13 August 2015

57 - Find Your Soundtrack

In #41 I wrote that finding yourself is the most important job you’ll ever do. That’s because it’s the job that lasts a lifetime. End of story.

But finding your soundtrack is important too. So this essay’s about that.



Music’s played an instrumental role in my life for a long time. I can’t think back to my childhood without hearing Patsy Cline, Dire Straits, The Travelling Wilburys, or ABBA in my head. And this song by The Hollies never fails to remind me of trips down to The Cove to visit my grandparents. And I don’t mind that, because when I grow up I want to be a kid again.

Getting a license to drive added a new dimension to my musical experience. Myself and Small Paul made Sets designed specifically for road trips around outport Newfoundland. I still make my own Sets when the mood strikes me. They’re an autobiography of sorts. And myself and Clay couldn’t embark on the famous Ottawa Trip until we had enough CDs to get us there from Halifax. What can I say? Road trips are serious business.


I’ve even dabbled with composing and performing music. Myself and Small Paul once wrote and performed an epic instrumental number that forced us to eat sushi for breakfast. We co-wrote and performed a another song that he recorded on his phone. I also took home the runner-up prize from a Saturday night karaoke contest. Literally. The 25 bucks paid for my cab ride home at 3am. And I paid for that night the next day at work (tip #1: don’t volunteer for 6am OT shifts if you’re going to be out late the night before).


A new friend has breathed fresh life into my musical experiences. Bob Neil recently introduced me to another side of Bob Dylan. I’m also recently deceased because of him. But I’ll have more to say on live performances by Dylan and The Grateful Dead in #58 when I talk about routines and habits. In my world they’re known as Systems. Just wait for #58.


Music colours virtually everything I do every day. I listen to music while I’m writing. It finds its way into most House Newf essays. I listen to music while I’m working out. George Harrison, Lunatic Soul, First Aid Kit, and ‘Dark Star’ by The Grateful Dead provide my yoga soundtracks. I listen to music while I’m preparing food. And I definitely listen to music while commuting on public transit (tip #2: never set foot on public transit without headphones). The only time I’m not listening to music is when I’m hiking down by the shore at dawn. I prefer listening for what the water’s got to say to me instead. More on that in #58 as well.


The point is music simply provides the soundtrack to my being in life.


That soundtrack has evolved over time. And that makes sense. We grow and change. We gain some experience, and hopefully some wisdom, along the way. But none of those things make a noise. Kind of like truth, according to Jack White.


That’s what music’s for. It’s the sound of you growing and changing as you move through life. Music is the sound of life being lived. 
And my question to you is: what does your life sound like?

In the meantime, here are some tracks that reflect what my being in life has sounded like in recent months:  


The Grateful Dead - Jack Straw


The Grateful Dead - Help On The Way > Slipknot! > Franklin's Tower


Bob Dylan - Isis


The Allman Brothers Band - Don't Keep Me Wondering


Traffic - Heaven Is In Your Mind


George Harrison - Don't Let Me Wait Too Long


Lunatic Soul - Out On A Limb


Beck - Sissyneck


Mazzy Starr - Fade into You


Roxy Music - Out of the Blue

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What's a House Newf?

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The House Newf is from a rugged and beautiful island on the eastern edge of Canada called Newfoundland. He was first identified by a potter with a naturalist's flair, and he does in fact live in a house under the watchful eye of a cat that seems bewildered by the universe at large. That house is in Halifax, Nova Scotia and that's where the House Newf writes fiction and essays on things that add value to his life that may add some value to yours. You can contact him at bobharding80@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter @theHouseNewf, on Instagram @thehousenewf, and like him on Facebook. The House Newf is a unique specimen. Every home should have one.