Shira had to come up to my room and talk me down. This is all to say that I was emotionally very much inside this music. It was and still remains a deep part of my memories of youth.

Later on I came to understand about the 60’s generation. About the hippies and the Vietnam war and the Civil Rights movement and all the things that were loaded into these songs that I didn’t know about. These things weren’t a part of my experience. About that same time I became aware of MC Hammer, Run DMC, Vanilla Ice and later of Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam. I connected with contemporary culture, but the music on my folk’s old vinyl LP’s stayed with me like a safe haven. It was like little pieces of that childhood innocence were stored up in those songs, and I could lay the needle down and repossess it as the record went around.

I have many of those old records on vinyl in my home today along with an old Sherwood stereo tube receiver and a turntable from the ‘60’s. I hear people talk about the vinyl resurgence, but to me it’s just a way to listen to the songs the way I first heard them.

On summer holiday weekends the city drains out. People run off to their cabins on the lake and head up into the mountains with their REI gear to reconnect with something the modern world seems to have lost. Usually, I stay at home. I like that the streets get all still and quiet and you can catch 3 green lights in a row. I slide out a platter and lay the needle down. I pour honey-colored liquor over an ice cube and watch the sun disappear.

Somehow that reddish brown tinge of evening light has a way of releasing our memories. The record goes around and I’m dancing to Twist and Shout in the living room.

All the cares of the world are somewhere else; bound up many light-years away.

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lyrics

Radio - Lyrics

Everybody’s leavin’ town now for the weekend
Runnin’ to the mountains and the lakes
I’m watchin’ the shadows grow
Outside of my window
The sun’s fallin’ back out into space

Dog days are draggin’
I’m wastin’ time
The sky begins to burn
It’s strange the things you know
Some things you’re never gonna learn

I’m just sittin in the afterglow
Listenin’ to the radio play

Songs by Joni Mitchell songs by Bobby and Ray

I’m movin’ downtown now to the city
The city’s a ghost town in the summertime
Scattered bits of paper blow
And rattle like the tumbleweed rolls, well
Streetlight halos begin to shine

Is time some kind of turnin’ wheel?
Sometimes it feels like time is bent to kill
But baby you’re the only one
That could make time stand still

I’m just sittin in the afterglow
Listenin’ to the radio play

Play that song
Songs by Otis Redding songs Neil Young

Got to move slow cause it’s a fact
You can let it go but you can’t get it back
So show me somethin’ that’s made to last
Little green flash and now it’s gone

I’m just sittin in the afterglow
Listenin’ to the radio play

Songs by Janice Joplin songs by Marvin Gaye
Songs by The Band and Van and Simon singin’
“Slip Slidin’ Away”
Listen to the radio play

credits

from Radio, released February 27, 2015

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Ian McFeron Seattle, Washington

Ian McFeron’s writing has been compared to Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Ryan Adams. Over the course of a decade-long independent music career, he has attracted media attention stretching across the Atlantic. He currently tours in support of his 7th album Time Will Take You, recorded in Nashville with members of Ryan Adams band The Cardinals as well as Patty Griffin and John Hiatt’s touring bands. ... more

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