Each week of the pregnancy, Kendall receives an update from a couple of online pregnancy tracking Websites (yeah, I still capitalize Web) that give us interesting facts about that particular week of development. This week was especially exciting, not only because William’s size was compared to that of a butternut squash (my favorite of the Cucurbitaceae family!), but because at this stage he can recognize and react to simple songs! Oh, it is on.
A couple of weeks ago, we learned that he can now hear the world outside the womb relatively well. Upon learning this we’ve been reading a little to the belly (Moby Dick did not go over so well with baby or mother), and have been playing him some essential listening.
A few posts back you heard that he was kicking to Wes Montgomery. As a guitar player you can imagine how elated I was. I could just see it: sitting on the porch strumming some chords with my boy, seeing his face the first time he cranks up a vintage Fender and holds on to an A chord that’s rattling the windows. So of course, as blues records continue to spin in our home, he seems to really be kicking in interest of…the harmonica.
The harmonica is not exactly the sound I hear when I close my eyes, but hey it is a pretty deep instrument. And he seems to have good taste. Kendall tells me he really gets to going when he hears Little Walter, Junior Wells and now that he’s been to his first Barrelhouse (my band) show in utero, my harmonica player Tom. (Hey, how about when his old man’s playin? Yeah, not so much.)
As I’ve said before, he doesn’t have to play an instrument, and if he happens to take to one, he can play the spoons for all I care, so long as he’s doing something he loves and giving it his all. Even if he has no interest in playing music when he’s finally exploring the outside world, I don’t know how he’ll be able to grow up in our house and not love listening.
One of the things I love so much about Kendall is her ear for good music. She has much more refined taste than I do, and many of the artists that I can’t get through a week without listening to have been ones she has passed along. I’m so impressed with not only her ear, but her commitment to good music. Here we are in the third trimester and we’re still travelling to concerts.
In the past few weeks William has been womb rocking to Nancy Griffith (womb folking, I should say), The Wandering (Luther Dickenson of North Mississippi All-Stars and the Black Crowes with Amy LaVere, Shannon McNally, Valerie June, and Sharde Thomas) and just this past weekend, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers (yeah, that Steve Martin!).
I didn’t make it to Nancy Griffith, but The Wandering was amazing. Each of the lovely ladies in the band is a successful solo artist in and around Memphis, TN, and they each took turns singing at this show. The highlights for me were Ms. June singing Mississippi John Hurt’s “Make Me a Pallet” with Mr. Dickinson, and for both Kendall and me, Robert Johnson’s “If I Had Possession.” Her style has been described as organic, moonshine roots and that is exactly how she sang this tune.
Kendall: “He’s married, right?” Brandon: “Yes, I believe so.” K: “So how did he talk his wife into going on the road with these beautiful women?” B: “So if I said, ‘Hey babe, I’m going on tour with Amy LaVere…” K: “Um… No.”
I’m a big fan of Amy LaVere as well. Her latest album, Stranger Me is a lot of fun to listen to and her voice is infectious, so it was a lot of fun to hear some of her tunes with this band.
It had been some time since Kendall and I went to a concert by ourselves and I had forgotten just how much fun it is to go on a little adventure with my wife, even if it’s just a couple towns over in Charlottesville.
Seeing Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers with our dear friends Paris and Maria was a real treat. When I was a boy, Mr. Martin’s movies were hugely famous and I had gotten it in my head that since we shared a last name and I see him all the time, he must be my uncle. I’ve come to accept that this isn’t true, but have remained a fan of his films, stand-up, writings and music all the same.
He was hilarious at the show, and contrary to the jokes about the underwhelming popularity of bluegrass, you can tell he takes the music seriously. Especially considering he travels with the Steep Canyon Rangers.
We really had a blast at this show, and Kendall was a trooper. We’re really getting late in the game and she’s taking on the familiar back pain and swollen feet of late pregnancy. I’m totally amazed that she won’t let the discomfort spoil her fun.
I supremely lucked out in getting to meet and marry my best friend. She consistently surprises me, and even seven years into our relationship, I think we’re having more fun now than ever. Watching a concert and feeling our child kick with the music is a joy I didn’t know I could experience. I just cannot wait for the fun the three of us will have, and the music we will make. Even if he wants to play harmonica.